by Natalie Brady, Holistic Nutritionist
A daily smoothie is an amazing way to get a variety of nutrients in your diet. They also take very little time to make so your smoothie is a great breakfast option, especially if you’re short on time in the mornings. It’s almost too easy to get carried away with smoothies by adding a little of this, a handful of that, a sprinkle of that and voilà! A healthy meal in no time, right?
When made correctly, smoothies can be the simplest and most delicious way to boost the nutrient content of your diet. But, very often in clinic I see people missing the mark with their smoothie choices. So, I thought I’d share with you 3 ways you could be accidentally making your smoothie less healthy.
1) Your Smoothie is Overloaded with Sugar
No one likes to hear it, but sugar is sugar. Whether it comes from fruit, fruit juice, dried fruit, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, flavoured yoghurt. It’s all going to be broken down into glucose which will send your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride. Fruit and dried fruit do contain fibre and nutrients to help balance that sugary hit, however it’s still a sugar hit.
What to do: Limit fruit to 1-2 pieces (a cup of fruit is often all we need), and swap fruit juice for unsweetened almond milk, water, coconut milk/cream. Experiment with cinnamon or vanilla bean paste to sweeten things up.
2) Your Smoothie Doesn’t Contain Enough Protein
If you’re having a smoothie for breakfast protein is especially important to help stabilise blood sugar levels. It’s a fantastic way to help buffer the release of sugar into the blood from fruit, ensure satiety and give you sustained energy. Protein also helps to build new cells and tissues so is crucial for healthy growth and development of the muscles, hair, skin and nails.
What to do: Include a good quality protein powder (which doesn’t contain added sugar). Natural whey, brown rice or pea protein powders (such as Clean Lean Protein) are a good options. You could also add a raw egg or two, a handful of nuts and seeds, spirulina.
3) Your Smoothie is Missing Healthy Fat
Eating fat will not make you fat. This is a misconception which I often hear from people. Fats play an important role in keeping you satiated and help improve brain function, and are necessary for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Good fats are vital for great health and well-being. Good fats help to reduce inflammation in the body, support healthy cholesterol levels, make hormones, help to manage moods, keep you alert, protect organs, help to maintain healthy skin, provide structure for cells and much more.
What to do: Add one healthy fat source to your smoothie: blend ¼ large or ½ small avocado, a dollop of nut butter or tahini, a couple tablespoons of coconut or Greek yoghurt, a tablespoon of coconut oil, hemp oil or flaxseed oil. Otherwise if you love smoothie bowls like I do, add a handful of nuts and seeds on top.
We hope this helps you understand a bit more about why your smoothie may not be quite working out for you. It’s important to consider this in relation to weight loss, gut health and energy levels.
If you need help with exploring your diet or new ways to move forward to help you reach your health goals, please don’t hesitate to make contact or book an appointment to see one of our naturopathic consultants today.
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