Smoothies can be a very healthy breakfast option but a smoothie is only as good as what you put in it. Smoothies can be a great breakfast on-the-go option, packed with a lot of nutrients. However, it is very easy for the smoothie to be too high in calories and carbs, making it a less than ideal choice to start your day with.
It isn’t that smoothies themselves are bad for you, but rather many smoothies are packed with way too much fruit with some sort of liquid base. Some store bought options may also have added sugar, which is a big no!
Don’t just add fruit and milk and call it a smoothie – this ends up being too high in carbs (even though these are natural sugars). Especially for a main meal, you need your protein and healthy fats.
A smoothie can be a great addition to a healthy balanced diet. You should be consuming 5-10 servings of vegetables and fruit in a day, which can be a challenge for some people. Smoothies are a great way to pack in 2-3 servings of veggies and fruit easily.
Smoothies are also a great on the go option if you don’t have time in the morning to sit down for a meal. If done correctly, you can get the right amount of macronutrients in a cup!
5 Things to Add To Make Your Smoothie Actually Healthy:
Protein is often overlooked in smoothies when it is actually a key macronutrient for not only smoothies but every meal.
It will help you feel fuller, manage your blood sugar levels, and help maintain muscle. The goal is to get at least 20g of protein to make it a full meal replacement.
Examples: plain Greek yogurt, protein powder, silken tofu
- Healthy Fats
Healthy fats also help making your smoothie more filling.
Be careful to not overdo it as the calories can easily add up. Limit to 1 Tablespoon of nut butters and seeds. You also want to make sure there is no added sugar in your nut butter. Read labels to ensure the ingredients list only has nuts.
Examples: ¼ avocado, all-natural nut butter, hemp seeds, chia seeds, ground flaxseed
Veggies will help increase the fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
The easiest choice is to go for a dark leafy green but you can also experiment with other raw veggies like cauliflower, zucchini, and carrots. For leafy greens, store it in your freezer so it is easy to add.
Examples: kale, spinach, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots
I like to think of fruit as the flavour enhancer of the smoothie.
The bonus is that while it is providing sweetness and flavour, it is also packed with nutrients. The key is to limit the portion of fruit to 1 cup. Using frozen fruit can help make a thicker smoothie and cut down on prep time, while fresh fruit may allow you to use in-season sweeter fruit.
Examples: berries, bananas, peaches, pineapples, bananas, dates
The liquid is what brings together the smoothie.
However, you want to avoid using liquids with added sugar such as juices. To make a smoothie bowl, add less liquid with ice (¼ to ½ cup), whereas if you want a thinner smoothie, you can increase the amount of liquid.
Examples: milk, unsweetened non-dairy beverage (coconut, almond, hemp etc), coconut water
If you struggle to find time to put together a smoothie in the morning, you can pre-measure dry ingredients and make small baggies to store in the freezer. The morning of, pop the bag out of the freezer, add your liquid and protein, blend, and enjoy!