Smoothie "mistakes" can make a well-intentioned nutrient-rich breakfast or snack into something that's about as healthy as ice cream. Want to make your smoothie as full of nutrients as possible while being delicious? Keep reading for advice from the experts.
The most common smoothie mistakes (and how to correct them), according from registered dietitians
The mistake: Too much fruit
"Often, people will make smoothies with a lot of fruit, which can create an imbalance with other nutrients," says Melissa Rifkin, RD. There's nothing wrong with fruit, but she says you want to make sure there's other ingredients in there too, including something with protein and healthy fats. Otherwise, your smoothie isn't going to be nutrient-dense enough to be truly satiating or nutritious.
- Amy Schwarz, RD, CDN, registered dietitian
- Gillean Barkyoumb, MS, RDN, Gillean Barkyoumb, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian and a smoothie sommelier for kitchen appliance company Ninja.
- Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD, New York-based registered dietitian
- Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and women’s health expert
The fix: Follow the "smoothie formula" of protein + fat + fruit + greens
To correct this mistake, Gillean Barkyoumb, RDN—who was deemed an actual smoothie bowl sommelier by kitchen appliance company Ninja—recommends following this smoothie formula: protein + healthy fats + fruit + greens. You can experiment with the types of each you want to incorporate into your smoothie, but following this structure will ensure it has a good balance of nutrients.
This smoothie tastes like carrot cake in a glass:
The mistake: Not enough protein or healthy fats
One of the biggest mistakes registered dietitian Amy Schwarz, RD, says she sees people making also has to do with an uneven nutrient imbalance—but it isn't with fruit. "Many people make their smoothies too carb-heavy and not with enough protein or healthy fats," she says. Carbs digest more quickly than protein and healthy fats, so if your smoothie doesn't have these nutrients, you'll likely be hungry not too long after draining your glass.
The fix: Add ingredients with both protein and healthy fats
This is a smoothie mistake with an easy fix. Schwarz says to incorporate ingredients that are high in both protein and healthy fats so it rounds out your smoothie with just one touch. Greek yogurt or a nut butter (almond or peanut) make for a richer texture.
Peanut butter is a delicious smoothie ingredient:
The mistake: Disregarding portion size
Portion sizes can be tricky enough to think about when something is on a plate; it can be even more difficult when the food is being blended up into a liquid. "Sometimes, people will drink double the portion size without even realizing it," Rifkin says.
The fix: Think about the portion size of each ingredient
This one just takes being a bit more mindful of how much of each ingredient you're adding to your blender. With protein, Barkyoumb says to aim for at least 15 to 20 grams in total. When food is blended, it cuts down on its physical size.
This acacia fiber smoothie is fantastic for your gut health:
The mistake: Assuming smoothies can be made with only fresh fruits and veggies
Your crisper contains some of the best ingredients to incorporate into a smoothie, but it's a big mistake to ignore frozen fruits and vegetables, says Barkyoumb. "My favorites are frozen spinach or frozen riced cauliflower," she says.
The fix: Keep frozen fruits and vegetables in the front of your freezer so you don't forget about them
Too often bags of frozen vegetables are completely forgotten about. Keep your frozen fruits and veggies in the front of the freezer so you'll see them every time you peek inside. That way, you'll remember to actually use them next time you fire up your blender.
There's no shortage of smoothies you can make that deliver on nutrition just as much as they deliver on taste. The key, is striking a balance. Even while avoiding these common mistakes, there's plenty of room to experiment. That's the fun—and tastiest—part!
Fruits and vegetables are some of the healthiest freezer foods:
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