Oy. Navigating through the world of healthy drinks is no easy feat these days. What with that whole unicorn smoothie trend and the maca and the matcha and the merbabe (really, that’s a thing), it’s hard to keep up!
Even the OG of healthy drinks, the smoothie, can be a confusing thing to throw together. Nut butter or no nut butter? ALL the fruit or barely any? So. Many. Questions. To clear things up, we chatted with Unite Fitness nutrition director Juliet Burgh about the ways people unknowingly sabotage their smoothies. And womp, womp: You’re probably making one (or a few) of these mistakes on the regular — so read up! Smoothie season is a comin’.
1. You’re adding entirely too much fruit.
Too much fruit equals too much sugar — plain and simple, Burgh says. And while the sugars in fruit are natural, she explains that they still make your blood sugar rise and can make it harder to lose weight, if that’s your goal. “I recommend using lower-in-sugar fruits, like berries, and no more than one cup at a time,” says Burgh. “If you love banana for the texture, cut it in half,” she suggests.
2. You aren’t adding healthy fats.
“Making smoothies full of vitamin-rich fruits and veggies, but forgetting the fat is a waste,” Burgh says. So, what kinds of fats are we talkin’ here? Well, she goes on to say, “Vitamins are fat-soluble and absorb best when we add things like avocado, nut butters, flax seeds, and so on.” Noted.
3. You forget the protein factor.
We’ve all experienced that confusing feeling of being starving an hour after gulping down a seemingly nutrient-dense smoothie. Well, Burgh has the fix: “Protein is slower to digest and can keep you full longer, so try adding organic Greek yogurt as a base for your smoothie or a plant-based protein powder, if dairy isn’t your thing.”
4. You’re overloading your blender.
“When I first got on my health kick I went a little crazy with adding in every superfood I could get my hands on,” says Burgh.”But it turned out that my healthy, ‘light’ shake was adding up to be a day’s worth of calories!” So how exactly do you know when you’re going overboard? Well, Burgh has created a simple and healthy smoothie formula for us to follow: 1 cup leafy greens, 1 cup other veggies (we hear cauliflower works wonders), 1 cup of fruit, 1 scoop of protein powder, 1 to 2 tablespoons of a healthy fat, water or milk for a base. Stick to that equation and you should be okay.
5. You aren’t thinking about the quality of your ingredients.
When it comes to your smoothie routine, the timeless saying applies: quality over quantity, Burgh says. She suggests you invest in a protein powder that isn’t full of artificial ingredients and buy nut butters sans added sugars and oil to build yourself a more nutritionally sound smoothie.
And there you have it! Go forth, prepared for the smoothie season upon us. And while you’re at it, read up on the 10 ways Burgh says you’re sabotaging your salads. The more you know, you know?
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