Smoothies: To Drink or Not to Drink?
So, what’s the deal with Smoothies?
Some people swear by Smoothies and others say to swear them off! So, which is it? Which is correct?
First of all, let's establish what is a Smoothie. Pretty much any 'shake' where you throw a bunch of fruits, vegetables and liquid into a blender and blend the concoction until it's smooth enough to suck through a straw.
Let's first establish why you’re drinking the Smoothie. Is it to disguise kale, extra veggies, flax seed, or something else that potentially tastes unappealing, yet with fantastic benefits, that you & your family might not otherwise consume?
If so, then drink up!
However, when throwing a bunch of stuff into a blender and chugging the concoction in 4 seconds flat, you must be aware of how many calories you are consuming.
Some Smoothies made at the corner shake-shack can contain anywhere from 500-1350 calories!?! When weight loss is a primary objective, you must be aware of what you are consuming!
Another ‘danger’ when drinking Smoothies is: since it’s pretty easy to chug a great-tasting creation in a few seconds, the stretch-receptors in your stomach don’t even have time to send a signal back to your Medulla Oblongata, indicating your level of fullness. Nutrition should be savored, not chugged, and then on to the next ‘fast food.’
Another thing you run the risk of when making a Smoothie is the fiber content. Some folks add juices to their Smoothies. Even if the juices are homemade, often times the most important part of the juiced fruit/vegetable gets left out - the FIBER!
Additionally, you can get better micro-nutrient content out of some foods by the act of physically chewing certain foods.
Being a parent, I often get asked for my opinion on Smoothie consumption & kids. To refer back to the initial point, if you can disguise amazing super-foods (like Kale) into a blended Smoothie & your kids actually enjoy it, then by all means blend away! (In fact, I’m blending up a super-foods Smoothie right now to have my kids drink, in the car, on their way to a 4-hour gymnastics practice).
However, if your kiddos are really young (1-3 years of age), drinking their foods vs. eating them is a difficult concept to grasp. As a parent, I want to instill in my children a healthy relationship with food at a very young age. I want them to savor each bite they take out of a juicy peach and let the succulent flavors roll down their chin. If they’re sucking a peach smoothie through a straw, they won’t understand that concept.
Another component with young children is that once they start with Smoothies, drinkable yogurts, applesauce pouches, etc. they will crave & want those items consistently. Plus, the additives & junk in some of those on-the-go products are more than questionable (but that’s another topic for another day).
In a nutshell, when selecting a Smoothie, you must be aware of what’s all in your concoction, what your goal is with the Smoothie (weight loss, energy boost, etc.) and what other foods you plan on eating during the rest of your day.
As with anything in life, be intentional with your actions and you will reap the amazing rewards!