Smoothies: A Healthy Choice?
Smoothies have become very popular over the past several years. But not all smoothies are created equal.
A smoothie can be very healthy and nutritious – or it can be a high-calorie, high-sugar option that can sabotage your healthy eating goals.
Be wary of fast food smoothies – these are typically loaded with sugar and contain very little fibre or protein.
For example, a Tim Hortons Strawberry Banana Fruit Smoothie – with Greek Yogurt certainly sounds like a healthy choice, but the name is misleading. A medium contains no fibre, only 5 g of protein, 200 calories and 40 g of sugar – that’s equivalent to 10 teaspoons of sugar! Other than being low in fat, it’s not much different than an Iced Cappuccino.
And don’t be misled by franchises that specialize in beverages and smoothies. At Orange Julius, a medium-size Premium Fruit Smoothie will get you 0-1 g of fibre, only 4-5 g of protein, 300-390 calories and 59-86 g of sugar – that’s 14-21 teaspoons of sugar!
Enjoy a healthy, nutritious smoothie as part of your healthy eating plan by making it yourself.
A smoothie should be balanced – just like a meal – containing protein, carbohydrates, fibre and healthy fats.
Use this basic guideline to create healthy balanced smoothies:
- Protein – milk, yogurt, cottage cheese or a scoop of protein powder mixed in water
- Carbohydrate – 1 serving of fruit (e.g. 1 small banana or 1 cup berries)
- Fibre – 1-2 tbsp. of ground flaxseed, chai seed or psyllium, or use your favourite greens
- Healthy fat – ¼ avocado or 1 tbsp. olive oil
Here’s my own breakfast smoothie recipe.
- 1 cup water
- 1 scoop protein powder (usually vanilla flavored)
- 1 fruit (usually 1 small banana, or sometimes 1 cup frozen berries)
- 1-2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, chia seeds or psyllium husk (I alternate these)
- ¼ avocado
- I always add ½ teaspoon of grated fresh ginger or ginger powder, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon turmeric.
- I sometimes add spinach or cucumber for added fibre and nutrients.