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To Smoothie or not to Smoothie

That is the question...

The UK government guidance on their Eatwell Guide is to have a maximum of 150ml of fruit juice or smoothies per day. This is because of the sugar and calorie content. Most store bought smoothies are really very much drinks of sugar and therefore calories. They have often not retained the pulp so there is less fibre content which reduces the health aspects. Also they are most often stored over a few days rather than fresh which means any vitamin content has been reduced as well. They can also be an issue for teeth as well as again the sugar content is high.

When health and wellness coaching clients ask me about smoothies I suggest that they are mindful of how they use these. What you do not want to create is a sugar crash or drink the ones from regular supermarkets without carefully checking the labels. If you make your own smoothies you can help increase the nutritional balance and values by incorporating fibre, protein and fat and use vegetables as well as fruit. A smoothie can be a great way to get a lot of fruit and vegetables in in one sitting. The UK government suggests a minimum of 5 a day for fruit and vegetables. I personally think that 7 a day like in Canada is a better way to guide optimum health along with eating a wide variety of colours over a week (the eat a rainbow philosophy). You can add some leafy greens like swiss chard or baby kale to the mixture. This can help hide vegetables if you are a fussy eater or have one in your home.

I usually suggest no more than 1/2 a banana for a smoothie as these can be quite high in sugar. The riper the banana the more sugar it contains so use bananas that are more towards the green than brown in appearance. Berries are generally lower sugar and have a lot of fibre plus antioxidant content. You can use frozen ones if you cannot get fresh. For fat and protein then a dash of coconut milk or Greek yoghurt can help increase a feeling of fullness and create a more balanced smoothie. A scoop of hemp or pea powder can also be useful along with a small quantity of a nut or seed butter (remember that nut butters are high in calories whereas whole nuts fill you up for less calories and increased satiation). Collagen powder can also be a useful addition. A quarter to a half an avocado can also add some fat content.

For extra fibre I like to add some cauliflower (yes it does go in a smoothie), some hemp hearts, oats or chia seeds.

I do include smoothie recipes in my books because they are often a great meal for people on the go who otherwise tend to eat erratically and if used appropriately they can be a healthy option.

Disclaimer: please note all content is for informational purposes only and should not be seen as medical, legal or any other related advice. You should always seek the advice of your primary healthcare provider or GP and/or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions or are taking medications before making any changes.

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