Smoothie consumption has become mainstream, with smoothie-based chains occupying food courts and blenders holding places of pride on our kitchen countertops. There are, however, some good reasons to re-evaluate your ingredients as not all smoothies are necessarily healthy smoothies.
First, unless it is medically advised and monitored, going on a pure liquid-based diet long term is not recommended. The simple act of chewing, which is absent in the case of most smoothies, releases digestive enzymes that assist the body in the absorption of nutrients. Reduce the chewing and you reduce the enzymes, which means your body absorbs fewer nutrients and will eventually be unbalanced. To get the most out of your healthy smoothies you must have
Nutritionists have also stated that our bodies don’t count all calories in the same way. The look, smell and mouth feel of food add up to a satisfaction that is missing when you gulp down a smoothie, resulting in feelings of hunger and, eventually, the desire to take in additional calories.
What You Put in is What You Get Out
What you put into your smoothie will determine what you get out of it. As with most meals, any extended period of liquid nourishment should be balanced. The first and easiest pitfall is to make a smoothie that’s deliciously sweet and fruity. The trouble with that is these smoothies can boost your sugar intake without a lot of nutritional value.
But smoothies are actually the perfect vehicle for adding greens to your diet. For every apple or stone fruit you add to your smoothie, consider some celery, a big handful of spinach or other dark, leafy greens such as kale. Not only will it help balance the sweetness of your drink, it will also add valuable nutrients and antioxidants.
For a more satisfying smoothie, add some proteins like hemp seeds, nut butters or walnuts before blending. You might be tempted to add ice cream to the mix, but consider water, milk or a milk-alternative to reach the consistency you like without adding sugar.
Get the Balance Right!
As mentioned before, a smoothie-only diet is generally not a good nutritional plan. It’s important to balance your use of smoothies as a meal with regular, solid meals. The timing is flexible based on your lifestyle.
If you’re up early to enjoy a 6 a.m. workout, then a post-gym green smoothie is a good idea. A blend of fruit, vegetables and especially protein, like the options suggested above, will help your muscles recover from the exercise and keep you satisfied into mid-morning. This also leaves you open to having regular meals for the rest of the day, which is essential because eating can be an important social experience for many of us.
If you feel like you’re missing out by skipping a group dinner, then chances are you’ll slip into bad habits sooner rather than later. Moderation and balance are key.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also use tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the in the Member Wellness Center under the Managing Your Health tab.