Smoothies are deemed to be a healthy drink. It is ideal for a quick breakfast or even for a snack. This beverage is available in restaurants, but you can also make your own recipe for smoothies.
What is the Smoothie?
A smoothie is a thick blended drink in which the main ingredient can be fruits or vegetables or both. But, sometimes other ingredients can be added like vegetable juice, fruit juice, yogurt, or milk.
To achieve the thickness of the smoothie, there should be a proper ratio of solid to the liquid used. If you want a thick smoothie, then you should reduce the amount of liquid added or increase the number of solid ingredients. Adding powders and flavorings can also increase the thickness, but this is optional.
A smoothie is different from a shake because the former is consists mainly of non-processed, natural ingredients. That’s why if you will add sugars or dairy such as ice cream, chocolate syrup, and honey it would rather result in a shake.
In the same manner, a smoothie is different from a juice. It’s because a smoothie includes the entirety of the fruit or vegetable, while a juice contains the extracted liquid of the vegetable or fruit. That’s why a smoothie is more nutritious and delicious because it contains all the nutrients from the ingredients.
The advantage of consuming smoothies from juice or shake is that with smoothies you won’t only obtain the nutrients but also the added benefit of fiber, solid fat and protein. Thus, a smoothie can make you feel full for a longer time because it is a more macro-nutrient balanced meal.
Smoothies come in different categories and types such as the following:
- Fruit smoothies – Mainly made from fruits without added sugar.
- Healthy smoothies – These types of smoothies are made from all-natural ingredient and used to replace supplementation, thus provides the daily requirement of macro-nutrients and vitamins.
- Green smoothies – Typically made from dark green colored vegetables such as spinach.
- Weight loss smoothies – Making these types of smoothies do not require adding sugar, instead almond butter or flaxseed is used to make a person feel satiated. Caffeine-based stimulants can be added to boost metabolism and reduce appetite to promote weight loss.
- Dessert smoothies – Some of the main ingredients of dessert smoothies include syrups or ice cream that may taste like a shake.
Are Smoothies Good for You?
Drinking fruit or vegetable smoothie is a delicious and nutritious way to start the day. Are smoothies really do good?
Obviously, if you will use fresh and whole fruit and vegetable when making a smoothie, you will surely get the nutrients. As you make a smoothie, the blender chops the fruits or vegetables into smaller particles, thus more nutrients are released. This gives you the chance to obtain phytonutrients and antioxidants.
However, you should be extra careful in using some fruits for smoothies as they can cause a sudden increase in blood sugar. With this, it is best to use berries because it promoted stable blood sugar (1). You can also avoid using juice in your smoothie by using other alternatives such as plant-based milk, unsweetened coconut water, yogurt, or kefir.
5 Tricks to Make a Healthy Smoothie
Smoothies are indeed nutritious if it includes healthy vegetables and fruits and if done correctly. That’s why it’s important to know some tricks on how to make your smoothie healthy.
- Limit the sugar content
If you will use frozen or whole fresh fruits, make sure not to add extra sweeteners such as agave syrup. Instead, you can add a light drizzle of pure maple syrup or raw local honey.
- Add protein
Using smoothie as a food replacement, it is best to add a protein such as organic soy milk, a chunk of organic tofu, or organic yogurt. The protein will prevent fluctuation of blood sugar levels.
- Avoid using soy protein isolate powder
You may use protein, but not the one in powder form. It’s because protein powders are highly processed in such a way that they became unnatural. Instead, you can use organic soy milk that contains vitamin D, calcium, and a healthy dose of isoflavones that fight cancer.
- Add healthy fats
Adding avocado, flax seeds, or nut butter to your smoothie is a good idea to obtain the benefits of healthy fats.
- Consider proper proportioning
To make a healthy smoothie you must pay attention to the measurement. Health experts recommend considering the portion sizes of the ingredients added to the blender. The measurement of the fruits or vegetables should be not less than 1 cup.
What Makes a Smoothie Unhealthy?
Yes, a smoothie can also be unhealthy if you will use unhealthy ingredients. In fact, most restaurants and events commonly serve unhealthy smoothies. How would you know if the smoothie is unhealthy?
Unhealthy smoothie bases
Many people were mistaken in using smoothie bases that are considered to be unhealthy such as:
- Sugar-packed fruit juices – You should not use fruit juices sold in groceries and supermarkets because they are just flavored sugar water.
- Regular milk – Milk that is available in stores comes from cows. The downside of this milk is that it is often mistreated. Read Is Warm Milk Good for You?
- Bottled water – If you will buy smoothies from commercial establishments, most likely you wouldn’t know if they use either bottled water or tap water. Regardless of what type of water they have used, one thing for sure and that is the smoothie is unhealthy.
Unhealthy smoothie ingredients
Other ingredients that make a smoothie unhealthy include the following:
- Sherbet or ice cream
- Chocolate powders or syrups
- Artificial sweeteners
- Agave nectar
- Non-organic peanut butter
- Store-bought honey
- Chocolate pudding mix
- Cheap protein powders
- Cream soda
Adding too much fat to your green smoothies can cause bloating and you might experience gas due to the combination of slow-digesting fats and rapidly digesting carbohydrates.
Knowing the health benefits of smoothies and how to make the beverage healthy may be enough to add it to your diet. There are plenty of smoothie recipes that you can find over the internet. But, you can choose the ingredients and make your own recipe for a smoothie. Make sure that it is suitable for your health condition.
Janice Thompson is a nutritionist. She loves to share her healthy lifestyle and diet tips.