'Green smoothie' smooths the way to better nutrition

Healthy Food campaign promotes healthier beverages

Across the country, the health-care community is taking steps to eliminate drinks with added sugars and other unhealthy beverages and increase access to tap water within their facilities, according to Hillary Bisnett, director of the Ecology Center’s Healthy Food in Health Care program.

green smoothie“Right here in Michigan, nearly 100 hospitals have committed to the Michigan Hospital Association’s Healthy Food Hospitals initiative, which has a ‘healthy beverage’ component,” she says.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are one of the primary contributors to obesity, which is one reason why Bisnett and others are working to gather 500 signatures by the end of March, National Nutrition Month, on a pledge to remove them from health-care facilities.

“If you are a health professional, you can sign the pledge to join with the hospitals, health care professionals and health advocates nationwide who are working to address this issue,” she said.

say no to sweetened beveragesIn the past 30 years, U.S. obesity rates have doubled among adults and tripled among children, and sweetened beverages bear much of blame. In addition, consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and gout.

Many hospitals are providing more information to their patients and staff about the environmental and financial impacts of bottled water vs. tap water, and by providing better access to tap water across their facilities.

Healthier options are out there, Bisnett says, suggesting this recipe from EatingWell.com for an easy-to-make smoothie that packs plenty of vitamins into a low-calorie treat. The recipe includes fresh kale, which is growing well in our region thanks to the mild winter, and Michigan apples are still in many grocery stores and farmers’ markets. “Remember to use 100 percent fruit juice for the orange juice found in this recipe,” she says.

Green Smoothie

Servings: 2 servings, about 1 ¾ cups each

Ingredients

 

  • 2 ripe medium bananas
  • 1 ripe pear or apple, chopped and peeled if desired
  • 2 cups chopped kale leaves, tough stems removed
  • ½ cup cold orange juice
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 12 ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

 

Directions

 

  • Place bananas, pear (or apple), kale, orange juice, water, ice cubes and flaxseed in blender.
  • Pulse a few times, then puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.

 

Nutritional Content Per serving: 240 calories; 3 grams fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 55 g carbohydrate; 0 g added sugars, 5 g protein; 8 g fiber; 38 mg sodium; 987 mg potassium. Vitamin A (210% daily value); Vitamin C (208% dv), Potassium (28% dv), Magnesium (21% dv), Folate (18% dv).

EcoLink — February 2012 Ecolink
An online publication of the Ecology Center

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