#BuckeyeBites: Blushing beet and berry smoothie

DSC_6532_1800x1013Our dietitian’s recipe will help keep your hearts healthy. Plus, it’s got a beautifully bright hue to start (or end) your day. 

Mara Weber, a dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tested ingredients to find the perfect combination of taste and health benefits in a smoothie.

Her blushing beet and berry smoothie slips in some veggies, adds lots of cholesterol-lowering fiber and features powerhouse chia seeds with protein, more fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Those omega 3s are important because studies suggest that they help reduce the risk of irregular heart rhythm and buildup of plaque in your arteries – among many other benefits!

“If you’re anything like me, you like delicious and healthy food, fast. And portable,” says Weber, who spends most of her work time providing Nutrition Services to patients in the ICU at Ohio State's Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital.

“This beautiful little treat won’t weigh you down, and you won’t feel hungry before your next meal,” she says.

What’s not to love? (And don’t say beets! This is a tasty way to introduce them to your diet, if you haven’t been a fan in the past.)

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6 ounces vanilla Greek yogurt* (look for a brand with a lower amount of sugar)

2 teaspoons chia seeds

1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

1 1/2 cups spinach (fresh or frozen)

8 ounces beets (raw or cooked – cooked may yield a creamier texture. If using canned beets, drain the juice.)

1 overripe banana (fresh or frozen)

2 cups total of a mix of frozen dark sweet cherries, red raspberries, strawberries

Combine ingredients into a blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth and serve immediately. Makes about 24 ounces.

A healthy chef’s pro tip: Easily turn the recipe into a smoothie bowl by serving it with your favorite good-for-you toppings, such as a drizzle of almond butter, sliced fruit and walnuts (another source of omega 3 fatty acids).

*If you’d like the smoothie to be vegan, omit the yogurt and substitute 4 ounces of unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

Nutritional information:

Makes two servings

Calories: 260

Fat: 3 grams

Protein: 14 grams

Carbs: 49 grams

Fiber: 11 grams

A little more about our dietitian: Mixing veggies in a smoothie is a fitting suggestion from Weber because she enjoys developing plant-based diets using unprocessed foods for patients at the Medical Center. She encourages people to pursue a healthy lifestyle by participating in the TriFit Challenge Triathlon/Duathlon and 5K. She also likes to work in the Ross Heart Hospital Community Garden.

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