Satisfying smoothies can do more than just cool you down on a hot summer day. They can power you up, too.

Whether for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or as a lunchtime refresher, smoothies are a refreshing way to get powerful nutrition. And as a busy mom looking for convenient and tasty ways to boost my family’s nutrition, I’m cheering about how easy it is to do it.

* Fruit juices-orange, cranberry, other favorites–provide antioxidants and essential vitamins we need daily.
* Milk-especially fat-free evaporated milk-delivers essential calcium and protein.
* Add-ins provide an extra punch of super-nutrition:
o Just a half cup of pumpkin, from the can, delivers great fiber and more than a day’s worth of the antioxidant Vitamin A;
o fresh fruit like banana, berries, peach, nectarine or mango add fiber and antioxidants;
o a spoonful of peanut butter adds protein and kid-approved flavor.

If you’ve got teens or other family members who like to make their own smoothies, take advantage of  my tips to make “just in time” smoothie blending a snap:

* Keep cans of fat-free evaporated milk in the fridge for “right now” chilled smoothies.
* Bananas, peaches or other fruit almost too-ripe-to-eat? Toss in the freezer for a future smoothie.
* Fill the freezer with light, low-fat and/or reduced-sugar ice cream-in vanilla and other favorite flavors.

Whether you’re looking for nutritious meal ideas for the family or fun baking projects to keep your summer cookie jar full, be sure to visit VeryBestBaking.com.

heavenly dreamHeavenly Dream
(Makes 6 servings – 8 ounces each)

2 cups orange juice
2 cups ice cubes
1 can (12 fluid ounces) Nestlé Carnation Fat Free Evaporated Milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar to taste

PLACE orange juice, ice cubes, evaporated milk and sugar in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.
Nutrition Information per serving:  110 calories; 0 calories from fat; 0 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 75 mg sodium; 24 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 22 g sugars; 4 g protein, 70% vitamin C, 15% calcium

pumped up chocolate milkshake“Pumped Up” Chocolate Milkshake
(Makes 2 servings – 8 ounces each)

2 cups (4 large scoops) Chocolate light ice cream
2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Fat Free
Milk
1/2 cup Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin

PLACE ice cream, evaporated milk and pumpkin in blender; cover. Blend for 30 seconds or until smooth. Pour into glasses.

Nutrition Information per serving:  300 calories; 70 calories from fat; 7 g total fat; 4 g saturated fat; 40 mg cholesterol; 180 mg sodium; 45 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 33 g sugars; 11 g protein, 150% vitamin A, 2% vitamin C, 20% calcium


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