Fruit smoothies are often advertised as a great healthy way to lose weight, or to supplement your diet with a nutritious drink. However, if youíre not on the lookout for smoothie sabotage, these fruity drinks can do more harm than good. Fortunately, if you learn the right way to blend with this article, smoothies can remain an easy, tasty, AND healthy option for any meal of the day.
Smoothie mistake #1
The blender is NOT a calorie eliminator:
The biggest mistake people make with smoothies is forgetting about how many calories they can have. Just because the ingredients are a drinkable puree, doesnít mean that all the calories of the original fruits arenít still there. Would you eat a watermelon wedge, one and one half bananas, an orange, and a handful of strawberries in one sitting? Probably notÖbut with a smoothie many people eat that much, and more. (And then wonder why their calorie count is off for the day)
Letís solve it
Often, people drink a smoothie, and have something else such as a bagel half, a sandwich, or some type of snack because the smoothie alone wonít satisfy hunger. Others drink a smoothie, and eat something soon after. Being liquid, it doesnít remain in the stomach as long as a solid food might. To solve the issue, you need protein and fiber. Both of these healthy items contribute a lot to the feeling of Ďsatisfactioní. However, you need to be sure youíre getting fruit peels (apple, pear, peach, etc) for fiber, but not that many fruits have protein.
Itís all wrapped up in some tiny seeds. Chia seeds donít add a flavor to the smoothie (they taste like nothing) but they DO add complete protein (like that found in meat) and 2 kinds of fiber (soluble & insoluble) to help you feel full much longer. The more you add, the greater their effect, so you can stay satisfied until lunch. The fiber in chia isnít broken down by the body. It doesnít add calories, but it helps move food smoothly through the digestive system AND feeds beneficial (probiotic) bacteria.
Smoothie mistake #2
Too much sugar:
When looking over smoothie recipes, or a smoothie menu, first check to see if thereís any added sugar or sweet ingredients. Things like high fructose corn syrup, cane juice, and even sweetened yogurts can sabotage your plans for health with a sugar overload. Fruits contain natural sugars too (which is fine) but youíve got to balance them out with a veggie or two, so you can avoid a Ďsugar slumpí afterward. Sugars and sweet fruits may be fat free, but they add calories that donít do a whole lot for your health.
Letís solve it
First, always turn down a smoothie with any kind of added sugars. You donít need those for great taste, if you know what fruits to mix & match. Next, add some vegetables. Donít be afraid to throw a handful of spinach into a fruit smoothie. Its flavor is easy to eliminate with a sweet fruit (like a banana) and a strong fruit (like a strawberry, pineapple, kiwi, or raspberry) By mixing "sweet" and "strong" you can choose a vegetable and then eliminate its flavor so that all you get is that great fruit taste you love. Cucumber is good as well, since it is mild. When it is combined with fruits, usually you only taste the Ďcoolí component. If you use a powerful fruit like pineapple, you can also toss in some kale, and let the fruit do itís taste-fighting job.
Use fiber to slow the digestion of the sugars. Since fiber canít be digested, it gets in the way and slows down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugars. This is great, because it helps keep insulin from spiking (this causes the Ďsugar slumpí) and helps the body digest the smoothie at an even pace thatís more likely to keep you feeling full longer. Spinach, kale & chia seeds are easy ways to add lots of fiber to any smoothie.
Smoothie mistake #3
Budget busting smoothies:
Enjoying a healthy treat shouldnít break the bank. Store bought smoothies can get expensive, and, if youíve discovered some of them have additives you donít want, itís time to look for a way to blend for less.
Letís solve it
Making your own smoothies at home is incredibly quick and easy when you use these tipsóplus, youíll save money too. First, frozen fruit is always in season. Unlike canning, freezing preserves fruit without heat, so those healthy compounds and enzymes arenít broken in the flash freeze. Bags of frozen fruit like mango, melon, raspberries and more are almost always less than their fresh counterpart. Enjoy out of season fruits all year long by going to the freezer aisle. Take the next step by freezing your own fruit while itís in season, such as buying bags of cranberries (only available in fall) kiwis (a summer treat thatís not in the freezer aisle often) or your favorite seasonal- only grape. You can also peel bananas, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze for a creamy smoothie without worrying about those pesky spots.
For a morning smoothie in a flash, fill the blender jar with a hand full of veggies, your favorite fruits, and a splash of non-dairy milk. Then, put it in the fridge. In the morning, just blend & go, youíre ready to drink in under 30 seconds. That removes every excuse for skipping breakfast.
Pre-cut frozen fruit, pre-filled blender jars, easy spoonfuls of chia, and simple bags of greens means drinking healthy has never been faster and easier. Mixing at home means youíre not paying a premium for someone to prepare something you could make in minutes. If you need a sweeter smoothie, you can sprinkle in some stevia powder before you blend. This sweet herb is much sweeter than sugar (to taste) but does nothing to insulin levels. Unlike artificial-chemical sweeteners, stevia wonít make you feel hungrier. Customize the sweetness level with inexpensive stevia so that even kids with a sweet tooth can enjoy fruits and veggies every day.
Smoothie mistake #4
Itís time to dump (unfermented) dairy. Keep dairy milk out of your smoothies. Alkaline foods fight inflammation, and dairy milk is an acid-forming food. Arenít oranges and lemons acids too? They start out as acidic, but as theyíre digested, they become alkaline. Dairy has no such advantage. Plant calcium (like in spinach, chia and kale) is also easier for the body to absorb. If youíre going for the protein, you can use probiotic infused greek yogurt or fermented unsweetened kefir. (or even a scoop of vegetarian protein powder)
Letís solve it
Use milk-alternatives like rice milk, almond milk, cashew, or soy. (men should skip soy milk, as it has plant estrogens) If you want a creamy taste, add banana, or frozen banana. Greek yogurt with probiotics as well as kefir can also be used. If you want calcium, itís important to have other minerals with it, such as magnesium & the trace mineral boron. Consuming these minerals together greatly increases their absorption ability. Fortunately, the chia seed brings all 3 together in 1 tiny package. Itís also got the omega-3 oils you need to absorb the fat soluble vitamin A in spinach or kale.
With these smoothie solutions, you can add great taste and great nutrition to your menu.
The flavor combinations are endless, and by using the prep-time tips thereís no excuse to skip your fruits and vegetables. Think about how much better you could feel if you eat a whole salad worth of greensÖbefore anyone else has even touched a veggie. Stay feeling full for hours with the fiber of the chia seed, and know that youíll never fall victim to smoothie sabotage with this great information.