"So....what's the deal with smoothies, and are they even healthy"?
With all the negative messaging around juices and sweetened beverages, many of my clients are asking about smoothies. We often hear "don't drink your calories".
Where do smoothies fit in?
Smoothies are awesome for boosting nutrition and hydration in a quick, tasty and convenient and way. With endless flavour profiles possible, smoothies can build variety into your diet especially when it comes to colourful fruits and veg.
Since smoothies are already broken down via blending, the body does absorb the nutrients more quickly compared to whole intact foods, which requires the body to do a bit more work. This has it's pros and cons; BUT happens to be one of the main reasons I LOVE smoothies for #preworkout and #postworkout nutrition. In these situations, quick and easy absorption is desired. Smoothies use whole ingredients and blend versus extracting the juices, so smoothies still contain fibre, helping to increase their satiety factor with less of a blood sugar spike when compared to a juice.
What's the downside of smoothies?
As much as I love smoothies for certain circumstances, smoothies could contribute to weight gain if portions and ingredients exceed your individual needs. And, if the macronutrient balance is lacking, you may end up hungrier than you started off. With some sport related/nutrient timing exceptions, a balanced smoothie ideally contains a source of carbohydrate, good quality protein, some nutrient rich boosters and a bit of healthy fat. Watch that you don't overdo the fruit, added sugars (juices, maple syrup, honey), flavoured yogurts, and dried fruits which can spike blood sugars. I've also seen smoothies that become too calorie dense when there's an aimless addition of nut butters, seeds, coconut milk, high fat dairy, and too much protein supplementation. Unless you're needing to gain weight, or have extremely high needs around exercise, these examples could turn a potentially healthy meal replacement or post workout bevvie into a bit of a caloric extravaganza.
So when do I recommend smoothies and how to build one that meets your needs?
1. Athletes or recreational athletes for pre workout or post workout recovery nutrition
2. Breakfast on the go when ingredient and calorie profile is balanced
3. Clients needing soft liquid nutrition for swallowing issues, dental surgeries, or jaw injuries
4. Clients who skip meals or are on the go without the ability to "eat" a meal with a fork or spoon. This may include RMTs, trainers, construction workers, shift workers, drivers
5. Clients with higher calorie needs for healthy weight gain or lean mass gains
6. Increasing the nutrient density of a diet for kids or picky eaters
While there are different recipes for individual needs, goals and nutrient timing purposes, you can follow this #smoothiechecklist to help get you started with building a #balancedsmoothie for breakfast or around training. To optimize and customize your nutrition especially around sport it's always good to chat with a #sportdietitian to ensure you're meeting your specific fuel and recovery needs.
1. 1 -2 servings Nutrient rich carb (berries, banana, oats, frozen fruit, dates)
2. 15-25g Protein (milk/soy, greek yogurt, pasteurized egg whites, protein powder)
3. Nutrition/energy boosters (spinach, beets, kale, berries, cauliflower, mint, coffee, cocoa)
4. Healthy fat/fibre for satiety 1-2 tbsp (chia, hemp seeds, ground flax, tbsp nut/seed butter)
5. Liquid for hydration and texture (dairy or plant based milk, coconut milk, water)
For a great smoothie recipe that I love check out my IG post @dietitiandebs #Blueberrypiesmoothie