Do you wake up and throw all your "healthy" ingredients in a blender for your morning smoothie? You could be overdoing it, making that power shake a diet buster. When it comes to smoothies, it's really a matter of what and how much you include, as it's pretty easy to exceed sugars, calories, and fats when everything that's tossed in can be sipped up effortlessly. (Ever wonder why your smoothie disappears after about five minutes with a straw?)
And, of course, as with any diet plan, it all comes down to balance, where you're eating and drinking within reason to keep your waistline and health in check. So, what common mistakes might you be making when revving up that blender? Elizabeth Ann Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, author and owner at Shaw Simple Swaps shares her tips for making a better smoothie and what traps to avoid.
Adding In Sweeteners
You're already using fruit, so forgo added sweeteners, says Shaw. Think: maple syrup, honey, molasses, and agave. There's no need to make the smoothie any higher in sugar. Instead, stick with fruit and add in sources of healthy fats, like avocado, and protein, like nut butter or yogurt, to keep you full and balance out the sweetness. Need inspiration? Try this Dragon Fruit Superfood Smoothie.
Using Too Many Superfoods
Nuts, seeds, fats, and powders all marked as "superfoods" for their nutritional punch and health benefits should totally be included in your smoothies, but you should add in everything at once or use too lofty of portions. Instead, choose two or three for each smoothie, in moderate doses. You can experiment with the others the next day!
Using Extra Protein Powders
Sure, protein powder after a workout can help repair and re-build damaged muscle tissue; however, it's not needed if you're getting other sources of protein. For instance, Greek yogurt and nut butters are already high in protein, says Shaw, so there's no reason to add a powder if you're using a protein-packed bases for your smoothies. Too much protein won't do you any good, as the body can only absorb so much in one sitting, and it'll simply just add more calories. (Eds Note: If you do a really high intensity workout beforehand, fueling up with a plant-based, no-sugar-added protein powder is perfectly fine.)
Not Including Veggies
Don't just stick with sugary fruits, proteins, and fats when creating a delicious smoothie. Instead, load up on veggies and greens, for a major detox smoothie that can purify the liver and fill you up on fewer calories and sugars. It's a great way to get in some nutrients, sneak in those greens, and have a smoothie that can be perfect for a light snack or lower calorie beverage.
Going Too Heavy On The Fats
When it comes to high-fat ingredients, the same goes for using super-sized portions, and even more so. For example, including a whole avocado, might make your smoothie too calorie-dense and fattening. Likewise, combining avocado, nut butter, and hemp seeds all in one smoothie in their full-sized portions will also take your smoothie to a diet-busting level, where the calorie count might even rival that of a burger and fries (although, yes, more nutrient-dense). Instead, pick a few and slim down the dosages, to equal one full serving of fat. Here are a few healthy smoothies to try that are portioned well.