Smoothies can be a great choice for a healthy diet, but not all of them fit the bill. In fact, some smoothies can totally derail your goals by overloading you on fat, sugar and calories. In general, the smoothies you pick up at the juice bar are way too big, and often loaded with ingredients that might not be healthy options. Making your own smoothies gives you all the control. Here’s what to consider next time you drag out the blender.
1. Keep Your Portion Sizes in Check
One of the main problems with smoothies is that they are often supersized. When you make or buy a smoothie, consider the size of the item you’re thinking about sipping. The right serving size for a smoothie is only about 1 cup, so some of them are actually loading you down with four or more portions.
2. Limit Your Smoothie to 300 Calories or Less
When you make your own smoothie at home, keeping it to 1 cup makes it pretty easy to ensure that you control the calorie content. That’s not so simple when you go the juice bar for your smoothie fix. Most post their nutrition info on site or on the company website, so be sure to do a bit of research so you know which smoothies fit the bill and which ones are better left for your next cheat day.
3. Boost Satiety with a Protein Source
The fruit you use to make your smoothie is definitely healthy and will pump you up with loads of nutrients. However, one thing that is lacking is protein. Your body needs protein for energy and to control your appetite. It’s also linked to better concentration and productivity, so adding protein to your smoothie is a no-brainer. Try skim milk, Greek yogurt or peanut butter. Yum!
4. Use Fresh or Frozen Fruit over Canned Options
Canned fruit is often prepared with syrups, which translates to loads of extra sugar. Choose fresh or frozen fruits instead and you get all the nutrients and taste without the added sugar and calories. The great thing is that you can use the fruits that are in season or mix and match what you can find in the freezer for new and healthy smoothies all the time.
5. Toss in a Few Veggies for Something Really New
Veggies are turning up in smoothies more and more often. For good reason too. They contain nutrients that some fruits might not, but they are also lower in natural sugars and calories than fruit. Most of the time, the sweetness of fruit covers up the flavor of the vegetables. Try carrots, leafy greens or avocado in your next smoothie.
6. Try Exotic Add-Ins so You Don’t Feel Deprived
If you’re used to a huge smoothie filled with sherbet from the juice bar, it might be hard to make the transition to this healthier smoothie habit. If that’s the case, try beefing your smoothie up with flavorful additions to make them feel more decadent. Try grated ginger, cinnamon, chia seeds, vanilla extract or coconut water. The flavor will be anything but boring so you’ll love them all, for sure!
7. Know Which Ingredients to Keep out of the Blender
Now that you know what to put in your smoothie, it’s time to hear what you should avoid. By keeping these items out of your smoothies, you make it much easier to create a healthy option that fits with your goals. Things to stay away from include sherbet, full-fat dairy items, sugary juices, whipped cream, ice cream and flavored syrups.
What’s your favorite kind of smoothie? How do you keep it healthy?