Smoothies are refreshing and delicious, especially during the heat of Summer. But, unfortunately, like anything else, many smoothies are made to be ultra fattening, contain high doses of sugar, or some combination of the two. Couple that with the fact that those liquid calories will get digested and absorbed pretty readily, and you’re “healthy choice” could quickly send you running for help.
Here’s the truth about smoothies!
Food, by definition, makes up what (and how) we choose to nourish our bodies. In determining what’s appropriate to eat and when, we promote proper balance and education. We have to weigh the positives and the negatives to do determine if we should consume something, but we need the education to weigh things properly. So how do smoothies stack up? They should be a valued asset to your overall fitness regime.
Read on to find out whether your smoothie is working against instead of for you….
Does It Have Fruit Juice?
If your smoothie relies on fruit juices to give it some added punch, your smoothie may not be as healthy as you think. Since fruit juice is often jam-packed with flavor-enhancing sugars, you’d be smart to keep fruit juice well away from your morning pick-me-up. Have a killer recipe that can’t do without fruit juice of some sort? No problem. Just be sure to pick all-natural homemade squeezed fruit juice or coconut water. The best way to make sure your fruit juice is nothing but fruit juice is to squeeze it yourself, so start squeezing! And don’t forget the fiber-rich pulp!
Do You Have to Add Sugar?
For the same reason you don’t want a smoothie with store-bought sugar-laden fruit juice, you want to sidestep any smoothie that requires you to toss extra teaspoons of sugar or syrup in. The fruit you add to your smoothie should have plenty of sugar (often too much!) to give it the sweetness you desire. Anything else is excessive and will serve to slow you down and encourage fat storage.
Do You Toss in Yogurt?
Smoothies that include yogurt can come out on the healthy or unhealthy side of things. It all depends on what kind of yogurt you use. For the same reasons above, if your favorite type of yogurt is stuffed with added sugars and flavors, it’s not going to be a good way to power yourself up for the day. On the other hand, if you’re careful to only use homemade, organic, or Greek yogurt, your smoothie can be a superbly healthy start to your day. Just think about whether or not you still need the whole container to achieve the same consistency you’re looking for.
Is It Super Sized?
No matter what healthy ingredients you shove into your smoothie, it can still sabotage your weight and health goals if you over-consume. Portion control is extremely important. Remember, you can jam pack a lot of nutrition into a small glass. Think 8 ounces and stick to it! Before you serve yourself a 48-ounce smoothie, or purchase a 60+ gram of sugar Naked juice or Odwalla, really consider your weight goals and your bodies ability to process that many carbohydrates at once. The solution? Split your morning smoothie into appropriate portions so the whole family can join in. Serve it as part of a well-balanced breakfast on the weekend! Or, drink down one portion in the morning and save the rest for a small afternoon snack or finish it off the next morning.
Do You Ever Color It Green?
While fruit smoothies are incredibly delicious, it’s a great idea to switch it up by making a veggie smoothie on occasion. You may even want to go green the majority of the time. The deep green color is sure to give you some vitamins and minerals that your body is likely missing, and skipping the fruit on occasion will remind your taste buds that good things don’t always have to be so sweet.
Does It Contain Ice Cream?
Okay, this may sound like a joke, but if your smoothie contains three scoops of ice cream, a squirt of chocolate syrup, and a cup or two of milk, you’re not drinking a smoothie. It’s a milk shake. And it will not get your day or diet off on the right foot.
Before you laugh too loudly, you should know that some people think that anything cold and creamy that comes out of blender is a smoothie. So if you’re lounging at a friend’s house and he or she offers you a delicious homemade smoothie, ask what’s in it before accepting!
Smoothies are great for a lot of reasons. The rapid nutrient uptake/absorption and the potential to really balance off your day is exciting. If you’re not accustomed to eating breakfast, try to drink your breakfast! We all need the energy and nutrition early, to provide our body with what it needs to perform how we expect it to perform on a daily basis, in and out of the gym. You can read on to see how to supplement your workouts with protein derived shakes and the added benefit we see there.
In the meantime, check out this (simple) sample smoothie. Note the balance in the nutrition line from carbs to protein to fat. With this and any smoothie, you can always add in some greens, healthy seeds, and the protein source of your choice.