Let’s face it. Smoothies are quick, easy and yummy. But they can turn from a healthy drink into a dessert-like beverage faster than you can hit the Blend button.
The concept of these portable drinks is simple. Throw in a number of nutritious ingredients, add ice and a liquid of choice, mix well and pour into your favorite glass or travel container.
Unfortunately, "tasting good" and "being good for you" may not always be in alignment with each other. With this in mind, why not try these three steps for creating a healthy smoothie today.
1) Keep a balance between the fruit and vegetables.
Yes, kale is all the rage right now as a super food. However, many cannot fathom the thought of putting bitter greens in their morning smoothie, and opt for berries, cherries, peaches and bananas instead.
While fruit has its place, it can also create a blood sugar spike in certain people. Fruit is also high in natural fructose which some people cannot handle, and they may gain weight as a result.
Speaking of sugars, if you like smoothies with yogurt as the base, make sure you read the label to see how much sugar is in that container. Four grams of sugar on the label is equivalent to approximately 1 teaspoon of sugar. If the yogurt has 16 grams of sugar ... that is 4 teaspoons of sugar you just added.
So consider eliminating yogurt, and be sure to blend in vegetables such as kale, spinach or beets, along with a little bit of fruit for taste.
2) Remember to include protein.
The most common form is a good quality, low-sugar, additive-free protein powder. For those who do not have a whey sensitivity, this can be a good option. For those who are dairy intolerant, consider a rice or pea blend. Some powders have an egg-white base.
Many stores that carry protein powder sell trial packets as well. That way, you can buy several types in various flavors in order to decide which one tastes the best and does the best for your body.
3) Consider adding some good fat.
Despite the old adage that fat will make you fat sparking the "no-fat" and "low-fat" craze in the '90s, there are certain fats that are actually good for you!
Consider adding liquid fish oil for your omega-3 fatty acids. Blend in some avocado. Add ground flax or chia seeds. Try a spoonful of almond or sun butter. The fat will also help in the digestion process to avoid a quick blood sugar spike and the resulting crash.
Still not sure on the whole smoothie process?
There are numerous recipes available that are simple and easy to follow online, on Instagram, on Facebook and on Pinterest. Take to social media to ask for ideas, or consider talking with a nutritionist or your health care provider if they specialize in dietary support.
Smoothies do not need to be complicated and do not have to look pretty, but they do need to be nutritious and help you achieve your goal of good health.
1) Dreher, M. and Davenport, A. (2013). Hass avocado composition and potential health effects.
2) Mori, A., Considine, R. and Mattes, R. (2013). Acute and second-meal effects of almond form in impaired glucose tolerant adults: a randomized crossover trial.
3) Rellinger, D. (2013). How to convert grams of sugar into teaspoons.
Reviewed September 28, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith