Smoothies are an amazing way to get a variety of nutrients in your diet. They also take very little time to make so are the perfect breakfast option for anyone who is short on time in the mornings. It’s almost too easy to get carried away with smoothies by adding a little of this, a handful of that a sprinkle of that and voilà! A healthy meal in no time, right?
When made correctly, smoothies can be the simplest and most delicious way to boost the nutrient content of your diet. But, very often in clinic I see people missing the mark with their smoothie choices. So, I thought I’d share with you 3 ways you could be accidentally making your smoothie less healthy.
1) It’s overload with sugar
No one likes to hear it, but sugar is sugar. Whether it comes from fruit, fruit juice, dried fruit, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, flavoured yoghurt. It’s all going to be broken down into glucose which will send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride. Fruit and dried fruit do contain fibre and nutrients to help balance that sugary hit, however it’s still a sugar hit.
What to do: Limit fruit to 1-2 pieces (a cup of fruit is often all we need), and swap fruit juice for unsweetened almond milk, water, coconut milk/cream. Experiment with cinnamon or vanilla bean paste to sweeten things up.
2) It doesn’t contain enough protein
If you’re having a smoothie for breakfast protein is especially important to help stabilize blood sugar levels. It’s a fantastic way to help buffer the release of sugar into the blood from fruit, ensure satiety and give you sustained energy. Protein also helps to build new cells and tissues so is crucial for healthy growth and development of the muscles, hair, skin and nails.
What to do: Include a good quality protein powder (which doesn’t contain added sugar, natural whey, pea or brown rice protein powders are a good options). You could also add a raw egg or two, a handful of nuts and seeds, spirulina.
3) You’ve forgotten to add a healthy fat source
Eating fat will not make you fat. This is still a misconception which I often hear from people. Fats plays a large role in keeping you satiated and helps improve brain function, while also playing a key role the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Good fats are vital for great health and wellbeing. Good fats help to reduce inflammation in the body, support healthy cholesterol levels, make hormones, help to manage moods, keep you alert, protect organs, help to maintain healthy skin, provide structure for cells.
What to do: Add one healthy fat source to your smoothie, blend ¼ large or ½ small avocado, a dollop of nut butter or tahini, a couple tablespoons coconut or greek yoghurt, a tablespoon of coconut oil, hemp oil or flaxseed oil. Otherwise if you love smoothie bowls like I do, add a handful of nuts and seeds on top.
Also, to make you're smoothie even MORE healthy, I recommend adding in 1-2 handfuls of leafy greens or a zucchini for an extra nutrient boost. And as with all meals, try to ensure you’re not guzzling down your nutritious smoothie on the go to ensure optimal digestion.