Smoothies: Good or bad for you?

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Whether it’s for breakfast, pre-workout, post-workout or as an afternoon snack, smoothies are deemed a healthy meal option. They’re often loaded with fruits, veggies and nutritional supplements, but are our smoothies actually good for us?

 

The home doctor experts at House Call Doctor have composed the pros and cons of smoothies.

 

Smoothie pros

  1. Possibly one of the biggest positives of smoothies is they are convenient. Whether you buy one or make one yourself, they are a simple and easy meal option that you can drink on-the-go.
  2. Smoothies are an easy and great way to pack plenty of fruits and vegetables into your diet. You can even mask the flavour of the fruit and veggies you don’t like in a smoothie, while still getting the nutritional benefits.
  3. Smoothies are a great way to add nutritional supplements to fill any gaps in your diet. Products such as protein powder, greens powders, maca powder, spirulina and other superfoods that you normally wouldn’t consume can easily be added as part of the drink.
  4. You can put anything in a smoothie, and you can tailor it to your taste buds. Be creative by trying different milks, or adding yoghurt, or even cacao powder for the chocolate lovers.

Smoothie cons

  1. Pre-made smoothies are often full of sugar and low in fibre. It is important to check the nutritional values before purchasing commercial smoothies.
  2. Smoothies are as healthy as what ingredients you put in them. They can easily become unhealthy if you add too many sugary ingredients and not enough nutritious foods.
  3. Smoothies won’t satisfy you for as long as whole foods do. Chewing actually makes us feel full and satisfied, so smoothies won’t fill us up completely.
  4. Portion control can be challenging with smoothies. Some smoothies contain a lot more calories than others and it can be tempting to overindulge.

 

How to make a healthy smoothie

Try incorporating most of these components in a single serving:

  • A liquid such as milk, fruit juice, or water (1/4-1/2 cup)
  • A source of protein such as yoghurt, nut butter or protein powder (1-2 tablespoons)
  • A source of healthy fat such as avocado, chia seeds or hemp seeds (1-2 tablespoons)
  • One serving of fruit such as apple, strawberries or blueberries (1/2-1 cup)
  • Veggies such as spinach or kale
  • Ice cubes
  • If you need added a sweetener, add a little bit of honey.

 

So the answer as to whether smoothies are good or bad for you depends on what you include in them, how much you consume, and if they keep you satiated (they’re not a good option for you if you’re hungry soon after and indulge in unhealthy snacks). Play around with options and see what works for you. Chat to a nutritionist, health professional or head online for some healthy recipes.