We love our smoothies here at ALOHA; they are a quick, convenient, and delicious way to nourish our bodies with whole fruits and vegetables. But not all smoothies are created equally. There are some very popular chains out there—which shall remain nameless—selling sugar-laden smoothies that, nutritionally speaking, more like milkshakes. Here are five tips to keep your smoothie game healthy and strong:
1. Watch your sugar. Stable blood sugar is a cornerstone of health. Too high a spike will cause excess insulin production, which can lead both to weight gain and systemic inflammation. But it’s all easy to lose track of how much sugar we put into our bodies. For example, you may know that the natural sugar in fruit is much healthier than refined and/or added sugar, but you may not know that the amount of sugar in fruit varies widely. Figs, mango, and pineapple are all very high in sugar, while raspberries, green apples, and grapefruit have much lower amounts. Keep this in mind at the grocery store.
2. Add some fat. We’ve said it before: You need to eat fat to burn fat. Fat is an integral component of your body’s ability to make hormones; hormones control hundreds of processes, and chief among them is the metabolic process. Dietary fat is also a key component to satiety. So don’t be afraid to add some fat to your smoothies in the form of coconut oil, avocado, or flax seed.
3. Load up on veggies. We all need more vegetable in our diets, and smoothies are the perfect opportunity to sneak them in. Experiment with different types—spinach, carrots, lettuce, and even kale are all fair game. But don’t overdo it on the kale: Practitioners believe that, like other cruciferous vegetables, its “goitrogenic” properties might interfere with thyroid function in sensitive individuals. Steaming kale slightly before eating it eliminates this potential problem and it also makes it a bit easier to digest. And for an extra boost of essential nutrients, consider adding a packet of ALOHA Daily Good to your next smoothie.
4. Keep the fiber. What’s the main difference between fresh-pressed juice and smoothies? Fiber. In juicing, the fibrous pulp of fruits and vegetables is removed; in smoothies, it’s blended right in. Fiber is paramount to health: It keeps things moving through our digestive tract (thereby aiding in the removal of toxic waste from our bodies) and it keeps our hearts in shape. So while there’s no need to stop juicing, your blender should be getting just as much love.
5. Make it a meal. Let’s face facts: A smoothie can have upwards of 500 calories. If you’re following our suggestions, those calories come from healthy whole foods and provide adequate amounts of fat, carbohydrates, and protein. But calories are still calories, and a whole-food smoothie should count as a meal—not an accompanying beverage or a light snack. To ensure that your smoothie is a balanced meal, and all of your macronutrients are represented, add a serving of ALOHA Protein Powder—the 18 grams of plant-based protein will keep you fuller longer!
Photo credit: iStock