Cherries are so sweetly satisfying right now! I love it when a food is just as nutritious as it is delicious. A cup of sweet cherries has about 90 calories, 3 grams fiber, and almost 20% of the daily value for vitamin C. It also contains small amounts of other nutrients such as A and B vitamins, potassium, and iron. Tart cherries, usually saved for cooking or baking, have slightly less calories and even more vitamin C. Both are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals including anthocyanins, which contribute to their deep red hues, and lutein and zeaxanthin, which may protect against age-related eye diseases. Research has also linked cherries to heart health and anti-inflammatory benefits. Choose fresh cherries that are dark red with a firm flesh.
I drink protein smoothies almost every day so I thought to add this seasonal fruit, and it was quite a treat! I used chocolate whey protein powder but you could use instead a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a little honey to sweeten (though the cherries might be sweet enough on their own). I'd drink this as a breakfast shake so it's pretty dense with about 300-350 calories and 30 grams protein. You may lower the calorie/protein content simply by reducing the amount of protein powder (1/2 scoop) and yogurt (1/4 cup).
Cherry Chocolate Protein Smoothie
1 cup fresh sweet cherries, pits and stems removed
1/2 cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
Extra skim milk or almond milk as needed to thin consistency
2-3 ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Makes about 12 ounces.