How to avoid a smoothie calorie blowout
We all know that store and café bought smoothies can be packed full of hidden calories, but truth be told, home-made smoothies can be just as bad for our waistlines. Just because it’s called a smoothie doesn’t necessarily make it a great choice if weight loss and weight management are the end goal. And for those looking for added nutritional value, all those benefits that come with eating more greens and delicious fruits could be undone with a calorie blow out.
Done right, smoothies can really help take your healthy eating up a notch by providing a fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals rich meal. The added value is that smoothies are quick to prepare and easy on the stomach, especially when chosen as a breakfast alternative. However, when not approached with the portion control and care, smoothies can easily lead to unintentional weight gain. An extra scoop of your favourite nut butter here and an extra dose of coconut oil there, and your smoothie could have the same calorie count as a big breakfast (bacon included).
Whether blending a smoothie or smoothie bowl, here are a few common mistakes to avoid according to nutritionist Malissa Fedele.
Focus on balanced ingredients…
Don’t go overboard with adding in a variety of different ingredients instead focus on creating balance. By balanced I mean using various food groups to create a complete meal which will help you feel fuller for longer. For example, break it down into sources of protein, fruit and vegetables, and a healthy fat. This may mean a scoop of protein powder, a serving of your favourite fruits and vegetables, a source of healthy fat such as a scoop of almond butter and a low calorie liquid such as water or coconut water.
What this doesn’t mean is combining avocado with coconut oil and your favourite nut butter witch a side of greens.
Calories in Almond Butter
Almond butter is a calorie packed food that is high in both good fats and protein. It can be substituted for peanut butter to lower calories if weight loss or a low-fat diet is a goal. The primary ingredient in almond butter, almonds, are very healthy when eaten raw or when cooked carefully without the use of added oils.
A 2 tablespoon serving of almond butter contains about 190 calories. It also contains about 7 grams of protein and 16 grams of fat, including 8 grams of monounsaturated fat and 5 grams of polyunsaturated fat. Almond butter is a good source of vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and calcium. It also supplies some fiber, at 2 grams per serving.
Compared to peanut butter, almond butter has slightly more calories and fat but also more protein and fiber. Peanut butter contains about 160 calories and 10 grams of fat in a 2 tablespoon serving. It has about 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
Watch your portion size…
Just because it’s a ‘drink’ it doesn’t mean that you can have an endless amount. A smoothie can have just as many (or sometimes more) calories than your favourite meal. Keep your smoothie portion size to around 250-300mL (just over 1 cup).
Avoid excessive sugar…
When you’re adding fruits to your smoothie keep in in mind that you will be getting the sweetness from those whole-some ingredients. So, there is no need to add in extra sweeteners such as honey or sugar. The added bonus of the HAPPY WAY range is that all our protein powders are already slightly sweetened with stevia so just by adding in a scoop of protein powder your smoothie will be sweet enough.
Watch your timing…
When you have your smoothie can also determine how your body breaks it down and uses it. After a workout your body requires a higher level of protein to assist in muscle repair and development. So by consuming your protein smoothie post workout (generally 10-30mins post) will ensure your body is using the nutrients rather than storing it in your body.
Look at the broader picture…
Just like everything in life, too much of a good thing is not good for you after all. Incorporate your smoothie into a balanced meal plan for the day. You can try having a nutrient rich smoothie as a breakfast alternative (protein is much more filling than pure carbohydrate so you should find it can help you curb cravings and keep you fuller for longer, leading to less calorie intake over the day). Alternatively, if you are looking for a 3.00pm snack, mix up your protein powder with coconut water and keep it simple.