Despite popular nutrition folklore, a calorie is in fact, not a calorie. A calorie is a unit of energy that can be both consumed (through food) and expended (through exercise); certainly, when considering body composition goals, calories do play into the overall equation. More important, however, than the actual number of calories a meal contains is its nutrient-density.
Consider 100 calories: you could easily grab a 100-calorie apple. In addition to enjoying a sweet, crunchy treat, you’ll also benefit from 4 grams of blood sugar stabilizing and digestion-friendly fiber, as well as a healthy dose of the immune-boosting antioxidant querciten. 100 calories of nacho-flavored tortilla chips, on the other hand are not so beneficial (unless orange dust-coated fingertips is your thing).
A simple and delicious way to support your health goals is to be strategic with your smoothie intake. If you are aiming to start your day off nutritionally strong, how about a breakfast smoothie that includes both healthy fat and protein? This combination will get your metabolism revving and ward off snack attacks later in the day.
Smoothies with avocado, nuts, hemp seeds, or chia seeds contain good amounts of plant-based fat and proteins, making them great snack options. It’s also a great time to sneak in some greens! Although it seems like a strange combo, you can’t even taste the spinach in the Funky Monkey Smoothie. If you are someone who typically “doesn’t do breakfast,” smoothies are a great transition to jumpstart your day nutritionally, without having to sit down for a full meal. One fantastic morning smoothie: is a tropically inspired blend including kale, avocado, hempseeds, pineapple, and lime juice.
If you are hoping to sail through the dreaded afternoon slump and perhaps satisfy a sweet tooth, smoothies boasting low glycemic fruits plus superfoods will energize you without the crash of a coffee-and-carbs combo. The goji beet mixer smoothie is a great option! Berries are a great choice as they are typically lower in sugar, abundant in fiber and phyto-chemicals, and contain just enough carbohydrates to not send you crawling to the coffee maker.
Banana adds richness to the texture of your smoothie, and is a great source of potassium. Maca, cacao, and black or green (not herbals) tea leaves can have slightly stimulating effect to help you power through your afternoons, with trace minerals to boot.
Research indicates that cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar, so it’s a great addition to an afternoon smoothie. Blend up a banana with strawberries, cacao nibs, almond milk, cinnamon, spinach for a slightly sweet afternoon treat. You can also try the rich and delicious cinnamon bun smoothie.
Ultimately, every person’s body has different needs and preferences, so experiment to see what works best for your goals, activity level and lifestyle.
Please note that as a Fitness + Food Coach, Liz does not diagnose or treat diseases, and any major changes made to your diet should be discussed with a medical professional.
Liz Barnet is a FItness + Food Coach who enables and encourages her busy clients to implement specific, sustainable changes that add up to big health benefits. Each client has a unique set of goals, abilities, and limitations, and Liz works to design a customized strategy to meet her or her needs. Liz believes that by making fitness + food approachable, interesting and fun, clients are motivated to commit and much more likely to succeed long-term. Liz feels that in fitness, food and in life, it’s all about the progress, not perfection.
Liz is based in NYC and works with clients locally and remotely. In addition to private personal training and nutrition coaching, she instructors at two of Manhattan’s premiere boutique fitness studios, SLT and Uplift Studios. Liz holds several fitness certifications and credentials, and is a graduate of both Boston College and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.