Licuados the "Latin Smoothie" Finds its Place in American Culture

As the Latin bang continues to forge its place within American culture, Americans continue to see an influx of Latin-American cultural imports. Among these are the Licuados (pronounced LEE-KWA-doh); a blended beverage that is popular throughout Latin America that blends milk, fruit and ice to provide a light, healthy, nutritional drink.

All you need is milk, fruit and ice to create a healthy nutritional beverage.

Licuados are not to be confused with smoothies. Molly Ireland, spokeswoman for the Berkley-based California Milk Processor Board, stated the following "I think of Licuados as healthier, lighter and thinner (in consistency) than a regular smoothie' and they don't have as much sugar."

With obesity and diabetes rates soaring among Americans, it is no wonder that Americans are looking for an alternative to sugary drinks and empty calorie snacks by opting for simpler, natural beverage choices. For this reason, consumers are discovering that Licuados offer the perfect infusion of health, nourishment and great taste. The simple beverage provides calcium and protein from the milk and vitamins, minerals and fiber from the fruits making it the perfect rejuvenator, whether it is consumed during breakfast or as a mid-afternoon snack. All that is needed is milk and some of your favorite fruits to create a healthy and vigorous mixture.

Licuados may just be the next generation of nutritional beverages.

Licuado Recipes

Strawberry Licuado

(Serves 2)

1 cup cold milk
1 1/2 cups stemmed fresh California strawberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup ice
2 whole strawberries, for garnish

Place milk and ice in blender or food processor canister. Blend 15 seconds. Add strawberries and 1 tablespoon sugar (depending on sweetness of strawberries); blend 15 seconds or until smooth and frothy. Pour into two chilled 12-ounce glasses. Garnish glasses with whole strawberries. Serve immediately with straws.

Papaya Splash Licuado

(Serves 2)

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup fresh or frozen papaya
2 tablespoons caramel syrup
1 cup ice

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor canister. Blend until smooth. Serve chilled. Extra portions may be refrigerated or frozen for a fast, healthy snack.

Mango Licuado

(Serves two 16-oz cups)

12 ounces milk
24 ounces canned or frozen crushed mango
2 tablespoon brown sugar
12 ounces ice

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor canister. Blend until smooth. Serve chilled.

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