I’ve been on a real smoothie kick the last few weeks. I’ve just been in the mood for cool, refreshing drinks, so I’ve been having a smoothie almost every day as breakfast or a pre workout snack.
Smoothies however, are one of the health traps that I talk about. Yes, they’re more healthy than a milkshake or frappuccino but if you’re not careful with what you’re adding in, you can end up making a fat or sugar bomb just the same.
To keep my smoothies healthy, here are a few things I look out for when choosing one or making my own.
- Read the recipes before choosing the smoothie you want. If there are ingredients you don’t like, ask if you can omit them or only use half the amount. There’s no point eating something you won’t entirely enjoy.
- Ask for half nut butter or no nut butter in a recipe that has it listed. A tablespoon is a standard serving size, so asking for a smaller portion will ensure you’re closer to those guidelines. A lot of restaurants just dollop in the portion, so you end up with more than the standard serving size.
- Try to pick a smoothie with a coconut water or unsweetened nut milk base. Fruit juices taste great, but add a ton of extra sugar.
- Green smoothies are usually a safe bet because your greens are packed with vitamins and lower in sugar. That said, a lot of green smoothies are sweetened with tropical fruits (pineapple, mango and banana for instance) which are the highest in sugar. Read the ingredients and ask to cut out one of the several fruits or choose a smoothie that only has one being used as the sweetner.
- Berry smoothies are high in antioxidants and lower in sugar. Ask to add half an avocado or a small amount of nut butter for some healthy fat
- If the recipe calls for dates as the sugar source, ask for half dates. I know it sounds like a lot of “halves” to remember, but this will keep the sugar under control.
- If the smoothie bar or restaurants offer add ins, some great options are chia, hemp, or spirulina. They all have relatively no flavour and will add great additional nutrients to your drink.
Just enjoy! These are tips to be aware of, not to deter you from your regular smoothies. They’re delicious, refreshing and healthy, when made the right way