Unhealthy Smoothie Mistakes Are Easy To Make

I’m a big fan of smoothies. They are cost-effective, delicious, and healthy… unless they aren’t healthy, of course. Unhealthy smoothies sound easy to avoid. However, the thing about smoothies is that is can be really easy to accidentally make them high-calorie, make them tasteless, or include things that are bad for digestion. So before you start the day with an unhealthy diet, here are my top 9 ways in which making smoothies can accidentally trip you up.

You are using fruit juice

One of the key aspects behind smoothies is that you are getting pieces of fruit in a way that is easily digestible. You may be tempted to add some fruit juice for flavor or to add another fruit to the mix. However, the natural sugars in pieces of whole fruit are accompanied by the fiber for easy digestion. When you only include the juice, you are missing out on the crucial fibrous material, meaning that you are left with a hit of sugar instead.

You are using syrups

Syrups like agave are high in fructose. Usually, the body can handle a small amount of fructose, but agave delivers a hit of it so large that the liver is unable to process it. This can lead to weight gain and even scarring on the liver. If you need to increase the sweetness of a smoothie, use blueberries instead, which have the added benefit of being a superfood that fights heart blockages.

You are adding too much dairy

Dairy is a hard one – a scoop of yogurt can add a lot of texture and increase the amount of protein in a smoothie. However, it can also turn your healthy smoothie into a fat-filled calorie monster. There are a lot of recipes out there that really don’t need the creaminess of milk or yogurt. Try substituting out dairy with a banana for a creamy taste.

Your smoothie is far too big

Perhaps your smoothie is perfectly healthy – but you are actually drinking two. When you fill your blender up to the brim for a single portion, the chances are that you are making your smoothies far too big (unless you have a single portion blender). Portion control is the name of the game – make sure you aren’t putting too much in the blender. A breakfast portion should be between 10 and 12 fluid ounces.

You are adding ice cream

That’s a milkshake. Tasty, but not a healthy meal. Keep the ice cream for special occasions.

You aren’t adding enough leafy greens

A smoothie is a great opportunity to add leafy greens to your diet. Many people focus on the fruit – which makes sense. Fruit is generally where a lot of the flavor is, and nobody wants to drink a bitter smoothie. But you can really add a lot of healthy greens such as kale or spinach without affecting the taste. Try limiting the fruit to around 1.5 cups per serving – fill the rest of the bulk with greens or vegetables to get a boost in minerals and vitamins.

You are adding too much frozen fruit

This was surprising when I found it out – but too much frozen fruit can make a smoothie difficult to digest. A smoothie shouldn’t end up like a slushie or a frozen margarita – by using fresh fruit in place of frozen fruit, you can make a smoothie that is much more digestible.

Your almond milk has too much sugar

Check the label of your almond milk. It may be that your almond milk is packed with added sugar. When you are buying a nut-based milk, ensure you are opting for the unsweetened version. When you are adding fruit for sweetness, you really don’t need sweetened milk – it just adds unnecessary sugar and calories.

Your smoothies are boring

Sorry. But you need to branch out a little from the strawberry/banana/kale smoothie. Getting bored of smoothies is incredibly common. You have to stay one step ahead of your own taste buds to stop your daily breakfast smoothies from becoming monotonous. There are a few things that can really shake things up. Do you want to start the day with a little tropical vibe? Add in a few splashes of coconut water. Perhaps you are ready for fall. Why not sprinkle in some fall spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, or ginger. Sick of drinking breakfast? Mix it up and make a smoothie bowl instead.

However you decide to make your smoothies, you shouldn’t sacrifice the health benefits in exchange for taste – you can have it both ways. Make a smoothie that is tasty and healthy by avoiding the pitfalls I have outlined above, and you will really start to see a benefit to your health and wellness strategies.

Jon Straub