Photo by Katy Wilkens
Banana apple smoothie.

You Are What You Eat: Enjoy a healthy smoothie, tax-free

By Katy G. Wilkens, MS, RD

Controversy has arisen in Seattle over the idea of adding a tax on sugary drinks sold in the city. Whether you agree or disagree with the tax proposal, you are probably aware that downing a sugary drink is not a particularly healthy choice.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans eat and drink too much added sugar, and that behavior often leads to health problems such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and kidney and heart disease.

Healthy Food America, a Seattle-based nonprofit that pushes for improvements in food policy and food industry practice, gets specific about the impact of daily consumption of sugary drinks:
• The risk of heart attack increases by 19 percent
• The risk of Type 2 diabetes increases by 26 percent
• The risk of obesity for children increases by 55 percent

Next time you’re on the go and you have a craving for something sweet or need an energy boost, try a naturally tasty smoothie instead of a sweetened soda.

Fruit in the smoothie will satisfy your desire for something sweet and it’s a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Tofu or dairy products will give your body protein to keep you going. In contrast, a sugary drink will send you toward a crash.

A fruit smoothie may be the easiest way to give your body the essential nutrients it needs. With summer just around the corner, fresh fruit will be in abundance. Try one of these smoothies or experiment with different fruits. And, there’s no added tax!

Berry Smoothie
¼ cup cranberry juice cocktail
2/3 cup silken tofu, firm
½ cup raspberries, frozen, unsweetened
½ cup blueberries, frozen, unsweetened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon powdered lemonade, such as Country Time

Pour juice into a blender. Add rest of ingredients. Blend until very smooth. Serve immediately and enjoy! Makes 2 servings.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 115, Carbohydrates: 18 grams, Protein: 6 grams, Dietary Fiber: 1 gram, Fat: 3 grams, Sodium: 14 milligrams

Banana-Apple Smoothie
½ banana, peeled and cut into chunks
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup applesauce, unsweetened
¼ cup skim milk
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons oat bran

Place banana, yogurt, applesauce, milk and honey in blender. Blend until smooth. Add oat bran and blend until thickened.

Nutritional Information:
Calories: 292, Carbohydrates: 61 grams, Protein: 9 grams, Sodium: 86 milligrams

The information in this column is meant for people who want to keep their kidneys healthy and blood pressure down by following a low-sodium diet. In most cases, except for dialysis patients, a diet high in potassium is thought to help lower high blood pressure. These recipes are not intended for people on dialysis without the supervision of a registered dietitian.

[Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. A recipient of the Susan Knapp Excellence in Education Award from the National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition, she has a Master of Science degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. See more of her recipes at]

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