A lot of smoothie shops claim to be healthy, but if unfamiliar with how to order, you could find yourself sipping as many calories as a cheeseburger! Homemade smoothies are great because you can control exactly what goes into them. Life gets in the way, however, and our time is precious, so when we are out and about we often buy a smoothie that isn't homemade. Since not all smoothies are created equal, here are some tips to ordering a healthy smoothie from any chain or local smoothie shop.
Start with the Real Stuff
Many stores use fruit syrups instead of real fruit. The added sugar in the syrup is unbelievable, and doesn't contain the amount of nutrients as whole, natural fruits. Runners need natural sugars, and it's best to avoid processed sugar. To decrease your processed sugar intake, stick to the real stuff--fresh or frozen fruit.
Skip the Sherbet or Fro-Yo
Some smoothies contain as much as three scoops of sherbet or frozen yogurt! High amounts of fat in sherbet and ice cream may slow down your post-workout recovery and lead to weight gain. These smoothies are indulgent and can be an excellent way to replace calories after a 20+ mile run, but other than that, they are probably too calorically dense. A creamy smoothie is delicious, but there are healthier ways to make your smoothie creamy without the ice cream. For added benefits like protein, calcium, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals essential for recovery use instead Greek yogurt (extra protein!), nonfat milk, almond milk, bananas, or even avocados!
Get Your Greens
"Green smoothies" are trending, so you'll almost always find options on the menu to add greens into your smoothie. Add spinach, kale, or wheat grass to your real fruit, non-sherbet, healthified smoothie for extra vitamins! With the high amounts of iron contained in leafy greens such as spinach, your blood and muscles will thank you on your next run! The vitamins and antioxidants are essential for recovery and preventing sore muscles.
Servings of Fruits or Veggies
Smoothies are an excellent way to get at least 2-3 servings of fruits and even veggies. Bananas are more often than not in a smoothie as well as berries or other fruits like mango, peach, papaya, pineapple, or veggies like carrot (juice), spinach, kales, beets, and more. You can knock off half your "five a day" goal in one smoothie!
Do you have a favorite smoothie shop you frequent? What are your go-to fruits and veggies to toss in your smoothie after a run? Tweet or facebook me your faves!
Comments or questions? Tweet me @DietDivaTara.
Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.