Updated: Apr 29, 2020
Whether you call it a shake or a smoothie, one thing is for sure:
IT CAN GO WRONG SO QUICKLY!
What do I mean by that? Honestly, fruit shakes/smoothies are my TOP nutrition no-no beverage.
BUT HOW CAN THAT BEEEEEE?
The truth is that a LOT of restaurant/cafe-made smoothies are nothing but glorified milkshakes packed with sugar. Take a 16 oz "Mango-a-go-go" smoothie from Jamba Juice- their website conveniently neglects to state how much sugar goes in, but the carbohydrate count is a whopping 73 grams with 300 total calories.
Another example of sugar/calorie overload are Naked brand smoothies. Their strawberry banana smoothie is 250 calories, with 44 grams of sugars. The label brags that each bottle contains 22 strawberries, 1 3/4 apples, 1 1/3 bananas, and a "hint of orange" (what does that even mean?).
Here's where the trouble lies: would a regular person routinely EAT that quantity of fruit in one setting? Nope. But to drink it down? Now that can be done easily! Even though we are talking fruit sugars, too much of a good thing is still too much.
Here is my holy grail rule of thumb when it comes to fruit smoothies:
Never drink more fruit than you would normally eat in a setting.
I'm not all party pooper though- I do enjoy a good fruit smoothie! They're tasty, and a good way to get in a serving or two of fruits, plus you can easily sneak in some greens too for a serving of veggies. Here's my go-to smoothie recipe that follows my holy grail rule. It's delicious and gives you 2 servings of fruits, 1 serving of veggies, and a bit of protein to boot, all without going overboard with calories. Bonus? My kids LOVE this smoothie!
Citrus Berry Smoothie
1 cup frozen berries (I tend to use half strawberries, half blueberries)
1 clementine orange, peeled
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 cup loosely packed washed baby spinach
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Depending on your desired consistency, add another splash of milk to thin it out. Serve immediately.
Makes two ~8 oz smoothies. Per smoothie: 98 calories, 17 grams carbohydrates (including 2 1/2 grams fiber), 0 grams fat, 8 grams protein, and 75 mg sodium