A Nutrient-Rich Berry Smoothie (0:36)
Blending fresh smoothies at home is an easy way to consume a lot of nutrients quickly, but creating the perfect concoction of fruits and veggies isn’t always as easy as it seems.
In an effort to make a nutritious and delicious breakfast or snack, you can end up loading the blender with more sugar and calories than intended. Achieve the perfect blend of flavor and health benefits by being aware of these common smoothie-making mistakes.
Adding Excess Sugars
Adding sugar to sweeten a smoothie can pile up excess calories and inhibit health goals like weight loss. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises that people limit their added sugar intake to about 12 teaspoons a day when living on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Being heavy-handed with added sweeteners including honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, can lead to weight gain and tooth decay. Try to avoid sweetening your smoothie with added sugars, and instead enjoy the natural sweetness of the fresh fruit. While fruit does contain sugar, it also has fiber which makes the body process it slower.
Prevent added sugars from sneaking into your smoothie in other ways by reading the labels on your chosen liquid base. Reach for the unsweetened versions of yogurts, plant-based milk, and juices.
Overloading the Blender With Fruit
Too much of a good thing can lead to unintended health repercussions. Packing a smoothie with too much fruit can turn a healthy source of carbohydrates into a drink containing an excess of calories and carbs. Typically, most women should consume two to three servings of fruit per day, while men need three to four servings.
Instead of filling your smoothie with only fruit, add a handful of vegetables like spinach or kale into the mix. Leafy greens can help maintain the consistency of your smoothie while also sneaking a serving of vegetables into your drink.
Scooping in Unhealthy Protein Powders
A scoop of protein powder can help to build muscle and manage weight, but some may contain unhealthy ingredients that could negatively impact your health. While some brands of protein powders contain little to no added sugars, others can have as much as 20 grams in each scoop.
A quick glance at the nutritional label can help prevent you from ingesting excess sugar and calories.
Instead of reaching for protein powders, add protein in with natural ingredients like chia seeds or Greek yogurt.
Forgetting Healthy Fats
Smoothies that lack healthy fats are more likely to cause blood sugar spikes and provide a fleeting burst of energy. Adding healthy fats, like monosaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, will help to s slow down the digestion process, leading you to feel fuller longer and maintain your energy boost.
Additionally, healthy fats can help your body absorb the vitamins found in the fruits and vegetables you added into the smoothie. Vitamin A, D, E, and K are among some vitamins that are efficiently absorbed when accompanied with a healthy fat.
Try slipping ingredients like avocado, chia seeds, or flax seeds into your smoothie to gain the nutritional benefits of healthy fats.
Losing Track of Calories
If you are putting a lot of ingredients into your blender, even if they are healthy, the calories can add up fast. A banana is 105 calories, a cup of Greek yogurt is 100 calories, a scoop of protein powder or chia seeds can be 100 calories, and just half of an avocado can be 161 calories. While all of these ingredients might be beneficial, you can easily add 600-700 calories in one glass!
Take note of what you’re putting in your smoothies and how many calories each item has to find the right recipe combinations with maximum health benefits but a minimal amount of calories.