There has never been more choice when it comes to picking a beverage, and while the popularity of many come and go, the smoothie seems to be here to stay. As we head into summer looking for a refreshing drink to help keep us hydrated, or something we can quickly make or buy and head to the beach, there are a few smoothie-choosing tips to keep in mind.
As always, your best option is to make your smoothie at home. This allows you to control exactly what goes in to it. When that’s not possible, look for commercial smoothies made from fresh, frozen or canned fruit and fresh or frozen veggies (like spinach). Fruit juice is a sugary drink, so avoid options that use juice as an ingredient. Instead, choose smoothies blended with yogurt, milk, or fortified soy beverage. They can be a good source of calcium and protein, depending on the quantity used. Beyond those ingredients, it is helpful to be wary of what else might make up commercial smoothies, such as honey, syrups, cream, and ice cream, as these contain sugars and saturated fat we want to limit or avoid.
To see how your smoothie of choice stacks up, ask your provider for the ingredient list and/or nutrition information. If these aren’t available in store, they may be on the company’s website. Without checking, it is difficult to tell what you’re getting, and the calories can add up fast. Most smoothies range from about 200 to 400 calories but can be as high as 500 to 700 calories, depending on the ingredients and the serving size. While calorie needs vary by age, sex, and activity level, most healthy adults should aim for between 2000 to 2400 calories a day. A 500 calorie smoothie would be 20-25% of total needs.
While water remains the drink of choice for maintaining hydration, most people can comfortably fit a small smoothie into a healthy eating plan if it’s replacing another snack or meal item. The most important thing to remember is that not all smoothies are created equal.
How do you size up a smoothie?