Blending up breakfast before heading to work or mixing together a quick dinner after the gym? You’ll want to avoid the big smoothie mistakes.
While smoothies are traditionally thought of as healthy alternatives, it’s easy to get it “wrong”. Even when you’re mixing up your own concoctions at home, there are several common smoothie mistakes that even healthy consumers are guilty of making.
Beware of these everyday flubs, which may make your smoothie more like a milkshake than a healthy meal.
Are You Making These Smoothie Mistakes?
Mistake #1. Adding Fruit Juice.
First, skip the fruit juice for blending. While it’s easy to assume that no sugar added fruit juices are healthier alternatives to soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, the sugar content, calories, and impact on blood sugar and weight are the same.
In lieu of fruit juice, use water or flavored sparkling water for blending. Or, if you don’t plan on using another source of protein, go for nonfat milk or soy milk.
Mistake #2. No Protein/ Low Quality Protein.
Given that smoothies are based largely on fruit and vegetables, their protein content is minimal.
Although the sugars in fruits and veggies are healthy, consuming sugar without a protein anchor means a quick rise and fall in blood sugar that can leave you sleepy, cranky, or hungry.
Be sure to add a source of high quality protein to your smoothie. Greek Yogurt, nonfat dairy, soy milk (for non dairy consumers), or silken tofu are all good options.
Mistake #3. “Natural” Sweeteners.
Skip added sweeteners. Even so-called “natural” sweeteners like honey, agave, maple syrup, are a major no-no. Natural sweeteners aren’t much more natural than plain old white sugar, and the calorie and sugar content is identical. Smoothies are sweet enough as is.
Mistake #4. Portion Distortion!
Portion size is a huge issue in the United States, one that is closely tied to the obesity epidemic. Even natural foods can be overeaten. For a meal, stick with no more than ½-1 cup protein (such as nonfat milk or greek yogurt) and no more than 1-2 cups fruit (or 1-2 whole pieces).
Mistake #5. High Fat Add-Ins.
Finally, to avoid one of the top all-time smoothie mistakes, skip the inclusions if you’re watching your weight! Inclusions like nut butters, oils, and chia seeds are popular and tempting, but they’re tremendously high in calories. A single tablespoon of peanut butter adds 100 calories to your meal. Even if the calories are from a heart-healthy source, they still matter in the context of weight management.
Morgan Medeiros is a certified nutritionist, holding a both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Morgan completed her undergraduate education at Central Washington University, and her graduate education at Northeastern University. During her time as a graduate student, Morgan focused her area of expertise in health education, weight management, and behavioral change. Morgan has experience working in areas of nutritional neuroscience and disease prevention, obesity prevention, and weight loss. Morgan also works in areas of nutritional analysis and menu labeling for restaurants, where she is able to creatively bridge her interest in food culture and health education. In her free time, Morgan enjoys traveling, reading, writing, running, and spending time with her family and friends (including- most importantly- her dog, Clyde).