By Diane Peters
“Making a homemade smoothie is the best choice,” suggests Vancouver registered dietitian Asia Peters. “But having a store-bought smoothie is better than having a pop.” She says smoothies are too sweet to be a healthy part of a daily diet, but they’re fine for a weekly treat, as they’re high in calcium.
When selecting a store-bought smoothie,
Peters advises choosing one low in sugar — more
than 40 g is too much. As well, she suggests looking at the ingredients list on the nutrition label. “If the first or second ingredient is cream instead of milk, there will be more saturated fat.” She’d prefer to keep saturated fat to 2 g per serving, no more. And since trans fat does naturally occur in animal products, she says 0.5 g or lower is not only acceptable, but typical.
1. BEST JUNIOR SIZE
Danone Danimals, strawberry: 90 calories, 1.5 g fat,
(1 g saturated, 0.1 g trans)
50 mg sodium, 0 g fibre
15 g sugar per 93-mL
container. $2.99 for four bottles
All our test families agreed the 93-mL size was ideally geared for younger kids. The cut-off age seems to vary: One eight-year-old twin found the size too small, the other thought it perfect. “I like them because they are sweet,” claimed the seven-year-old. His mom plans to dilute it with milk and double the size.
2. MOST FUN DO-IT-YOURSELF
McCain Fruit Smooth-eez, Orange Mango Melody:
160 calories, 0 g fat, 15 mg
0 g fibre, 34 g sugar per 85-mL serving of base only (you add 170 mL of milk or yogurt, which increases the calories and some nutrients).
$4.49 for four servings
The seven-year-old helped put the ingredients in the blender, and then declared: “I like its taste,” with a frosty moustache. One eight-year-old also enjoyed the flavour, while the teen found it artificial-tasting and the four-year-old decreed it tasteless.
3. HEALTHIEST FRUIT Purée
Arthur’s Smoothies, veryberry: 160 calories, 0 g fat, 5 mg sodium, 4 g fibre, 32 g sugar per 325-mL container. $1.99-$2.49
The four-year-old drank half her glass in one gulp and said: “I will drink this every day.” The 14-year-old tagged this as his favourite because of the texture and flavour. Many testers claimed they could taste real fruit. The pick of both moms for the fibre, health value and real taste. One noted she didn’t mind the lack of yogurt or milk on the ingredients list — her family gets plenty of dairy already.
4. THICKEST TREAT
Yop, peach: 150 calories, 3 g
fat (2 g saturated, 0.1 g trans)
85 mg sodium, 0 g fibre
26 g sugar per 200-mL
container. $1 each.
Only the teen taster declared it “too thick for my liking.” Everyone else raved about the texture and taste. “It’s good. It’s very sweet. These are just so good that I just can’t wait,” enthused the four-year-old. One mom said it was thick enough to eat with a spoon.