Milkshakes are not the healthiest drink, but they’re not all bad. Rhea Dhanbhoora helps you make them healthy
Do you love the taste of a creamy milkshake and can’t imagine giving it up for the sake of your diet? If you want to drink a milkshake every day, have it after a workout, for breakfast or for lunch. This will provide your body with protein that you need for muscle growth and keep you full for longer. If you want to cut down on your daily calories, you can drink it in place of a meal. Just make sure that it provides a balance of proteins, carbs and fatty acids. And, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, skip dessert and try a low-calorie yogurt based milkshake instead.
“Milkshakes which have yogurt are extremely high in protein as well as calcium, vitamin D and potassium. So, if you make it with fruit such as berries, bananas or peaches, you get extra dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. But, skip the ice cream as it’s high in calories, added sugars and saturated fat,” says Pallavi Srivastava, a nutritionist from Evolve Medspa. She warns us though that milkshakes are high in fat, calories and sugar, so although they can be healthy, drinking them on a regular basis will make you put on weight. Also, overdoing it may increase your risk of weight related disorders such as diabetes.
Do it right
Pallavi tells us, “People may think of milkshakes as sugar laden drinks that are loaded with calories, but not all are bad for your health. You can increase the nutritional value of most shakes by substituting certain items and adding in others.” She gives us a few tips on how to keep them healthy:
- Replace full-fat milk with skim milk which will help lessen calories and reduce cholesterol by minimising the amount of saturated fat you'll ingest.
- Increase the amount of protein by adding whey or soy protein powder.
- Add peanut butter or flaxseed to get your daily dose of good fats.
- Thicken milkshake with mashed banana instead of ice cream.
- Add sweetness with honey, raisins or dates instead of sugar.
- Fresh fruit adds taste and nutrition to bland milkshakes.
- Make sure everything is as cold as possible. Ice cream, utensils, blender jug, milk and flavourings. The chill will give you a thick, creamy consistency.
- Choose a shake made with sources that are high in dietary fibre such as oats, bran, wheat germ, apples and pears. Dietary fibre helps you feel fuller longer. Dietary fiber also helps decrease cholesterol levels, balance blood sugar and promote healthy digestion.
- Calcium sources that can be added to shakes are milk, yogurt or ice cream. Choose low-fat or skim dairy options; these are lower in cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat.
Don’t go overboard
“Though milkshakes can be made healthier, people make mistakes that can make them unhealthy as well,” says Pallavi. Here’s how to avoid that:
- Avoid using commercially produced syrups.
- Do not drink fast food milkshakes to help you gain weight. The high sugar content will make you gain the wrong type of weight.
- If you don't like the taste of cow's milk (or can't tolerate it), choose low-calorie chocolate milk or a calcium-fortified non-dairy milk, such as soy, rice or almond milk.
- Opt for dark chocolate as it is healthier.
- You can garnish your milkshake with nuts such as almonds and walnuts to add some extra nutrients such as vitamin E.
- Avoid having milkshakes outside as you can never be sure of the quality of products used, the freshness and the kind of milk and preservatives used to enhance the flavour to sell the product.
- Use the seasonal fresh fruits instead of frozen fruits.