You’re a few hours into your workday, and you feel tired, hungry, and you’re getting a bit of brain fog. What’s up with that? You had your healthy smoothie for breakfast. Why do you feel this way?
Healthy smoothies are great, but there are some common mistakes that can leave you feeling like you ate a chocolate bar for breakfast instead of healthy yumminess.
Common Mistake 1 – Too Much Fruit
Don’t get me wrong fruit in a smoothie is great, but let’s be real here; if you start throwing in an entire banana, blueberries and some strawberries for good measure, you could be on your way to a sugar crash.1/2 a banana in a smoothie is more than enough fruit to have your smoothie tasting sweet.
Personally, I use about a 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries or two strawberries.
Common Mistake 2 – No Healthy Fats
This is a big one. I know that most people think that protein powder in a smoothie is enough to keep you full, but it’s not, it’s the healthy fats.
Don’t forget to add some type of healthy fat.
- 1/4 avocado
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. MCT oil
- 1 tbsp. nut butter
I use MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil. It’s coconut oil in a liquid form that’s healthy and is great for weight loss. I tried the regular coconut oil once, and because I had ice cubes in my shake, it didn’t work so well. The oil got cold and clumped together. It's not so yummy that way.
Pick ONE and stick to the amount. While these are healthy fats, depending on what else you’re eating in a day, you can overdo these in a smoothie.
Common Mistake 3 – Forgetting Your Greens
Smoothies are a great place to front-load your day with veggies. Try kale, spinach, broccoli, chard, arugula.
Don’t be shy with these nutrient-packed foods. With all your other ingredients, you’re not really going to taste them.
Common Mistake 4 – Not Enough Fiber
Fiber helps you feel full and slows down the absorption of sugars, so you don’t get the exhaustion and foggy brain. It’s recommended that women get 25 grams, and men get 38 grams per day.
Try a tablespoon of flax or chia seeds or a teaspoon of psyllium to jumpstart your day with fiber.
When you’re increasing your fiber intake, be sure to increase how much water you drink, or you may end up constipated. You should have a minimum of 2 liters a day.
Common Mistake 5 – No Protein
Like healthy fats, protein helps you feel fuller longer, meaning you’re not looking for your next meal in an hour.
There are many different kinds of protein powders out there:
- Whey protein powder is a water-soluble milk protein.
- Pea protein is plant-based, which is a high-quality alternative to soy- and dairy-based proteins.
- Hemp seeds are a complete protein. They also contain essential fatty acids.
- There are nutritional shake (smoothie) brands out there that include different kinds of protein AND added vitamins and minerals. Be sure to watch out for unneeded added sweeteners.
If you’re not into the protein powders, you can try things like hemp seeds (mentioned above), cottage cheese, Greek yogurt or chickpeas for added protein.
Common Mistake 6 – Too Many Ingredients
Strawberries, banana, MCT oil, nut butter, almond milk, Greek yogurt, a dash of cottage cheese. It can be hard not to pack EVERYTHING into a smoothie. It’s all nutritious…Right?
Yes, BUT they all add to your overall calories for the day. Before you know it, you could be drinking over half of your needed calories for the whole day.
Eat your regular lunch and dinner beside your shake, and you could unknowingly be gaining weight.
Keep in mind portion amounts when mixing up your favorite shake.
Smoothies can be a great nutritious addition to your meal plan if you avoid the common mistakes.
What are your favorite smoothie ingredients?