Smoothies are a tasty and refreshing meal especially when you are on the run. Is there anything to consider when making your own smoothie or can you just throw in whatever you want & blitz?Smoothies can potentially be very high in energy which is not helpful when trying to shed the kilos. They become energy dense as too many fruits, nuts, other fats and sometimes flavour syrups are added. It is more preferable to make your own smoothie at home than it is buying one as you will have control of what goes into the smoothie, making it much healthier and lower in total energy.
Follow these tips to make your own healthy smoothie:
- Keep to 1 – 2 fruit servings per smoothie. This manages the total energy and sugar content. Fruit servings differ depending on the fruit. For example, one fruit serving is 1 medium apple (150g), 1 small banana (90g), 1 medium orange (150g), ½ small mango (110g), ¾ cup berries (150g), 10 medium strawberries (250g) or 160g pineapple.
- Use the skin of the fruit and pulp to maximise on fibre. Fruit contains a type of sugar called fructose. The fructose in fruit is found within a fibre matrix or casing. Fructose has to be first removed from the fibre matrix and then converted by the liver to glucose before it enters the bloodstream. This process takes time, so it takes longer for glucose to enter the bloodstream. Steady glucose levels help sustained energy levels, improved mental performance, and keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you remove most of the fruit fibre, you lose some of this effect on slowing down the metabolism of the fruit.
- Add veggies to your smoothies to boost the antioxidant content without affecting the total energy content too much. Spinach, kale, carrot, cucumber, beetroot and broccoli work well as part of a healthy smoothie.
- Freeze fruit and vegetables that are about to go off into small Ziplock bags. This not only prevents food wastage and saves money, but you will also conveniently have smoothie ingredients ready at any time.
- Always add a high-quality carbohydrate to the smoothie to make you feel fuller for longer and provide more consistent energy through the day. Adding 2 tablespoons of raw oats or a high fibre bran cereal will provide longer lasting energy.
- Adding a protein component to the smoothie such as low fat milk or plain yoghurt or a scoop of protein powder is beneficial as the protein will help you to feel fuller for longer and improve blood sugar control.
- A touch of fat in your smoothie can boost your daily intake of healthy fats. Eat more healthy monounsaturated fats as they increase good HDL cholesterol, decrease inflammation, and lower cardiovascular disease risk. Portion control is vital with fats as they are energy dense foods which will contribute to a high total energy content. Add ¼ small avocado (30g), 4 almonds, 5 cashews, 4 pecans, 2 teaspoons sugar-free peanut butter, 2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds or 1 tablespoon chia seeds to your smoothie.
- Variety is the spice of life! Spice up your smoothie with an extra kick from ginger, cinnamon, fresh mint or vanilla essence.
Here are a few fresh and appetizing smoothies to try at home: