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Byline: Emma Jenkins

IT'S all about smoothies in our house thisweek. I amnot sure where the inspiration for this feast of fresh fruit and yoghurt has come from but it's very welcome.

I can't wait for the warmer spring weather and longer evenings to arrive when jogging becomes a tolerable exercise. With thesemorningchills, it is all toeasytocopoutandwithgood reason too. So think of it as getting your insides fit first before pummelling those muscles in the spring.

Here are my three favourite smoothies of the week. The method is the same for each one, I just adapt the flavours. So go on and make up your own...

Smoothie 1 8oz white grape juice 1 large banana 2 teaspoons vanilla essence 2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt Smoothie 2 8oz cranberry juice 80-100g frozen raspberries 3 handfuls of porridge oats 2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt Smoothie 3 8oz apple juice 1 large ripe pear or tinned pear would be sweeter and easier this time of year 3 inches of cucumber 1 inch of fresh ginger 2 tablespoons Greek yoghurt Method The method is the same, so put all the ingredients in a liquidiser and whiz smooth. If you are using a stick blender, place the ingredients in a container and whiz. It is best to use a tall, thin container in this case.

But just how healthy are these smoothies? I rang my friend Emma Jones. The other ej is a nutritionist and knows all about how foods affect the body ( Here are her comments on my current favourite fad.

"Your banana smoothie has just the right amount of carbohydrate and protein, the combination of banana and yoghurt make for a perfect balance," she said.

"This high potassium and magnesium drink will keep you hydratedandwill help to balance your blood sugar for hours.The vanilla essence will give your digestion that extra soothing quality. This smoothie is very nutritious and tastes great.

"The second smoothie is perfect for that extra carbohydrate boostandthe oatshaveahighBvitamincontent.Theberries give this drink the extra edge as they are high in the mineral zinc which helps to boostimmunity.The drink also has a high vitamin Ccontent whichwillkeep your skin looking healthy andglowing. I like the taste of this one as it's really fruity and not too sweet.

"The third smoothie has to bemy personal favourite though as it's a greatway of sneaking extra vegetables into a drink without it affecting the taste. The cucumber, pear and apple juice give this drink a high potassium content helping to detoxify the body, while the yoghurt adds to the protein content, helping increase your vitamin D and calcium. The ginger finally gives the smoothie that extra kickandhelps tokeepthebodywarmduring this colder time."

Well I agree with all that and have managed to last until lunchtime without snacking.

Emma Jenkins is Director, and creative inspiration behind EJ Catering
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 13, 2010
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