The word “smoothie” is synonymous with being healthy. But sometimes, the urge to load it up with unnecessary calories can cause effects you might not find so desirable. For example, you fill your blender with a banana, blueberries, protein, and some almond milk, only to add whipped cream or chocolate syrup as an added topping. This may seem harmless, but the extra calories can really add up quick. Just one, two tablespoon serving of chocolate syrup equals around 110 calories. Add that up over a week, and you’re eating an extra 770 calories. That’s the equivalent of one Burger King® Double Cheeseburger. Yikes! By understanding the unhealthy ingredients that can saturate your smoothie with unwanted sugar and fat, you can create healthy liquid masterpieces that fuel your body for long work days and excercise routines.
But that’s not the only example of adding unnecessary calories. Here are some quick tips to help ensure that your smoothie addiction doesn’t make you shriek every time you look in the mirror.
- Avoid adding extra artificial sweeteners. Adding fresh fruit will act as a natural sweetener.
- Skip the flavored fruit juice, full-fat dairy products, whipped cream, flavored yogurt, ice cream, chocolate syrup, and canned fruit in syrup. These can add extra calories in the form of sugar and saturated fat.
- Fruit is good, but don’t overdo it. An all fruit smoothie can easily be around 500 calories. And because fruits are full of natural sugars, your body metabolizes them quickly, leaving you wanting to eat again soon. Avoid this by adding a form of protein as well, such as a non-fat or soy milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powder, or soft tofu.
- Add a source of fiber. Fiber helps you lose weight by helping to keep you feeling full. Some fiber rich items you can add include bananas, berries, kale, avocado, and flax meal.
Now that the nutritional mistakes have been covered, here are some additional tips to help make your smoothie one for the ages.
- Avoid using under-ripe fruit. It has zero flavors and tends to make your smoothie watery. But it’s okay to use bruised or mildly squishy fruit.
- Using frozen fruit can help make your smoothie ice cold, which is especially helpful now that the temperatures have been skyrocketing.
- Avoid using melons at all costs! Melons don’t blend well with other fruits and vegetables and will make your smoothie a watery mess.
- Don’t always stick to the recipe. By improvising, you can make your smoothie even healthier. For example, if your favorite smoothie lacks Vitamin C, try adding papaya, strawberries, or pineapple.
Smoothies can be an excellent way to start the day, but it’s essential that you’re packing them with the proper ingredients that will improve your daily output and overall health in the long run. No matter what time of day you enjoy making smoothies they’re a great way to facilitate a healthy intake in your daily diet. Smoothie recipes come in all shapes, sizes and colors and can also be a great way to supply your family with essential ingredients that keep the body in tip-top shape.
What are some nutrient-filled smoothies that you enjoy? Let us know in the comments below so other readers can get inspired for their next tasty battle with the blender!
UPMC BodyChangers, is a weight loss management and support program that helps members achieve their weight loss goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle through an array of exercise classes, education and support groups, and group outings. Based at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, UPMC BodyChangers creates a supportive community of like-minded individuals who want to be happy, healthy, energetic, and fit by taking better care of themselves.