Smoothie drinks, smoothie bowls…they’re all the rage now.
It seems like almost everyone I know is throwing their not-so-healthy, sugary yogurts in the trash in favor of the smoothie trend. Smoothies are a great way to get a huge amount of nutrients with minimum effort. Everything about this seems awesome…right? So why are people worrying that their oh so healthy smoothie might be the culprit behind their weight gain? Is it even possible to gain weight from something so healthy?! The terrible answer is yes, but don’t freak out! I’ll break down why your smoothie or shake might be sabotaging your weight goals and what you can do about it!
So let’s get down to business. My milkshake does bring all the boys to the yard, only it doesn’t have milk or sugar. It does have all the nutrients my body desperately needs and then some, but it’s easy to ruin a good thing if we fall into these traps:
Unfortunately too much of a good thing can be high calorie. ARGH! MUST EVERYTHING HAVE PORTIONS! Yes, grasshopper, it must. This pains my heart as much as yours. My brain literally refuses to process delicate serving size recommendations–I’ve never eaten just a 1/2 cup of ANYTHING, let’s be honest.
But here’s the plain and simple truth: the more fruit you throw in that delicious concoction, the more calories and sugar (albeit healthy sugar) you’re adding. Keep track of how many pieces of fruit you’re adding to the mix. Also, consider the amount of smoothie you’re drinking, and what you use as a liquid.
These are calories that add up quickly. If it’s a true meal replacement, don’t stress over it, but it’s also good to keep track of what exactly you’re eating. Vegans and vegetarians tend to over-do our fruit intake. I could live in an orchard and never complain, because I love fruit so much. If I had a choice between gelato and fruit, I’d pick fruit. Unless the gelato were from Italy, and a hot Italian man were serving it to me, then I wouldn’t want to be rude and decline or anything…I mean, I have my manners to consider, right?
The point of a smoothie is actually not to drink a delicious milkshake like treat for breakfast…ok, ok, that is my goal, but our truest aim should be to get a ton of fiber with minimum effort. If I were to attempt to eat 3 cups of plain baby spinach for breakfast, it would be a chore. I would protest, commit mutany on myself, and throw my bowl across the kitchen. Blended and diguised as a delish breakfast treat, and my tastebuds are none the wiser. The key: GET YOUR FIBER. Add at LEAST one big handful of greens to your smoothie mix. A lack of fiber makes us hang onto our food, which in turns means we don’t eliminate enough waste and toxins. This leads to major weight gain.
Get your fiber, fiber, fiber, all day long…and not the fiber supplements. That’s what leafy greens are for!
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you will especially benefit from throwing a scoop of vegan protein powder into your drinks, or a handful of nuts. Fiber is great and all that, but protein takes longer to digest, and gives our body energy building blocks to play around with later in the day. You won’t feel as hungry or have craving hit you if you have protein in your smoothie. If it’s all fruit and yumminess, you’re basically living on healthy sugars, but sugar nonetheless. Cue plummeting blood sugar levels…whomp whomp….
THE SNEAKY SWEETENER TRAP:
Honey is delicious and actually healthy. Agave has been praised as a healthy sugar sub (it’s not…more on that.) A dash of cane sugar can’t kill you, right (wrong)? If you’re like me, your tastebuds have been overly conditioned to adore and crave sweets, so we add sweeteners to our smoothies. That’s ok to do, but you have to consider what you’re adding.
So here’s the deal: agave actually isn’t great for your blood sugar levels, and it’s not low in calories. Honey is healthy, but also high in calories, so be sparing with it. Stevia is your best bet for low glycemic index and zero calories. A curse be upon you if you dare add fructose corn syrup or other refined sugars to your smoothies. A CURSE, I SAY!
ADDING HIGH CALORIE FOODS:
Nut butters, avocados, coconut oil, coconuts, etc etc etc…yes they’re healthy, but only in moderation. One friend of mine recently expressed frustrating for not losing weight even though she was eating a very clean diet. I asked her what she put in her smoothies, and described it: no greens, tons of fruit, often greek yogurt (NOT a healthy option due to dairy) or a half a cup of peanut butter, some honey, and some other ingredients that I forget because my mind was so staggered by the half a cup of peanut butter. She wasn’t seeing weight loss results like she hoped, but after making a few simple adjustments (like not adding a jar of peanut butter) this gal was rocking her smoothies and losing weight easily.
Drinking a daily green smoothie will drastically aid your weight goals, but most importantly, it will revamp your health! By following the guidelines I’ve listed, you can ensure you get your nutrients without a high caloric intake. So, what’s your favorite way to shake it out? Much love and lots of spice!