In the mood for something cool, tropical and refreshing? As the name suggests, this (heart healthy) Bahama Mama Tropical Smoothie recipe is my version of the popular cafe’s frosty smoothie. I’m a firm believer in enjoying the foods you love without any guilt. This belief inspired me to come up with a healthier version that you can make in the comfort of your own home with a quick push of a blender button.
What’s in the REAL Bahama Mama recipe?
According to the Tropical Smoothie Café website, a Bahama Mama Tropical Smoothie recipe contains strawberries, pineapple, coconut and white chocolate. It also contains milk, soy and tree nuts and is sweetened with turbinado sugar.
The nutritional information of a 24 ounce smoothie contains 510 calories, 4 gm total fat, 4 gm saturated fat, 117 gm carbohydrates, 3 gm protein, 3 gm fiber, 0 mg cholesterol and 50 mg sodium. That’s a pretty big calorie punch, almost a full day’s worth of carbohydrates, and all of the fat listed is from saturated fat.
There’s definite room for improvement.
What changes did I make?
According to the American Heart Association’s heart healthy guidelines, a heart healthy diet consists of “non-tropical vegetable oils”. This leaves coconut and coconut oil out of the picture due to the high saturated fat content. You can view the brief list of guidelines on my Home Page.
Because of this, the coconut in this recipe is where I first decided to make some change. Real coconut largely contains saturated fat. In one 2 inch by 2 inch piece of coconut, there are 15 gm of total fat, of which 13 gm are saturate fats.
So instead of real coconut, I substitute lite coconut milk. This gives that wonderful coconutty flavor without the added saturated fat.
I also swap the turbinado sugar with Swerve confectioner’s sugar substitute. Swerve is a brand name product of the sweetener erythritol. Studies show this sugar substitute is FDA approved and generally recognized as safe for human consumption.
Studies also show that erythritol may be beneficial as a sugar substitute in diabetics and is more easily digested than other sugar alcohols- causing little to no GI issues.
I am not sure if the original recipe uses fresh, unsweetened strawberries and pineapple however that’s what I use here. Although not listed in the nutritional information, it gives a great nutrient boost of vitamin C.
In place of the white chocolate, I substitute Jell-O brand white chocolate instant pudding powder. Adding about a tablespoon of the dry powder helped give it that decadent white chocolate taste without the added fat of the cocoa butter. And to top it off, I add a small amount of vanilla extract and 1/2 a cup of ice cubes to make it extra frosty. Voila!
Heart Healthy Bahama Mama Comparison
Overall, this version is pretty good when it comes to reducing the amount of calories and carbohydrates compared to the original version.
My version makes about 2 (8-10 ounces) servings per recipe. So if you compare a 24 ounce size of my recipe to Tropical Smoothie’s version, that’s 28% less calories and 41% less carbohydrates than the original! Although I am majorly questioning why my version has more total fat and saturated fat per 24 ounce serving. I haven’t figured out the Tropical Smoothie Bahama Mama smoothie recipe secret there. But I’ll keep you updated if and when I do. Enjoy the recipe and let me know you’re thoughts and suggestions in the comments!
(Heart Healthy) Tropical Smoothie Bahama Mama Recipe
- 1 blender
- 6 ounces lite coconut milk
- ½ cup pineapple chunks fresh, canned in juices or frozen
- ½ cup strawberries (about 6 strawberries)
- 2 Tbsp Swerve confectioner's sugar replacement
- 1 Tbsp Jell-O white chocolate instant pudding mix dry
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup ice cubes
- Prep ingredients by cutting strawberries and pineapple, if needed.
- Put all ingredients into blender, except ice cubes, and blend for about 1 minute.
- Add ice cubes and blend for another 30-60 seconds. Enjoy!
- All blenders will vary so continue blending until all ingredients are combined and a smooth consistency without any chunks of fruit remaining.
- Add as much ice as needed to make your drink nice and frosty!
Kiran Campbell is a registered dietitian and entrepreneur with 13 years of experience. She has a degree in psychology as well as dietetics. She is also a proud member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ and its Cardiovascular Health and Well-being Dietetics Practice Group among others. Kiran proudly presents and promotes the most up-to-date, science-based nutrition information on all things heart-related. She aims to serve not only individuals with heart disease, but also those wanting to protect against it. Learn more about Kiran by visiting her About Page.