Smoothies That Actually Benefit You: Part 1

Mike Coval
February 15, 2021

Last week I did a quick video that highlighted how many of these smoothie cafes will create the perception that their smoothies are "healthy" when in reality they're nothing more than sugar-laden goop (you can check the video out by clicking here).* That video picked up some decent traction and then I made a post saying that if that post got 100 "likes" then I would do a write up on how to make healthier smoothie choices!

*For the record, I'm not demonizing sugar. The point of this point isn't to tell you to stay away from sugar. Yes, you should limit your intake, but the point of making that statement is to let you know how misleading the perception of what healthy is at these establishments and to help you make more informed choices.

It only received 41 "likes" 🙂

However, I saw the names and faces of those who "liked" it. Some of them were the common supporters, and then there were others who I know or recognize. There were just too many people on that list that I like, admire, and/or respect in some kind of way so there was no way I could dismiss the post even though it didn't meet the my initial requirements to make the post.

So here we are 🙂

Part 1 (today): The problem with most smoothies

Part 2 (Wednesday): How to order a smoothie that is beneficial to your short and long-term goals

Part 3(Friday): How to make a smoothie at-home that is beneficial to your short and long-term goals

The Problem with Most Smoothies

You're hungry. You want to stay on track with your nutrition so that you keep making progress with your weight loss goals, but you don't have much time and have to be back home for a Zoom meeting in 25 minutes.

You see a Smoothie King up the road. PERFECT! Healthy option to the rescue!.....ehhhhh, not so fast.

Despite all of the great marketing that is done by smoothie cafes such as these (Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Jamba Juice, Orange Julius, etc.) to promote their products as healthy choices, the majority of what is on their menu is far from it.

For example, if you go check out TSC's nutrition facts online, you will see that 9 of their smoothies on the menu have over 100 grams of sugar. That's not a typo.

Now, places like this didn't really become mainstream until the 2010's. So how did smoothies like this all of this sudden become deemed "healthy"? Based on interactions with clients and people I talk to about their health & fitness, the idea that if I take 2-3 pieces of fruit, some yogurt, and blend that up with water, almond milk, or dairy milk somehow got shared as the way to build a smoothie and that it was healthy. I don't know how that message got started, but it did. The reality is although it may have some nutritents in there from the fruit, a smoothie built like that is void of any real nutrition that will help you reach your goals...whether it be long-term weight loss, maintaining your weight, or putting on muscle mass. It's nothing more than a sugary snack that will leave you hungry for more.

Ideally, a smoothie shouldn't be a snack. It should be the occasional meal-replacement that has the following ingredients:

-healthy fat source (all-natural nut butter, avocado, raw nuts)

-1-1.5 servings of frozen fruit

-1-2 servings of frozen veggies

-liquid solution that is in-line with my goals (i.e. if I'm trying to lose weight a lower calorie solution such as unsweetened almond milk would be a better choice for me than dairy milk)

-1-2 servings of protein (whey or plant based)

-any add-ons that compliment your goals (i.e. multi-vitamin, creatine, chia seeds, etc)

In part 2 on Wednesday, I will cover how you can take control if you find yourself getting a smoothie while on-the-go so that you don't have to the victim of another 100+gram sugar blasted smoothie.

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Mike Coval

Coval Fitness is a Personal Training Studio and Gym in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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