Did you know that your smoothie probably has more calories than a meal?
That caught your attention didn’t it? What started as a juice craze a few years back has now turned to smoothies, with smoothie bars popping up all over the place. And how could a smoothie not be a good choice nutritionally – coconut water, almond milk, cacao powder, fruit, LSA, CHIA, Greek yoghurt – surely this is a nutritional mix that is impossible to beat?
When it comes to smoothies or any of the drinks we choose for that matter is that the body does not compensate well for liquid calories. This means that even though we may drink 300-400 calories of healthy juice or smoothie, chances are we will not eat a whole lot less even though we have drunk this much and this is why we have to be very careful of the ingredients we mix into any drink, shake, smoothie or juice.
Yes, CHIA, LSA, avocado, milk, yoghurt, fruit, vegetables and some oils are all very healthy for us, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. In fact, if you consider that a serve of each of these ingredients will have a minimum of 50 calories, you can see how it can all very easily add up. In the case of a banana chia smoothie that contains yoghurt, milk, honey, banana, and CHIA these are the calories you are looking at for a typical 500ml smoothie:
Banana CHIA smoothie: Calories / Carbs (g)
1 banana: Calories: 100 / Carbs: 22g
100ml Greek yoghurt: Calories: 130 / Carbs: 7g
1 tbsp. honey: Calories: 85 / Carbs: 20g
1 tbsp. CHIA: Calories: 65 / Carbs: 0g
300ml almond milk: Calories: 100 / Carbs: 8g
TOTAL = Calories: 480 / Carbs: 57g (or more than a small meal!).
So before you completely ditch your favourite smoothie, the key is to be aware of your serving sizes and the number of ingredients you include. As a rule of thumb, 3 ingredients is a good reference guide and try to limit high calorie additions such as seeds, fats and nuts to 1 at most. Berries are a slightly lower calorie fruit and coconut water, honey and syrups add more concentrated sugars. Most importantly, watch your serving size – a 300ml smoothie will have similar calories to a snack whereas large sizes will be equal to an entire meal.