Smoothies are here to stay

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We chat smoothies with Sports Dietitian, Peta Carige, from Functional Food Solutions for some expert advice.  

Check out the amazing services Functional Food Solutions offer at www.petacarige.com.au.
 

Why are smoothies here to stay?

It started with juices, which saw the rise of Boost Juice in every shopping centre in Australia. Then with the introduction of Nutribullets and high-speed blenders being easily accessible for every household, instagram is now full of food bloggers posting their favourite multi-coloured smoothie. So are they healthy for you? When should they be consumed and can smoothies help you lose weight? Or are we going to turn on them like we did juices with all of their hidden sugar?

 

Are they healthy for you?

In short – yes, they are. Everything that people are putting in smoothies is usually healthy (besides the peanut butter) and the benefit of these high powered blenders is that you can put fruit and vegetables in whole, therefore you are benefiting from the nutrient dense skin which is where most of the vitamins and minerals live. Plus, you are getting extra fibre in your diet, which as a nation we are all low in.  The big ‘but’ is just because they are healthy for you, doesn’t mean everyone can fit them into their energy budget on a daily basis.

 

When should they be consumed?

So depending what you put in your smoothie, they will most likely, be high enough in overall energy, fibre and protein to be consumed as a meal. As a liquid meal replacement for the time poor person looking for a portable breakfast or lunch they are great.

If you are consuming smoothies as a snack, then you need to pay particular attention to what type of foods are in it. Remember that the average person is only meant to consume two pieces of fruit per day, so if a smoothie contains a banana, orange, kiwi fruit and carrot – then you are consuming way more energy than if you just grabbed your apple for morning tea. The other hidden kilojoules that they slip in there include avocado (healthy for you, but very energy dense), honey and peanut butter (if only it didn’t make everything taste so dam good). So if a liquid snack in the hot summer is what you are after, there are two rules you should keep in mind.

  1. Choose smoothies with lots of vegetables and only one piece of fruit.
  2. Stay away from the dairy smoothies if it is a snack option.

 

Can they help you lose weight?

Yes, if you struggle to consume breakfast but you can fit in a smoothie in the car. If you are replacing a meal with a smoothie, because it is all you feel like on a 40 degree day, then it is a great choice and will prevent you over eating later in the day in both instances. They are also a great choice for active athletes or teenagers as afternoon tea before they race off to training. 

If you want to make sure the smoothie remains a positive part of your routine this summer then there are a few tips to ensure you are maximizing the benefits of this healthy trend:

  1. Always include a protein source.
    This can come in many different forms, the easiest of which is dairy when you are making a filling smoothie for a meal; yogurt and low fat milk. Other great ways to include protein in your smoothies include nuts (even the veggie smoothies) and almond meal
  2. Up the fibre.
    As previously mentioned, the skin is the best bit – so leave the skin on everything. Other great ways to add fibre and sustained energy is raw oats, bran or LSA.
  3. Eat more veggies.
    Add vegetables wherever you can, as they add flavor, fibre and nutritional benefit for very little energy; celery, cucumber, spinach, kale, carrot are the popular ones, but don’t forget about tomatoes and beetroot for extra antioxidants.
  4. Use spices and fruit to add flavor.
    Use cinnamon, turmeric, mint, basil, chili, lemon and your favourite fruits (whole of course) to add flavor rather than honey and high fat spreads.
  5. Have fun.
    Lastly have fun finding your favourite flavor combinations because the smoothie is here to stay.
 
Hayley Rogerson