Smoothies undoubtedly pack a punch when it comes to health and nutrition but only if they’re made using fresh, varied and well planned ingredients. Smoothies can easily become a sugar fix and may even deliver more teaspoons of sugar than a 330ml can of coke or a regular sized Mars Bar! I’m seeing more and more clients with irritated digestive systems and weight gain as a result of drinking too many smoothies and juices.
Here are some tips to ensure your health and waistline are not sabotaged by your penchant for smoothies and juices. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy!
Fibre is the magic bullet when it comes to managing your weight. Why? Well simply because it helps to fill you up. If you’re relying purely on fruit in your smoothies not only will you be missing out on a range of healthy nutrients, you’ll also be rather low on fibre. Try adding veggies such as kale or some nuts and seeds.
Where’s the protein?
I always encourage my clients to ask themselves this question at meal or snack times. Fruit and veggies can deliver loads of super foods and phytonutrients but what about the protein? Like fibre, protein keeps you full and stops you drinking such a great quantity. You can easily add protein by adding Greek yoghurt, protein powder, nuts, seeds, nut butter and nut milks.
An average fruit smoothie can easily deliver 500-600 calories or even more! They’re not the saintly detox food we are led to believe and after knocking one back you’ll be hungry in no time.
It’s never a good idea to add extra ‘sugar’ to a fruit smoothie? A tablespoon of honey can add approximately 60 calories to your smoothie and the same applies to other natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, brown rice syrup, coconut nectar or date extract. Sugar is sugar and carbs are carbs…just don’t do it!
When you’re reading a smoothie recipe do you ever check the serving size? Or when you’re making up your own ideas do you just throw everything in your blender or nutribullet without a care for portion control? It’s natural so it must be healthy right? WRONG, you can have too much of a good thing and all that liquid can cause bloating and stomach ache. Remember a serving is approximately 200-250ml so anymore than this and you’re overdoing it. Measure your ingredients and save some for later if you need to.
Smoothies usually contain enough nutrients to be a meal or large snack in their own right. If you’re watching your waistline don’t team up your smoothie with your regular breakfast or you’ll end up bloated or have packed in too much energy fuel.
Foods to watch
Some foods will pack on the pounds if you’re eating too many of them. I’m not demonising these foods as some are my favourites. Remember good nutrition is all about balance:
- High sugar fruit
- Nut butters
- Maple syrup
- Agave syrup
- Coconut butter
Almond Superfood Smoothie
Try this almond superfood smoothie for a simple and well balanced blend, which I regularly make for breakfast, it’s filling, simple and full of good stuff to set you up for the day. Its definitely NOT a sweet smoothie so may take some getting used to. As there’s no fruit in the recipe I occasionally add a little banan or a few blueberries to keep the rest of the family happy.
Time: 1-2 minutes!
- 250ml unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 scoop of plant based protein powder (I use Sunwarrior Natural Classic Plus)
- 1/2 a small avocado
- Handful of chopped kale leaves
- 1/2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 2 drops of stevia
- 1/2 small banana (optional)
- Sprinkle with a little raw cacao powder
- Ice cubes
Put everything into a blender and whizz together. To lighten the consistency add a drop more almond milk, water or extra ice cubes.
Charlotte Hunter Nutrition