I frequently get asked if smoothies are healthy. It’s a very broad question. A smoothie refers to almost anything that is blended and then consumed from a cup. Often it contains fruit and some type of dairy. So whats my answer to the question? It depends. You can easily make a smoothie high in sugar and not much better for you than a chocolate bar, or you can make a smoothie full of nutrients that will give you energy and keep you moving throughout the day.
I want to start off with a comparison. Below you will find the nutrition facts for a smoothie from freshly squeezed and a homemade smoothie using the recipe I posted below. I chose the Strawberry Banana Smoothie from freshly squeezed because it is one of the most popular. Without the whey it was almost 100% carbohydrates. I added the whey to give them the benefit of the doubt. Take a look.
Nutrition facts of freshly squeezed strawberry banana smoothie (with whey)
As you can see this is a very unbalanced meal/snack. The Carbs are high and the fats are low. The protein is decent, but more than most people need in one sitting. My biggest concern is the fact that there are 35g of sugar. The only significant micro-nutrient you consume in this smoothie is vitamin C.
Below are the nutrient facts for a smoothie I made myself:
Homemade smoothie containing: Avocado, Berries, Spinach, Vegan protein, coconut oil, flax seeds
While my smoothie is slightly higher in calories, it is also significantly higher in nutrient density. The protein and fat ensure that you feel full and satisfied while keeping your blood sugar level. The extra fiber also slows the release of sugar into the blood stream. You can further sweeten this smoothie by adding a 1/4 of banana without disrupting the balance.
Here is my smoothie recipe:
1 cup of water
1/4 of an avacado
1/4 cup of berries
2 handfuls of Spinach
1 scoop of vega protein (you can choose an alternative brand)
1 Tbsp of coconut oil
1 Tbsp of flaxseed
Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy! If your used to very sweet smoothies, it will take time to adjust. You can start by using more banana/berries and slowly decreasing them over time. When you don’t eat a lot of sweet treats, the natural ones start to taste amazing! You can also use an unsweetened almond or coconut milk to help thicken it.
Eat/Drink Your Veggies!