|Is Your Smoothie Bowl Making You Gain Weight?
Smoothie bowls can be a good source of fiber, protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates to start your day or help you refuel after a workout.Compared to juicing, smoothie bowls retain the fiber from fruit and veggies, which helps you feel fuller, longer; adding protein and fat has the same effect. All three components can help stave off hunger and cravings later in the day.But they can quickly turn into high-calorie sugar bombs if you’re not careful. Before you get blending, let’s break down what not to do when you make your next smoothie bowl.
Smoothie Bowl Mistakes to AvoidMistake #1: Adding Too Much Fruit
On the whole, fruit is good for you. But when it comes to smoothies, people can end up eating far more fruit than they would ever eat in one sitting. That means a more sizeable hit of carbohydrates, which can affect your blood sugar levels.
“Consuming too much of any food, fruit included, can lead to an excess in overall calorie intake and promote weight gain,” she adds. “Once they are blended down, the fruit appears to be a smaller portion, but you are still consuming the full serving,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, R.D., CDE.
Mistake #2: Ignoring portion sizes
Fruit, yogurt, greens, and other ingredients may reach the fill line when you toss them in the blender, but once you blend them, they may only reach halfway. So, why not throw in even more fruit and yogurt and other stuff, right?
Consider this: If you make a smoothie bowl with a medium-sized banana, one cup of strawberries, one cup of blueberries, 1.7 ounces of oats and 200ml of 2-percent milk, you’ll be eating around 460 calories, along with 1.4 ounces of sugar.
Add half an avocado, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a handful of chia seeds, and your smoothie now contains close to 900 calories. That could be almost half of your recommended intake of calories for the day, depending on your age and gender. A few seemingly small additions can make a big difference to the overall makeup of your smoothie bowl.
Mistake #3: Not putting skin in the game
People skip the skin of fruits and vegetables for a variety reasons: they don’t like the taste and/or texture or they’re worried about consuming pesticides. But when you can, keep the skin — it can be a source of even more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants making your smoothie more nutrient dense.
Mistake #4: Adding too many high-calorie toppings
Speaking of toppings… the typical smoothie bowl is topped off with even more fruit, nut butters, nuts, seeds, grains, and dried fruit, etc. — all of which can add up to be more caloric than the smoothie part of the bowl! While toppings can add more nutrients, it’s important to not go overboard.
How to Keep Your Smoothie Bowl in Check
To create a filling, satisfying smoothie bowl that won’t get in the way of losing weight, it’s important it contains protein, healthy fats, and carbs in the right balance. Here are some tips to keep your next smoothie bowl in check:
1. Add lots of veggies
“If a smoothie has too many high-calorie ingredients — even if they are healthy — you can end up consuming too many calories in one sitting,” says Alissa Rumsey M.S., RD.
Bulk up your smoothie bowl with spinach, kale, cucumbers, carrots, celery, or beets for added nutrition without tons of calories. “The more colorful fruit and veggies that you can pack in the better,” Tori Wesszer, RD, adds.
2. Add protein and fat
“Many people end up adding way too much fruit to their smoothies and not enough protein or fat,” Rumsey says.
When it comes to protein, plain Greek yogurt (2%), cottage cheese, silken tofu, or Shakeology are great sources.
For fat: “Add in a tablespoon of chia or hemp seeds for omega-3 fats and a tablespoon or two of nut butter or raw nuts,” she adds. Top your smoothie bowl with nuts, hemp seeds, or pumpkin seeds for added healthy fats and protein.
3. Limit added sweeteners
If you add dried fruit, such as dates, stick to a max of two tablespoons and cut back slightly on the fresh fruit, Rumsey suggests. For yogurt or nut milks, go for the unsweetened versions.
Smoothie packs from the store can contain tons of added sugars in the form of corn syrup, granulated sugar, honey, sweetened fruit, and sweetened yogurt. By making your bowl at home with whole ingredients, you get to control what goes in it.
4. Balance higher-calorie toppings with lower-calorie toppings
“I love topping my smoothie bowls with unsweetened coconut flakes (one to two tablespoons) and a raw cacao nibs,” Rumsey says.
While some toppings, such as nuts, are higher in calories, Wesszer encourages people to add them in small amounts since they can still play a role in losing weight.