Green Smoothies – are they really a healthy choice for breakfast?

Healthy-Green-Juice_SmallWhen you hear the words ‘food fad’, a number of foods and drinks come to mind, perhaps none more fashionable than the ubiquitous green smoothie. These ‘wonder’ concoctions are being created, drunk, purchased, Instagrammed and promoted by celebrities, aspiring ‘health gurus’ and everyone in between.

Green smoothies aren’t only being consumed as a snack or pick-me-up during the day – they are also a popular breakfast alternative as part of a trend towards liquid breakfasts. Research conducted by Nielsen in 2014 showed a 20 per cent increase in the consumption of liquid breakfasts over the previous five years[i].“And in research conducted by FiftyFive5 in November 2015, 10 per cent of respondents 15+ reported consuming smoothies in the last 24 hours.” [ii].

In addition, research also shows that one in five Australian adults eat breakfast on the go, or at their desk, and this rises to 40 per cent amongst fulltime workers[iii]. When you think about breakfast on the go, nothing sounds easier than something you can consume in liquid form, with one hand!

Sure, they sound fashionable and convenient – but are they really a healthy option for breakfast? And, do they deliver the right balance of breakfast nutrients such as insoluble fibre, whole grain and protein?

We’ve chosen the top five green smoothie recipes via Google, and analysed them to see how they stack up against CPW’s balanced breakfast equation – grains (preferably whole grain), fruit, dairy plus water to deliver the best nutritional combination to start the day.

Green Smoothies Comparison – Top 5 Australian Recipes on Google

green smoothie table

As you can see, green smoothies may be a great way to increase fruit and vegetable intake, but are a poor substitute for breakfast – most high-ranking recipes are missing whole grains, dairy and the full variety of fibres, particularly insoluble fibre from grains such as barley and oats.