Every day, millions of people reach for their blender in the pursuit of health, pouring an array of fruits and vegetables into the jar to create a concoction that is both tasty and nutritious, meaning, a healthy smoothie.
Smoothies have long been known for their health benefits, offering a convenient, sipable package packed with essentials like fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
But are all smoothies the same? Certainly not!
Our love affair with smoothies is part of an ongoing trend toward wellness and clean eating. But just because something is a “smoothie” doesn’t automatically mean it is healthy. In fact, there are many pitfalls and common mistakes that can be made when blending up these treats.
The right ingredients and their proportions can seriously affect the nutritional and health value of your smoothie. In this blog post, we will reveal seven common mistakes people often make when blending their smoothies – and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Adding table sugar to the preparation
Bad news: even if your palate tells you that you don’t have your daily dose, you’ll have to ease up on the sugar: You have to remember that a smoothie is a fruit-based drink, which therefore contains natural sugar — fructose.
If we add some, we will be in excess. If the mixture seems too bland, don’t think about using table sugar.
The best option? A small amount (one to two teaspoons) of honey per person. The second best option is maple syrup.
Mistake #2: Putting more than two fruits per person
By emptying your fruit basket, you are certainly filling up on vitamins… but also on sugar. According to the official recommendations of the WHO, the daily sugar intake for adults should be 30 g maximum and 15 g for children.
And when we know that a portion of fruit represents an average of 12 g, it is essential to limit the number of fruits.
Even more insidious, we must not forget that the smoothie contains chopped fruit. Their fibers are “broken”, they no longer slow down the absorption of sugars and this increases the glycemic index.
The result? Feeling of hunger shortly after, and storage of sugars.
To avoid raising the sugar level, use this as a rule of thumb for your mix:
• 2 fruits (or one and half, if they are big);
• a little water;
• and proteins (from a vegetable or animal milk).
If you put 4 fruits in your preparation, remember to drink only half of the smoothie.
Mistake #3: Not putting some healthy oil(s) in your smoothie
The two seem incompatible. However, a good oil (healthy fat) is essential for the body to absorb certain fat-soluble vitamins.
To fill up on vitamin A (good for eyesight and skin), vitamin E (antioxidant), vitamin K (essential role in blood clotting) or vitamin D (useful for bone mineralization), mix half a spoon of organic flaxseed oil, or extra virgin olive oil, or coconut oil into your smoothie.
That’s how you benefit from the beta-carotene in carrots, for example.
Mistake #4: Drinking only a smoothie as breakfast
The breakfast smoothie, consumed in the car, on the road or at the office, can be very practical on certain mornings when you are racing against the clock. But here’s the thing: Generally, the drink is not at all balanced.
When we wake up, we need starchy foods and a dairy product to fill up on proteins.
Drinking only one smoothie is like eating only one fruit. With its blended fruits and its liquid state that do not require any chewing, the drink is not satiating and may bring too much sugar.
Mistake #5: Having just a smoothie at snack time
The smoothie will, of course, always be healthier than the chocolate bar that’s winking at us from the coffee machine on the second floor… but it won’t fill you up, and can even make you hungry.
In this case, the smoothie should remain a pleasure drink. Because of the sugars, it should never replace a meal or be considered as a snack.
If you really find yourself with no other practical option, add at least a vegetable milk, for a contribution in proteins, which will help calm the hunger.
Mistake #6: Not mixing fruits and vegetables
Adding a cucumber or kale to your fruit smoothie is the ultimate trick to reduce the sugar content of your drink.
Vegetables are much less sweet than fruit (they contain an average of 5 g) and are rich in vitamins.
Not to mention that their fibers also act as sponges, absorbing some of the sugars and fats during a meal. In other words, vegetables reduce sugar levels.
Some of the best option are celery, cucumber or even beet, which is good for the blood and the transport of oxygen and which is naturally sweet.
Mistake #7: Preparing it in advance to consume it later
Do you make your energy smoothie at home to enjoy at mid-morning at the office? Mistake: vitamins are very fragile.
If you leave the drink in the air for ten minutes, it can be depleted in its vitamin C content by around 70-80%(!), for example.
Exposure to light will also greatly reduce its vitamin content.
Always make it as close to drinking time as possible, ideally, make and drink immediately!
There you have it, avoid these and you’ll make those smoothies healthier!