Smoothies are delicious but don’t be fooled, they can have up to 500 calories in one serving, sans the toppings. Not to mention our new infatuation with eating our smoothies with a spoon as opposed to sipping them with a straw can double the portion. So how do you keep your smoothie bowl clean and nutritious? We suggest using whole foods, prepare balanced portions and supplement your veggie intake by adding your greens, plus protein, to this slurp-able sensation.
You may have heard “the cleaner your food the better” but what does ‘clean eating’ actually mean? The fundamentals of eating clean encourage individuals to consume whole foods, including whole fruits, vegetables, grains and lean proteins - in a nutshell, skip the additives and processed ‘food-products’ and eat what grows naturally. When it comes to your smoothies ditch the fruit purees and juices. Not only are they laden with sugar but they rarely include the original nutritional components of the fruit they’re derived from. Stick to real, fresh fruit and try using nut milks or water to blend your smoothie to perfection.
Another pro tip, reduce the toppings. One cup of your average store bought granola can have upwards of 340 calories while semi-sweet chocolate chips come in at 80 calories per tablespoon. If there’s no protein or fat to balance out the sugar, even natural sugars, your daily smoothie may hit your bloodstream all at once which will make you feel hungry again sooner. In addition, many smoothie bowls pack on far more servings of fruit than you’d typically eat if you sat down with the whole piece. “The U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggest between 1 1/2 and 2 cups of fruit for most adults with light to moderate activity levels. For context, one banana, a small apple, 1/2 cup of dried fruit or one cup of whole fruit juice each counts as a single serving.” Instead of ditching these decorative toppings altogether go for sugar-free options like cacao nibs, coconut flakes, homemade granola or hemp and chia seeds verses dried fruit, honey and chocolate chips. Remember to keep your portions in check to cut your sugar intact.
The components of a healthy diet differ for everyone depending on their body type, activity level and other factors. However a well-balanced meal includes fats, carbs, sugars and proteins for a slow release and stable break down in the body that keeps you satiated. When it comes to your smoothies consider drinking your vegetables and adding your favorite protein powder to the mix. Everything from kale and spinach, to beets and riced cauliflower can help add vital fiber and nutrients to your smoothie. The Huffpost nutritionists suggest “a 2-to-1 ratio of vegetables to fruits [as] a good goal.”
Now that you know what makes a ‘clean’ smoothie it’s time to make your own! Check out the easy, at-home green smoothie bowl recipe below chock full of all the pro tips we mentioned and packing big flavor. Eat up!
Simply add frozen mango, kale, avocado and apple to a blender and blend on low until thick and creamy. While blending slowly add the almond milk (a little at a time) and protein powder.
Blend some more on low, scraping down the sides until you have a soft serve consistency. For a thicker version reduce or eliminate the almond milk.
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