Doesn’t a cold smoothie sound good on a hot summer day? A smoothie is a thick, creamy beverage – with a “smooth” consistency - that is typically a blended concoction of fruit, dairy/dairy substitute, and ice. It is easy to make it nutritious, but just as easy to create or buy one that is more dessert than health food.
Store-bought and chain-bought smoothies average 5 teaspoons of sugar per cup, and most servings are 2 to 3 times that size. That’s a lot of sugar! It comes from processed fruit purees and juices (such as apple puree and orange juice) along with table sugar, honey and other sweeteners. The problem with the juice and puree is that they are handled in your body like the other forms of sugar; these sugars do not trigger you to feel full or satisfied as quickly as real fruit because they do not contain any fiber and are digested quickly. Some smoothies also contain frozen yogurt or ice cream, making them a milkshake in disguise.
If you are buying a smoothie, ask if they use only whole fruit and skip the yogurt or ice cream. Consider add-ins like protein powder, peanut butter or chia seeds if you don’t mind the extra cost, but skip the spirulina and guarana seed boosts which have no proven benefits. And unless you are an active young adult, keep your portions small.
An even better option is to make your own at home. Start with the basics:
Experiment with flavors and textures until you find your favorites, then start preparing a large batch to store in the refrigerator for later. A good tip to keep it fresh: add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the blender. Store in individual portion containers such as a small mason jar or cup with a lid, then you can grab one after a workout or on your way to work for a quick, and yes, nutritious, drink.
Just One Thing to do: Make your own smoothies with a fruit, vegetable and protein source for a healthy drink packed with vitamins and minerals!
P.S. This blog was longer than my intended 100-200 word length; sorry. I hope it was a quick read!