As a dietitian, I cringe nearly every time I scroll through Instagram and see a picture of a smoothie bowl. Don’t get me wrong, I love anything that promotes eating more fruit and vegetables. But when I see a massive bowl filled to the brim with four different types of fruit and nut butters and then topped with granola, seeds, and more fruit, I start to get a little skeptical. Here’s why that smoothie bowl might be hindering your efforts to lose weight.

There’s simply too much in there

smoothie bowls

Photo by Christin Urso

In order to make a smoothie fill an entire bowl, you have to put so much food in. One popular pretty purple smoothie bowl recipe includes two bananas, one cup raspberries, one cup blueberries, two scoops protein powder and 1/2 cup almond milk.

That’s a lot of fruit at once. You wouldn’t sit down and eat two bananas and two separate cups of berries at one time, right? So why blend it into one bowl? This smoothie alone, without toppings, clocks in at almost 400 calories. Add some granola, coconut flakes and chia seeds on top, and this bowl could pack in upwards of 700 calories.

The power of chewing

smoothie bowls

Photo by Julia Muro

Let’s look at that smoothie bowl example again, without the toppings. For that same 400 calories, you could eat a turkey sandwich with avocado, lettuce, tomato and a piece of fruit on the side.

Consider how full you might feel after sitting down and chewing the sandwich and some fruit. Now compare that to how you might feel after quickly drinking something, or in this case, slurping it. Chewing our food has been proven to help make us feel fuller, which consequently, helps us to eat less.

Overeating made easy

smoothie bowls

Photo by Caitlin Shoemaker

So what happens when we gulp down a few hundred calories of a smoothie bowl that doesn’t help fill us up? It causes us to eat more. Consuming something that doesn’t adequately fill or satiate our bodies inevitability leads to hunger later on.

This hunger either plays out by immediately reaching for more food, or by overeating at the next meal. We can’t help it — when we don’t eat enough, skip meals, or don’t eat balanced meals, it can be incredibly difficult to control the amount we eat when it comes time for the next one.

Do it the right way

smoothie bowls

Photo by Abby Farley

Smoothie bowl lovers, don’t freak out just yet. A smoothie bowl can still be a perfectly healthy snack option. Stick to these tips to make your smoothie a nutritionally packed powerhouse.

Keep it snack size

It doesn’t fill you up like a meal, so don’t make it one. Keep your smoothie snack size, around 150-250 calories, and try it in between meals for optimal benefits.

Load it up with veggies

Dark, leafy greens have minimal calories, virtually no taste once blended and make an awesome addition to smoothie bowls. They’ll make your smoothie much bigger in volume, lend tons of vitamins and minerals, and overall make the smoothie bowl way more nutrient-dense.

Watch the toppings

Make sure that your healthy efforts aren’t overshadowed by toppings that make your smoothie look more like froyo. The picture might not be as pretty without them, but those toppings can add a good amount of excess calories and sugar. Skip the toppings altogether or stick to one piece of fruit max for the healthiest smoothie bowl to fill you up, nourish your body and help you lose weight.

For more nutrition tips and tricks, visit Sammi at Nutrition by Sammi.