If you’re whipping up a smoothie for a morning meal on the go or for immediate recovery post-workout, you’ll want to make sure it is high in nutrition and isn’t just a calorie and sugar bomb in disguise.
Many smoothies and shakes can have a lot of sugar, calories, and fat, especially if they are completely fruit based or have a variety of higher-calorie items like nut butters, granolas and starchy fruit. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of the ingredients you’re putting in your smoothies and shakes, so you can keep blood sugar stable and not over-consume in that quick snack.
You won’t want to crash from sugar shortly into the day from breakfast or take in too many calories and sugar after a great, sweaty workout. Here are the do’s and don’ts for building the perfect smoothie or recovery shake.
Do: Add in a Protein Powder
While many shakes have tons of fruit and carbs, many lack protein. Yet, by adding in a protein powder, you can instantly increase the number of grams of protein in the drink. You can also add in a little bit of nut butter or nuts and seeds, which can also provide some good protein. Choose a flavor you like: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and more. Then let the other ingredients match those flavors too.
Do: Pick ONE Fruit
Instead of throwing in five different fruits, pick one serving of fruit for the drink. You can choose just one, like strawberry or banana, or do half and half, but stick to one serving of fruit to keep sugar and carbs down. Then, pile on the veggies, protein sources and good healthy fats, as well as liquid to create a balanced drink.
Do: Load it Up With Greens
A smoothie is a great way to sneak in greens. Leafy greens like kale and spinach have great protein, iron, fiber and magnesium, as well as cruciferous veggies, like broccoli. And you can even include a starchy veggie, like carrots. Just choose one starchy one, and then a bunch of greens. Go for hydrating greens too like cucumber and celery.
Don’t: Put in Too Many Ingredients
You might want to make a healthy drink, but adding in everything under the sun will make it super high in calories and fat. So, don’t add in nut butter, nuts and seeds, protein powder, granola, fruits and veggies, creamy avocado and other sweeteners in just ONE drink—all of these together makes it a calorie bomb. Instead, choose two of these higher calorie foods, like avocado, protein powder, nuts, seeds, nut butters and granolas, and then just go with the veggies and some milk, like almond or soy.
Don’t: Make it Oversized
Stick to one serving. You can make a big batch at once and save in the fridge for easy leftovers to have all week long, but don’t start drinking two or three servings of the smoothie at once. If you have a problem with not finishing it in two minutes, ditch a straw and drink slowly. Or split it up into smaller servings that equal one. Too much of a good thing will backfire.