How To Not Blow It On Breakfast: Tips For Making The Most Of Your Morning Blend
I love smoothies. LOVE them. But it’s way too easy to order what is essentially a chocolate milkshake under the guise of an “energy booster” or get carried away when throwing ingredients into the blender. Too much sugar and fat can turn your healthy breakfast into a calorie bomb, and keep those abs you work so hard for hidden beneath a layer of Acai Berry Blast.
That said, a well-balanced smoothie is a great addition to your daily routine and can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Here are few tips for at home and the juice bar:
#1 WATCH OUT FOR SUGAR
Yes, fruit is good for you, but it is also full of sugar, which is not only loaded with calories, but also spikes your blood sugar levels and will have you reaching for sweets all day. Try these tips:
Swap your banana for avocado. Avocado will give your smoothie the same consistency as a banana, but without all the sugar. Bonus for the healthy fats!
Opt for berries instead of other fruits. Berries are very low in sugar and high in antioxidants, especially blueberries and raspberries, making them a great option for a morning boost!
Avoid putting fruit juice in your smoothies. Part of the reason for adding fruit is for fiber, which juices don’t have. Just stick with actual fruit, nut milk or plain old water.
#2 GET THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF FAT
You only need a 10-20g of fat per meal. Fat is great to keep you full and boost your metabolism, but too much is just extra calories. If you’re the type of person that’s putting avocado, peanut butter and coconut oil in your morning mix, stop and just choose one. Here’s what 10-20g of fat looks like:
½ medium sized avocado = 14g fat
1 tablespoon coconut oil = 14g fat
2 tablespoons chia seeds = 10g fat
2 tablespoons nut butter = 16-18g fat
#3 KEEP IT BETWEEN 300-400 CALORIES
I don’t believe in counting calories, but it is a good guide to see if you’re having too much or not enough. It’s far too easy for your smoothie to reach upwards of 600 calories, which is simply too much. A few tips for keeping your cals in check:
Follow tip #1 & #2: keep your sugar and fats in line.
Swap dairy or nut milk for water, or try ½ milk / ½ water.
Be mindful of portion size. An 8-10oz glass should be enough.
#4 DON’T FORGET FIBER AND GREENS
Smoothies are a great vehicle for nutrients! Make sure to get a healthy serving of greens and fiber in each blend. The fiber will keep you full and promotes a healthy gut. A few options:
Add a handful of spinach or kale for nutrients and fiber.
For extra fiber, try a tablespoon of flax or chia seeds. My #1 fruit choice would be raspberries, which boast a low sugar count and 8 grams of fiber per cup
Opt for supplements. The real deal is always preferred but greens in powdered form and soluble fiber will also do the trick. They also can taste great, especially chocolate greens powder. If you don't like the idea of veggies in your smoothie, this is a good alternative.
RECIPE / MATCHA PROTEIN SMOOTHIE
Appx 320 calories, 21 grams of protein and 17 grams of fat per serving.*
1 heaping tablespoon of matcha powder
2 scoops of your favorite protein powder (I like Vega Vanilla)
1 tablespoon shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 cup filtered water
1 cup almond milk
Blend all into a smoothie and enjoy!
* nutrition information depends on ingredients used.