Afternoon Pick-Me-Up: Chocolate-Covered Cherry Smoothie Recipe

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Healthy chocolate covered cherry smoothie recipe from Take Me There author Carolee DeanBy Carolee Dean
Author of Take Me There

Part of leading a writer’s life is finding the perfect balance between sedentary activity, exercise, and diet. Some things that help me stay on track with my diet are decadent but healthy treats, such as this Chocolate-Covered Cherry Smoothie. It’s a protein-rich drink that also provides the perfect afternoon pick-me-up so I can work on that important next chapter.

Ingredients
3/4 cup frozen dark sweet cherries
1 cup 35-calorie almond milk
1 scoop CytoSport 100% Whey Protein
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup baby carrots (optional)

For the topping
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 package Stevia

Put smoothie ingredients in blender and pulse until smooth. Beat whipping cream and Stevia separately in a bowl.

Top smoothie with 1 tablespoon whipping cream mixture. Save the rest to put over fresh berries later for a decadent dessert.

Cherries are naturally high in antioxidants, as is chocolate. I wasn’t kidding about the pick-me-up: Chocolate raises serotonin levels and also contains mood enhancers like theobromine, phenethylamine, and anandamide.

To read more about the health benefits of chocolate visit this helpful article.

Nutritional Facts
Cytosport 100% Whey Protein
You may use any protein you like, but I chose CytoSport because it has a higher concentration of actual protein than many other brands. One scoop contains the following: 140 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 27 grams protein, 3 grams carbohydrates, and 2 grams sugar. Note that the artificial sweetener is sucralose which often goes under the brand name of Splenda.

Almond Milk
Be sure to choose the one that says “35 calories.” One of the things I really like about almond milk is that it doesn’t contain any sugar. Regular milk is full of it. Also, almond milk is an option for those who are lactose intolerant. One cup contains 35 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein, 1 gram of carbohydrates, and 0 grams of sugar.

Frozen Dark Sweet Cherries
3/4 cup contains 110 calories, 1 gram fat, 1 gram protein, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugar. Although this is a lot of sugar, keep in mind it is all natural. A standard cup of milk contains 12 or more grams of sugar. By using almond milk you are significantly reducing the overall amount of both sugar and carbohydrates.

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Chocolate has a bad reputation, but that is because of the fat and sugar typically added to it. By using healthy recipes containing unsweetened cocoa, you can get the health benefits without the added bad stuff. One tablespoon of cocoa contains 10 calories, .5 grams of fat,

Baby Carrots
If you’re looking for a way to add more raw vegetables to your diet (or maybe your kids diet) adding raw carrots to smoothies is a great option. Carrots are naturally sweet and blend with most fruits in such a way that you don’t taste the carrots at all. Keep a bag of peeled baby carrots on hand to toss into smoothies. Raw carrots are lower in carbohydrates than cooked ones. 1/3 cup of raw carrots contains 10 calories, 0 grams of fat,

Whipped Topping Nutritional Facts
Whipping Cream

Like chocolate, real whipping cream gets a bad rap, but used in moderation it’s only 15 calories per tablespoon (whipped) and the fat is very filling. One whipped tablespoon contains 15 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbohydrate, 0 grams of sugar.

Stevia
Stevia is a natural herb that’s been used as a sweetener in South America for well over a hundred years. It’s currently used as a sugar substitute and is much sweeter than sugar, so less is required. One packet contains 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of protein,

For more tips on how sedentary people can stay fit, visit the FITNESS FOR SITTERS section of my personal blog.

Carolee Dean is the author of two young adult titles, Take Me There and Forget Me Not (available October 2012). She is a frequent presenter at state and national conferences and works full-time for public schools as a speech-language pathologist.

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