Smoothie Smackdown: Homemade vs. Fast Food

Summer is here, and with the hot weather comes everyone’s cravings for a sweet treat! I enjoy fruit smoothies because they can be nutritious while also hitting the spot. Going to grab a smoothie at a fast food joint seems like the perfect idea for a hot day, but these smoothies can be pretty expensive… and high in sugar. Could making your own smoothies solve this issue?

This week, I tested out two smoothies: one that I made at home from scratch, and one from a popular smoothie franchise in Ames. Both of them were peanut butter, banana, and yogurt smoothies. I compared the taste, nutritional value, and simplicity of the two. Which one do I think is better? Let’s find out!

HomemadeFast Food
Amount16 oz.16 oz.
Time it took5 minutes20 minutes
Cost$1.08$5.87
Nutrition:
Calories320463
Fat9 g11.5 g
Carbohydrate50 g70 g
Sugar34 g53 g
Protein16 g22 g

My thoughts:

Homemade: This smoothie was quick, easy, and DELICIOUS! All I did was throw the ingredients (which I already happened to have) in a blender. It had the perfect touch of sweetness along with a thick, creamy consistency. This smoothie provides a good amount of protein and has a reasonable amount of sugar and calories for me—and you can’t beat the price! Recipe from: https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/recipe/peanut-butter-banana-smoothie/

Fast Food: This smoothie was very tasty, but also really sweet. It tasted similar to my homemade one, but almost as if you had added ice cream to it! It provides a good amount of protein and kept me full, but also has a steep amount of sugar and calories especially when compared to the homemade version. Paying $6 for a smoothie that I could make at home doesn’t seem very practical to me, especially when I had to drive there and back to get it. (The whole container was 24 oz., but I only ate 16 oz. to stay consistent with the homemade one.)

The Verdict:

I prefer the homemade smoothie! It’s delicious, easy, and cost-friendly. Another perk of making your own smoothie is that you know exactly what’s going into it. Fast food or store-bought smoothies can be high in added sugar. The homemade smoothie I made contains mostly natural sugar (which comes from fruit and dairy), along with just a touch of added sugars which come from the flavored yogurt and peanut butter. Over time, making your own smoothies will be better for your bank account and your overall health, without sacrificing any of the yumminess.

Written by Maggie Moeller – Student Assistant, ISU Dietetics

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

My children and I love making smoothies for breakfast or as a special treat to go along with supper. We do not use a recipe very often because it is fun to use what we have on hand to make something tasty. However, our June recipe of the month, Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie, is a recipe we all like.

The first step of this recipe is an important one – freeze your banana for at least four hours before making this smoothie. I usually try to freeze at least one banana per week. Then I always have a frozen banana on hand for smoothies or to thaw for banana bread. You can freeze bananas whole with the peel on, but for this recipe you need to peel the banana, cut it into 4 to 6 pieces, and freeze it in an airtight container.

Once you have your banana frozen, you are ready to make your smoothie. All you have to do is add the frozen banana, yogurt, milk, and peanut butter to a blender and blend until smooth. You can double or triple this recipe to make more servings or to make some extra smoothies for another day. Store the extra smoothies in airtight containers in the freezer. As a bonus, if you bought a bag of chia seeds for our May recipe of the month, you can add a spoonful of chia seeds to this smoothie to add some texture and nutrition.

Find the full recipe: https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/recipe/peanut-butter-banana-smoothie/

Enjoy!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Super Snacks for Super Kids

The return to school can be hectic for both children and parents. This year, school may look different for your family, but no doubt, your children will still be hungry come snack time! The good news is that snacks are a good way to make sure your child is meeting their nutritional needs. Sometimes it can be difficult to meet these needs simply through food at mealtimes.

While it is easy for kids to grab a bag of chips to snack on, there are some ways you can make snacking both hassle-free and nutritious!

  • Choose snacks that your kids enjoy: Make a list of snack options and ask your kids which ones they like the most.
  • Plan ahead: Choose and prepare nutritious snacks ahead of time so that they are ready to go. Your kids may be able to help in preparation as well!
  • Keeping them accessible: Keep nutritious snacks where kids can easily see or grab them.
  • Make snack time fun: Having snacks with bright colors and different textures is visually appealing to kids.

Luckily, there are many different ways you can incorporate nutritious food into your child’s diet through snack time. You can find them in every food group, so you can always switch it up to fit your child’s needs. Here are some quick and easy snack ideas you can try at home:

For additional snack and recipe ideas, visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Written by Jonnee Sulzberger, ISU Dietetic Intern

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Peanut Butter Balls

peanut-butter-ballsMy children are at an age when they need to eat two snacks every day. Just last week I skipped the morning snack one day because we went to the library and on a bike ride. By lunch time both of them were laying on the couch crying. I made a quick lunch, got them fed, and all was good again, but it reminded me how important snack time is for young children. Their bodies are growing, but their stomachs are still small, so they need their food spaced evenly throughout the day.

If you are looking for a new snack for your family, try out our July recipe – Peanut Butter Balls. They have peanut butter, beans, and oatmeal – all of which will give you energy and fill you up until your next meal. After I make this recipe, I lay the peanut butter balls out on a cookie sheet and freeze them for about an hour. Once they are frozen, I put them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer. When snack time comes around, I grab two out of the freezer for each person, let them thaw for a few minutes, and then we enjoy them.

I hope you enjoy this Peanut Butter Ball recipe too!

