Can smoothies form part of a balanced diet or are they loaded with sugar and too much energy?
So a few weeks back hubby bought me a large coffee date smoothie from Kauai. I am not a big fan of smoothies as I am more of a visual eater and if I drink my meals I don’t feel full as I feel like I still need ‘real food’ which happened in this case.
I thought I would check out the nutritional information online for this smoothie, as I passionate about reading food labels and understanding foods but I had never checked this particular smoothie. Its a coffee based drink surely it cant be that high in energy.
So I did the maths and and the amount of sugar (bear in mind this is natural sugar as it is from fruit and dairy) in the 500ml option (I usually get 350ml) is equivalent to the amount of sugar in four bananas. The calorie density in this 500ml smoothie would be the same as if I ate 5.5 slices of bread.
Obviously these comparisons are just for graphic representation as the carbohydrate, protein and fat breakdown will be very different in 5.5 slices of bread. It is just to make you aware that because a smoothie is in liquid form doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain the same amount of calories a a full meal.
Whilst I am definitely not saying smoothies are bad, I do feel like people don’t use them correctly in their diet. Smoothies are great as a quick on the run meal and if the right ingredient combinations are used they are a great balanced meal option. They could be a healthier option as opposed to other eating out options.
The point I am trying to make is that smoothies can sometimes contain way more calories and fruit than we think. Whilst fruit is not bad, too much natural sugar in one go can cause blood glucose disturbances. Would you eat four bananas at once?
Many of us might consider a smoothie suitable as a snack option or include something else with our smoothie for lunch and that’s where I often find the problem lies.
Ways to include smoothies in your diet 1.Try order the smaller option of a smoothie when you can. Some smoothies you buy can have three to four portions of fruit in them. 2. Kauai are amazing at having their nutritional information and product information online which is very helpful for consumers. Go check out how your favourite smoothie rates and take that into consideration when planning your daily intake 3. Be aware of what else you are eating at the same time as the smoothie as you may be going way over what is a reasonable amount of food at that meal. 4. Try order a smoothie with the right balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat. For example the one I ordered had coffee, dairy and fruit. Something with some fruit, dairy and healthy fats like nuts might be a better option to provide a more balanced meal. Remember good fats play an important part in our diets. 5. Similarly to point 4, don’t have a smoothie that only contains fruit but include options like yoghurt or milk and nuts and seeds to help provide a more balanced smoothie 5. Try avoid smoothies where they have use fruit juice instead of whole fruit 6. Swop out some of the fruits for vegetables to try reduce the amount of fructose (natural fruit sugar) in the smoothie. Green leafy vegetables are nutrient rich foods which are great in include in your smoothies.