Smoothies, when made correctly, can contribute to healthy eating habits and choices. However, it is easy to pack a smoothie with excessive carbs and calories, which can significantly increase your daily calorie intake and your blood glucose levels without you even realising it.
The following are a few common mistakes when making smoothies:
- Excessive fruit portions. It is easy to add three or even four portions of fruits to a smoothie, making it too energy and carb-dense.
- Using too much nutritious fluid. Fluid is generally used in smoothies to thin the smoothie out. However, it is easy to forget that many fluids, such as milk, yoghurt and fruit juice, contain calories and carbs too.
- Forgetting one of the golden rules of eating carbs (including fruit). Always aim to combine carbs with a protein or healthy fat to slow the digestion of the meal as well as to slow the release of glucose into the blood.
Tips to help create a balanced smoothie:
- Use one to two portions of fruit per smoothie, and keep this in mind when consuming fruit later in the day to ensure your total daily fruit intake is not excessive. A portion of fruit is a tennis ball-sized fruit or half a cup of berries.
- Add about 1/3 of a cup of EITHER plain yoghurt or milk (fruit juice is unnecessary!). To thin it out further, use water or ice.
- Add a source of protein (a good quality protein powder) or healthy fat (nuts, seeds or avocado).
- To bulk up the smoothie and increase its nutrient density, add a big handful of spinach/kale/celery/cucumber.
LAUREN MOORE | REGISTERED DIETICIAN