Whether or not you should have a smoothie is a definite FAQ from my clients. Should you have a smoothie? Shouldn’t you? Just like almost everything in nutrition, there is no black and white answer. It depends.
There are definite pros and cons to whether or not to include smoothies in your life. Here you go!
Say YES if…
- This is a MEAL REPLACEMENT because you don’t have time to have an actual sit-down meal. If you’re in a rush, and it’s a matter of skipping a meal or having a smoothie, have the smoothie.
- It’s POST-WORKOUT. If you just finished a CrossFit class, spin, run, lifting session, whatever… if you just put your muscles and/or lungs through some serious stuff, go for it! A smoothie made the right way can be the PERFECT post-workout nutrition. How do you make it the right way? Keep reading…!
- You’re trying to GAIN WEIGHT. Smoothies can be the thing that does it for you if you’re trying to gain weight. Go for almond milk (or dairy if you tolerate it) + a bunch of almond butter (or peanut butter if you prefer) + protein powder + a banana and you’ve just up to 400 calories (more if you use more almond butter or whole milk) to your day. Gainz!
Say NO if…
- You’re trying to lose weight and you’re having the smoothie as a snack. You can get away with this as a snack if you make it at home with just protein + 1/2 banana + unsweetened almond milk, but if you get it out, you’re probably going to have more calories than you want.
- The shake doesn’t have protein in it. No matter who you are! Drinking a big thing of carbs is not usually a good idea. Balance your macros!
So if you’re looking to make a good smoothie, here are your ingredients:
I prefer grass-fed whey protein without added crap like Stronger, Faster, Healthier or Biohealth, but if you’re looking for a plant-based protein, try Vega Sport.
- A LIQUID
I like unsweetened almond milk (Califia is my favorite brand), but if you prefer something else, go for it. Some like dairy, but most do better without it. If you want it to be lighter, use water. If you’ve just trained for 2-3 hours, feel free to use a fruit juice.
This is of course optional, but I feel like it’s just a protein shake without it. If you’re looking to keep it lighter, stick to 1/2 – 1 piece of fruit. If you need more carbs for pre- or post-workout, or if it’s definitely a meal replacement, you could add a little more.
If you’re doing it pre- or post-workout, leave the fat out. It slows down digestion, and therefore the absorption of the protein and carbs straight to your muscles (which you want!). If it’s at another time in the day, AND you don’t need to keep your smoothie on the lighter side, add 1 – 2 tbsp of almond butter (my preference), peanut butter, ground flax seeds.