by Veronica Verhoff, Onsite Nutritionist at BCBSNC
This time of year, smoothies become a go-to drink, both for their nutrient value and for their great taste. However, you may not be getting the most out of your smoothies. High sugar levels in many fruit smoothies lead to increased insulin (fat storage hormone) and reduced growth hormone (muscle building and fat burning hormone produced during exercise). Here are five easy ways you can make your smoothies healthier:
- Start with low-glycemic fruits. Include about 1 cup of these types of fruits – such as berries, pears and peaches – per serving.
- Don’t be afraid of healthy fats. Adding ½ an avocado makes the smoothie creamy and can replace a banana. Add nut butter, coconut oil or flax oil for even more healthy fats. Include 2 tablespoons per serving.
- Make sure your liquid is unsweetened. Unsweetened almond, rice or coconut milk are all great choices, while juices add too much extra sugar. Water is always a great option too!
- Don’t forget to add protein. Add at least 15g per serving – undenatured whey protein and brown rice protein are good sources.
- Add extra fiber. Ground flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds are all great sources of fiber, as well as additional healthy fat. Include 2 tablespoons per serving.
Don’t forget that if you drink a smoothie in place of meals, it should contain 500-600 calories. Not all of those calories should be sugar calories. Fats and proteins increase calorie levels but can actually help with weight loss. Also be wary of commercial smoothies – they may contain more sugar than you might think!
Need a smoothie recipe to start? Don’t forget to check out the recipe from The Produce Box over here.
Veronica is our onsite nutritionist who helps people address many health concerns, such as allergies, high cholesterol, diabetes and weight management. Her passion for nutrition led her to teach biochemistry, or how food works in the body, at the graduate level. She takes time to explain how different foods play a role in your ability to lose weight and prevent disease. She has worked alongside many physicians and with people of all sizes and walks of life. She is committed to helping people achieve their goals.
MPH, RD, LDN – Registered Dietitian