“Are smoothies good or bad?” We often get this question from many of our clients and patients. It is quick, simple, and tastes good, but is it the best option? Smoothies and workout shakes can be good, nutritious options if the right ingredients are used and in the right amounts. Many smoothies that you can purchase from fast food restaurants or juice stores like can be loaded with calories and sugar. A majority of these smoothies are made with fruit, frozen yogurt/ice cream, milk, ice, and syrups. Yes, fruit is healthy, but having it in excess is not. Plus, all the extra frozen yogurt/ice cream and syrup are additional empty calories.
Making your own smoothie is always best, because you are able to control what ingredients are used and the amounts. Listed below are some guidelines when it comes to selecting and creating your own healthy, nutritious smoothie.
- Choose fresh and/or frozen fruit. This will ensure you get most of the nutrient and fiber benefits. Make sure there isn't too much fruit added. Attempt to keep it within 2 servings per smoothie.
- Non-starchy vegetables, such as spinach, arugula, broccoli, cucumber, etc. can be added in place of some, or all, of the fruit to decrease calorie content and boost nutritional value.
- Use skim milk, unsweetened soy milk, or unsweetened almond milk as the liquid base. This can help incorporate some healthy protein and manage the calorie content.
- Use nonfat Greek yogurt for additional protein and substance. Also, nonfat, no sugar added nonfat frozen yogurt can be used, however, it won't have as much protein and nutritional value.
- Always incorporate some kind of protein source with your smoothie. This can include unsalted nuts/seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, 100% Whey protein, soy protein, etc. If selecting a protein powder, make sure it has at least 15 grams of protein and less than 5 gram of carbohydrates per scoop. This will allow the smoothie to keep you satisfied longer on a smaller amount.
- Other nutritious goodies can be added, such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, ground flax seeds, wheat germ, bran, etc., which will help provide additional nutrients.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie Recipe:
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- frozen banana
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk/almond milk/skim milk
- 1 cup almonds or other nuts/seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds