The GIC’s Weight Loss Challenge Kicks Off With a Healthy Smoothie Demo

The second annual WellMASS Weight Loss Challenge is in full swing at many state agencies, and I’ve already heard several great examples of how Wellness Champions are getting – and keeping – employees engaged in making the six-week commitment to eat right and exercise more in order to lose weight.  I was able to experience one of these examples first-hand when I was invited by GIC Wellness Champions Margarita Polanco and Liz Layton to participate in a healthy smoothie demo during lunchtime. 

The purpose of the demo was two-fold:  to kick off and drum up excitement for the Weight Loss Challenge, and to teach employees how to make and incorporate healthy smoothies into their daily routines.  Smoothies as they are typically sold in stores or at fast food restaurants are often loaded with sugar and unnecessary ingredients.  The smoothies that were demo-ed at the GIC contained no added sugar, and only whole, natural ingredients.  They also took only minutes to make, proving that it certainly is possible to eat well in a time crunch. 

Participants learned the basics of smoothie-making, including the types of ingredients to include (and exclude) and the proper order for adding them into the blender for optimal taste and texture.  Using this information, Margarita demonstrated how to make three different smoothies, and then invited employees to come up to the blenders to make their own creations using a host of healthy ingredients like frozen fruit, lowfat yogurt, almond milk, flaxmeal, and peanut butter. 

Andrew Stern, the GIC's General Counsel, creates his own healthy smoothie as I look on (approvingly)

Andrew Stern, the GIC’s General Counsel, creates his own healthy smoothie as I look on (approvingly)

The comment I heard most among the 18 employees in attendance was that they never knew smoothies could be so healthy and taste so good (especially without the addition of sugar!).  Everyone in the room realized after the demo that smoothies can make a healthy snack, or, in certain cases (such as with the recipe below) serve as an on-the-go meal replacement.  This newfound knowledge certainly gives employees a leg up in starting their weight loss journey, as they now know how to make tasty, filling meals and snacks that are low in calories and high in nutrients – a key strategy when it comes to losing weight.

Here’s the recipe for the most popular smoothie that Margarita made:

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

Ingredients
10 ounces unsweetened soy or almond milk
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 medium banana

Instructions
1.  In a blender, combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Use 6 ice cubes for a thicker consistency.

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