Something Different
Week of: October 7, 2013
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Chia Supercharges a Creamy Smoothie

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

Enjoying a generous breakfast smoothie every day became a habit for me over the summer. As fall arrived, I continued to make this sunny morning drink. But I also realized that it was gradually increasing my weight, so I decided to create a slimmer version as luscious and rich in the right stuff, including protein, calcium and fiber, and with creamy texture and pleasing sweetness.

Of course, I kept the milk and strawberries. Also the grated orange zest and chopped fresh ginger, which added wake-up flavor and health-promoting phytochemicals.

The first change was using fat-free milk, saving about 40 calories and nearly 2 grams of saturated fat, instead of 2% reduced-fat milk, but maintaining the same amount of protein. The more major changes were replacing banana and agave syrup with chia seeds and strawberry fruit preserves, respectively.

Chia seeds are amazing. Resembling poppy seeds, these ancient Latin American native seeds are loaded with fiber, rich in omega-3s and a good protein source. Plus they produce a creamy, thick texture. Bananas, which are good too, make a smoothie thick and sweet and provide 3 grams of fiber, but they add 105 calories. For just 60 calories in 4 teaspoons, the chia seeds give you 5 grams of fiber, plus the useful omega-3s.

A tablespoon of fruit-sweetened strawberry preserves replaced the agave and emphasized the strawberry flavor while shaving off 30 calories.

Altogether, these changes gave my smoothie the same amount of fiber as a bowl of oatmeal, much of it hard-to-get soluble fiber, while cutting out 105 calories.

Strawberry Smoothie

Strawberry Chia Smoothie

  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 4 tsp. chia seeds
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries fresh
  • 1 Tbsp. strawberry fruit spread, or to taste
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


In blender, place milk and chia seeds and let sit while measuring remaining ingredients.

Add strawberries, preserves, orange zest, ginger and vanilla to blender. Whirl on high speed until smoothie is blended and creamy, about 1 minute. Pour smoothie into tall glass and serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving.

Per serving: 249 calories, 5 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 44 g carbohydrate,
9 g protein, 9 g dietary fiber, 90 mg sodium.

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.

Our Mission: The American Institute for Cancer Research champions the latest and most authoritative scientific research from around the world on cancer prevention and survival through diet, weight and physical activity, so that we can help people make informed lifestyle choices to reduce their cancer risk.

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