Life gets in the way sometimes. We can be so busy that making a meal can be exhausting. Not to mention, cleaning the kitchen! So a lot of times we settle for eating out and besides being expensive, it can be hard to find healthy options that work for your current life style.
Instead of cutting corners, smoothies can be a great replacement for a meal, full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals... if done right! Moreover, they are super easy and quick to make, so we can always have a healthy meal, no matter where we are.
But there is a problem – not all smoothies are healthy. Smoothies can be a lot like eating out, they taste good but they aren't great for you. That's why you're reading this though! So that you can prepare your smoothies the right way, without sugars, harmful trans fats or other things our body doesn't need. Lets face it, a smoothie can actually be detrimental to our health if done wrong.
Here are the four most common mistakes we can encounter when preparing a smoothie:
1. Too much sugar:
When you find a new smoothie recipe, you should first check if there is any added sugar or sweet ingredients in it. Sugar sometimes hides in places we would mistakenly consider to be healthy – muesli, yogurts, juices… If you are not paying attention to your ingredients, your smoothie can end up containing as much sugar as two Coca-Cola cans!
A great alternative to adding juice for instance is to add freshly pressed juice. This might be more work but it's worth it to avoid the juices at the supermarket! Store-bought fruit juices are always packed with plenty of sugar, meaning adding them into your smoothie can have no benefit.
The following list contains a few smoothie ingredients you should NEVER add to your smoothie:
- ice cream or sherbet
- sugar or agave nectar
- any kind of chocolate syrup or powder, such as Nestlé
- store-bought honey
- non-organic peanut butter with added sugar
- low quality protein powders
- whip cream
- chocolate or any other pudding mix
Fruits already contain enough sugars so there is absolutely no need for adding additional sugar to your smoothie.
What you do need: Vegetables! Adding veggies to your smoothie can compensate for any sugar from the fruits your putting in your smoothie. However, if you are preparing a green smoothie and want to improve the taste, you should opt for berries or non-dairy milk rather than adding sugar. Contrary to what we can read in many articles, for a super healthy smoothie, you should avoid adding dates, honey or maple syrup to your smoothies.
With that said, if you NEED something sweet added, dates are the best thing you can add. Dates are high in antioxidants that help fight disease, high in fiber, they are full of nutrients like Magnesium, Protein, Iron, Vitamin B6 and more!
You should also include spinach, kale or chia seeds in order to add fiber, which will slow down the sugar digestion. This will keep your insulin levels from spiking and help your body digest your smoothie.
It is believed that green and fruit smoothies are very healthy, so it can be tempting to add as many pieces of fruit or veg as possible. But do not forget that by doing that, you are also adding extra calories, complicating the taste and making your smoothie look unattractive. Adding so many ingredients means that you smoothie will turn out looking like a brownish goo.
It's important to remember that adding kale, spinach, avocados, broccoli, or coconut milk, isn't an overnight fix for losing weight. Also, not all ingredients go together and some might result in you feeling bloated – just keep in mind that there should be equilibrium for everything. It is advisable to start with 3 or 4 main ingredients and build from there.
OMG I'm hungry! You don't want that feeling. Plus they say you can't process information, learning and can often have a hard time concentrating when you're hungry. That's because we are programed to survive, and to look for food when we are hungry. So we need need to make a smoothie that will keep you full! Smoothies that are considered to be meal replacements, should keep you satisfied.
Simply adding vegetables and fruits does not mean that your smoothie contains the protein your body needs to function throughout the day. If your smoothie consists of only sugar with no protein or fat, you can be sure you will get hungry in an hour. Additionally, if your smoothie does not contain enough calories that would make up for an actual meal, this can hardly be called a meal replacement.
Here are some ingredients that contain the much-needed nutrients you need (protein and fat!). Make sure you aim for at least 10 g of protein per serving or you will risk being hungry in less than an hour.
Choose from the following ingredients to make your smoothie more nutritional:
- Non-dairy coconut or almond milk
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Nuts and nut butters
- Quality protein powders
- Almond Butter (check the packaging to make sure it doesn't have added sugar and is organic).
Don't forget Mistake #2 – do not overdo it by adding too many things!
If you put low quality ingredients into your smoothie, you should not expect it to miraculously turn out to be healthy. In order to get that healthy mixture you are hoping for, you should avoid using low-grade protein powders or superfoods or non-quality fruits. You should rather opt for fresh produce, full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Keep an eye out for colorings, preservatives or other inactive ingredients that will add hidden fillers, chemicals or inflammatory agents into your smoothie.
5. It's chunky!
If you're using S'moo and making smoothies, a common mistake is stirring it in! Even though S'moo mixes well with anything, if it's chunky, than shake it. S'moo was designed for a shaker cup or blender. Though S'moo often mixes well into yogurt and other creamy foods with a spoon, when it comes to liquid, it's best shaken.
Remember we are in this together. Doing it right, isn't always easy! Don't be fooled by store-bought mixtures of oats filled with sugars or superfoods blends that contain micro-doses of the good stuff. Read all of the labels and tags for the products you're putting in your body. It might sound silly but your body really is a temple. ❤️