If you want to achieve thicker and creamier smoothies from your home smoothie maker, adding dairy alternatives or dairy milk and yoghourt is a great way to do this. Adding these ingredients is not necessarily going to make them higher in calories.
To ensure healthy bones in young children and to protect from osteoporosis in adulthood, an adequate supply of calcium is needed and both dairy and enriched dairy alternative milks are a good source of this vital mineral.
For those with lactose intolerance or who find dairy milk difficult to digest, the wide range of dairy alternatives available are ideal for adding to smoothies. By using these milk substitutes, everyone can have the pleasure of drinking delicious, creamy, thick milk shakes and smoothies.
One of the best sources of calcium naturally available in the diet is cow’s milk. Full fat milk is probably best avoided by everyone except active young children who need additional calories because it is high in saturated fats which dietary advice dictates should be avoided. The full benefits of dairy milk are still available in both low fat and skimmed milk.
Cream can be added to smoothies to make it a really special treat. Other dairy ingredients that add a lot of creaminess are mascarpone cheese and creme fraiche. Whilst cream is very high in saturated fat and therefore high in calories, it is also a great source of vitamin E so is probably ok as a treat now and then.
Adding Yoghourt is another delicious way of making smoothies thicker and creamier. The thick and creamy yoghourts may contain almost as many calories as cream so look for a low fat version. Fruit yoghourts can also be added to smoothies to add interest.
Calcium is found in abundance in yoghourt which is good news for people who have problems digesting milk as they can often tolerate yoghourt very well and get a boost to their calcium intake. Probiotic yoghourts, sometimes called ‘live’ yoghourts are the best sort to look for as these have huge health benefits to both the digestive system and the immune system. If high cholesterol is a problem for you, look out for the special cholesterol lowering, high fibre yoghourts now available in supermarkets.
A good option if you are watching your calories is to look for one of the non dairy milks now available in supermarkets. Coconut milk is about the only nut milk which is not high in polyunsaturated fats which are much better for us that saturated fats. Non-dairy milks enriched with calcium are a good idea if these are regularly drunk instead of dairy milk and most soya milks now have as much calcium as cow’s milk.
Rice milk is a great addition to smoothies and shakes and is also available in flavours such as vanilla and strawberry. It is thinner than cow’s milk but has a delicious, sweet flavour. Oat milk is also great and is quite rich, giving a lovely creamy texture. Many nut milks are available and can be purchased in most supermarkets and health food stores.
To sum up, there are lots of ways to make your smoothies even more delicious by adding some of the ingredients to make them creamier and the amount of additional calories can be controlled by checking the labels on packaging and choosing the healthier options.
For me, this is one of the best things about using a smoothie maker – to make my own smoothies at home as I can decide exactly what ingredients go into my smoothies.