Photo of a person drinking a fresh smoothie
A healthy partner par excellence, smoothies can lose all their virtues if you don’t follow some important nutritional rules.

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.

Photo of person adding honey to smoothie

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.

Pro tip 1:

While honey and maple syrup may be better than table sugar, they are still high in natural sugars.
Consider using stevia or monk fruit extract instead, which have zero calories and won’t raise blood sugar levels.

Mistake #2: Putting more than two fruits per person

Photo of person holding oranges

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.

Pro tip 2:

It is essential to check the mention “without added sugars” on the labels of the vegetable milks (almonds, rice, soy…).

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.

Pro tip 3:

Do not hesitate to add aromatic herbs, such as parsley (rich in vitamins and minerals), or thyme (antiseptic), in its preparation.
To optimize the micro-nutrient content, you can also opt for hemp or acai powder.

Mistake #4: Drinking only a smoothie as breakfast

photo of berry smothie and milk

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.

Pro tip 4:

For a balanced smoothie in the morning, you should opt for the milk shake version.
Mix two fruits with vegetable (or animal) milk or cottage cheese.
On the side, nibble on some oatmeal or wholemeal bread for starch intake.

Mistake #5: Having just a smoothie at snack time

Photo of person holding smoothie and phone

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.

Pro tip 5:

For this, choose unsweetened almond milk (or another low-calorie milk), or one that is naturally lower in calories, such as coconut milk or cashew milk.

Mistake #6: Not mixing fruits and vegetables

photo of Apple and beet smoothie

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.

Pro tip 6:

Vegetables with a strong taste, such as cabbage, which are not well tolerated by some people after cooking, will be just as bad, or worse, in their raw state.

Mistake #7: Preparing it in advance to consume it later

Photo of person making a smoothie

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!

Pro tip 7:

Use this trick when the drink must wait a little: add some citrus juice!
In particular the juice of a lemon, which prevents oxidation.
Lemon also improves the absorption of certain nutrients such as iron, calcium and magnesium.

There you have it, avoid these and you’ll make those smoothies healthier!

7 Bonus Tips for a Healthier Smoothie:

  • Use Nutrient-Dense Ingredients: To make your smoothie healthier, always opt for nutrient-dense ingredients such as leafy greens, berries, bananas, avocados, and chia seeds. They not only make your smoothie delicious but also provide important nutrients like dietary fiber, protein, and essential vitamins.
  • Use frozen fruit instead of fresh fruit: Frozen fruit has already had some of its natural sugars removed during the freezing process, which can help reduce overall sugar intake. Plus, it’s often cheaper than fresh fruit and just as nutritious. Some great options for frozen fruit include blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, mango, pineapple, and peaches. And they can help thicken your smoothie and give it a nicer texture.
  • Add protein powder for extra fiber and satiety: Adding a scoop of plant-based protein powder can help increase the fiber content of your smoothie and keep you feeling fuller longer. Look for a brand that contains at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Go easy on the ice: While ice can help cool down your smoothie, too much of it can water down the flavors and dilute the nutrients. Limit the amount of ice you use or try using frozen fruit instead.
  • Experiment with different greens: Spinach, kale, and collard greens are all great options for adding some extra nutrition to your smoothie. They may change the color of your smoothie, but they won’t affect the taste too much. Start with small amounts and gradually increase the quantity until you get used to the taste.
  • Be Mindful of Portion Sizes: It’s very easy to sip more than you realize, and you can end up consuming calories than you intended. Try to portion your smoothie appropriately. A good rule of thumb is to stick to a serving size of about 1-2 cups.
  • Experiment with different spices and herbs: Spices and herbs like cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and mint can add flavor without adding sugar.
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