-Justine

Peanut Butter Balls

Serving Size: 2 balls | Serves: 25
Ingredients: 
  • 1 can (15 ounces) great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oatspeanut-butter-ball-label
Instructions: 
  1. Mash the great northern beans with a fork in a bowl until smooth.
  2. Add the honey and vanilla. Stir.
  3. Add peanut butter. Stir until blended.
  4. Stir in the oatmeal.
  5. Wash hands. Use a tablespoon to scoop up some of the peanut butter mixture. Shape the mixture into balls (makes 50 balls).
  6. Store leftover balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Tips: 
  •  This recipe is not for children under age 1 because it contains honey and peanut butter.
  • You can use a blender or food processor to mix ingredients before shaping into balls.
  • You can store peanut butter balls in the freezer. Lay them out on a cookie sheet, freeze, and then store in a freezer bag. Thaw for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Make fruit kebabs using a toothpick or kebab stick. Add washed fresh fruit pieces that will not brown such as kiwi slices, grapes, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, and orange slices.

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Valentine’s Day

When Valentine’s Day rolls around each year, I’m in the mood for sweet treats. I love baking the traditional heart shaped sugar cookies once a year, but my fiancé complains about how bland those treats taste. This is why he normally buys me a box of individual chocolates every year so that he can eat a Valentine’s Day treat that pleases his taste buds too. For this year, as Valentine’s Day approaches, I am on the hunt for a treat that both of us will enjoy. While searching on various websites, I came across a recipe for Peanut Butter Balls. This recipe has several positive aspects. The recipe has few ingredients—only four items are needed for the whole recipe! Most of the ingredients are staples in the kitchen, and the preparation is simple without the need to preheat the oven! Eating one, one-inch peanut butter ball is low in calories, providing 70 calories per serving. This recipe is also kid friendly! Guide the kids to measure the ingredients, mix, and roll the mixture into 12 balls. Then have them sprinkle red, white, and pink sprinkles on top. Or drizzle with a bit of melted chocolate. Jump in the kitchen and surprise your family and friends with delightful peanut butter balls for Valentine’s Day!

Written by Allyson Woltman, Dietetic Intern

Peanut Butter Balls

Makes one dozen.

¼ cup peanut butter

¼ cup honey

½ cup nonfat dry milk

½ cup crushed cereal flakes

1. Mix peanut butter, honey, and nonfat dry milk in a bowl.

2. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in cereal.

3. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

Nutrients Per Serving (One ball) Calories 70, Saturated Fat 0.5 g, Iron 0 mg, Protein 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Calcium 40 mg, Carbohydrates 9 g, Vitamin A 25 RE, Sodium 55 mg, Total Fat 2.5 g, Vitamin C 1 mg, Dietary Fiber 0 g

Recipe provided by Washington State Dairy Council http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/recipes/hhp/NFDM-Recipes.pdf

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Time for a Picnic, Try Pita Pockets

This month’s featured recipe is Peanut Butter Pita Pockets.

This is a great food to take to the park, on a bike ride or just for a backyard picnic.  The pita pockets are great for holding in sweet juicy fruit, but whole wheat bread could be substituted to save a trip to the store or a few pennies.

This very simple recipe will be best with ripe fruit.   Fruit is plentiful in the market right now, but it is not all ripe.  Apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plantains and plums continue to ripen at room temperature after they’re picked. To speed their ripening, put them in a loosely closed brown paper bag. Plastic bags don’t work for ripening. Once fully ripened, fruits may be stored in the refrigerator to lengthen their storage time.  Though the outside skin of a refrigerated banana will turn dark brown, the inside will remain light-colored.

Consider teaching your kids or grandkids to make this recipes.  Let them choose a new fruit to try.

Peanut Butter Pita Pockets

Ingredients

  • 2 apples, pears, bananas, peaches, or mangoes
  • 2 medium whole wheat pita pockets
  • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Wash and slice fruit.
  2. Cut pitas in half to make 4 pockets.
  3. Warm each pita half in the microwave for about 10 seconds to make them more flexible.
  4. Carefully open each pocket and spread about 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on the inside walls of each pita half. You may need to warm the peanut butter in the microwave for a few seconds, especially if it has been in the refrigerator.
  5. Fill each pocket with sliced fruit. Serve at room temperature.

“Go-To” Meals and Quick Recipes

If your schedule is so hectic that a trip to drive-up seems like the only option, consider stocking your shelves with “Go-To” Meals. These are meals that satisfy hunger, take minimal effort and time, but maximize taste. Nutritional value is fulfilled when you plan for at least one food from each group in MyPlate. Only a few ingredients are required, so preparation and clean-up is a snap. Plus, they save money on your food bill!

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking…

  • Peanut butter and jelly is an old favorite that’s even better when served on toasted whole wheat bread. Add baby carrots, apple slices and milk.
  • Pita pocket sandwiches are stuffed with veggies and healthy lunch meat. Its shape is perfect for eating on-the-go. For some variety, try a whole grain bagel sandwich.
  • Scrambled eggs or omelets with added onions, peppers, leftover vegetables and cheese need only fruit and toast to make a meal.
  • Beans and brown rice cover two of your main energy sources. The protein in the beans fuels your muscles, while the complex carbs in the rice provide lasting energy. To save time, try a quick-cook variety of brown rice.
  • Soup and crackers will fill you up fast. Three Can Chili needs only milk, crackers and fruit to make a meal.
  • Oatmeal pancakes taste great, no matter what time it is. With a powdered mix, you can be flipping some hotcakes in a flash. Add some fruits to the pancakes—or on the side—and milk to drink. To save more time, make some ahead..
  • Chicken burritos are easier to make than you might think. Heat chicken, beans and vegetables, and wrap them in a tortilla. Sprinkle on low-fat cheese, and you’ve nearly hit all of the major food groups with one bite.

-pointers from Peggy

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