Are smoothies for breakfast a healthy choice? /// 12/02/18
Before you blend (and snap) your breakfast, this is how to make sure it is a well-balanced and satiating option.
As we move into summer our Instagram feeds become (even more) scattered with beautiful pictures of brightly-coloured smoothies and artfully composed breakfast bowls. But are they as healthy as they claim to be?
This is what you need to watch out for when making your morning smoothie – and how to make sure it ticks all the boxes – not just the visual ones.
1. There’s not enough to keep you satisfied
As you whip up your morning green smoothie, which most likely consists of one piece of fruit and a whole bunch of luscious veggies, you mightn’t realise that you could be selling yourself a bit short. And, while you’re making a healthy choice, your smoothie might not be as balanced as it could be. In most cases, veggie-based smoothies can end up being too low in calories and protein. Bulk out your healthy green veg smoothie with some protein – like yoghurt, whey protein or a vegan pea or rice protein – and healthy fats like avocado.
2. Breakfast or dessert?
On the other side of the spectrum, some smoothies can be so calorie and sugar-laden we might as well be having dessert for breakfast. Be careful of lots of extra protein powders (especially those containing sweeteners and fillers), large quantities of fruit, additional ice-cream or cream and big portion sizes.
3. Be mindful of the fruit
Having a healthy, hearty serve of fruit in your smoothie, like banana or acai, is one thing. Having a fruit only smoothie is another. When you blend your food, you make it easier to digest, which can be good for some, but when we are dealing with high levels of sugar, it also leads to faster, easier absorption. This means less benefits to gut health, and a bigger spike to your blood sugar levels. I like to recommend one serve of fruit only in your smoothie, which will help minimise this. This also leaves you with another piece to have later on in the day, which will help you meet the recommended two serves of fruit per day.
How to make it healthier
- Include low GI carbohydrates like banana.
- Ensure you have a good quality protein, usually a yoghurt, dairy milk or protein powder – especially for vegans.
- Avoid large quantities of additional sugars in the form of unnatural sugar-laden protein powders or large quantities of fruit.
- Throw in some healthy fats to help keep you full and satisfied.
Here’s one of my favourites, the banana and peanut butter smoothie:
Prep time: 5 minutes
1/2 large frozen banana
1 cup milk (of your choice)
1 tbsp plain Chobani Yoghurt
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp Pic’s Peanut Butter (both Crunchy and Smooth work!)
1 tbsp LSA
1. Place all ingredients in blender and pulse on high until well combined and smooth.
2. Serve in a tall glass and enjoy.