You’ve probably noticed that juices and smoothies are quite the rage these days. And while a good green juice or berry smoothie can be a great way to refuel post-workout, it is possible to go overboard in the calorie department, negating all that hard work you just did.
While some ingredients, such as chia seeds (for healthy Omega-3s and fiber) and aloe vera (for gut health) are smart additions, it’s easy to go overboard and make your tasty drink both a calorie and sugar bomb.
1. Set the base: I recommend using unsweetened non-dairy milk, such as almond or coconut, which clock in at a mere 45 calories (or less) per cup. If you have really fresh fruit or are using a flavorful protein or all-in-one nutrition supplement, water works great as well.
2. Choose fruit wisely: Frozen berries offer just as many nutritional benefits as their fresh counterparts but, it can be easy to accidentally buy frozen fruit with added sugar in it. Be sure to read the packaging and look for “no added sugar” posted on front or be savvy and peek at the ingredient list. It should read only fruit! Better yet, avoid the confusion all together and buy extra of your favorite fruits when on sale, use half and freeze the rest!
3. Thick and creamy: For a thick milkshake like consistency try using ingredients such as a small frozen banana or avocado. Avocado not only imparts great texture, it has a mild, versatile flavor and will provide you with an excellent source of healthful fats. Aim for no more than 1/3 of an avocado to avoid taking on a lot of extra calories.
4. Don’t skip the greens: Per cup, greens add loads of micronutrients (important vitamins and minerals), lots of fiber for little calories. For weight management, slowly start to increase amount of greens and decrease the amount of fruit. If you’re looking for a more subtle green flavor choose baby spinach, though other awesome additions are cucumber, parsley, and celery.
5. Increase volume, not calories: To make your smoothie feel large and voluminous without making a triple batch, add more ice. I like to freeze my non-dairy milk in an ice cube tray and blend with that to keep the creamy texture high and calories low.
Slim down your smoothie by avoiding:
- Sugar sweetened fruit juice or concentrate
- Frozen yogurt, sorbet or ice cream.
- Full fat dairy
- Frozen fruits or canned fruits with added sugar
- Multiple servings of high fat ingredients, including nut butters, hemp seeds, coconut oil (stick to recommended 1 – 2 tablespoons per serving)
Boost your smoothie by adding
- Nut butter
- Fresh or frozen berries
- Unsweetened dairy-free milk, like almond or coconut
- Superfoods: Chia, Ground Flax, Hemp
What’s your favorite smoothie combo? Tweet us @foodierunnergrl @classpass with your favorites!
Now that you know how to cool off with a healthy smoothie after working out sign up for ClassPass today.
Post contributed by Kim McDevitt, MPH RD. As a registered dietitian and Regional Educator with Vega, Kim has a passion for teaching the power of nutrient dense, plant-based foods. Specializing in sports nutrition to enhance athletic performance. Kim focuses on realistic and approachable ways to improve your health, by guiding you through educated dietary choices within an active lifestyle. Connect with Kim and Vega on Twitter.