Mistake No. 1: Your Smoothie Skimps on Fiber
Fiber is as close to a magic weight-loss pill as you’re going to get. It’s what fills you up to prevent hunger so you end up eating less later in the day. Fruits do offer fiber—but only if you pick the right ones. Bananas are one of the most common smoothie ingredients, but half of one only offers 1.4 grams of fiber. Try to get at least 10 grams in your smoothie by adding fiber-rich foods such as berries, kale (it has twice as much fiber as spinach), avocado, kiwi, pear, beans, flax meal, chia seeds, and certain plant-based protein powders.
Mistake No. 2: Your Recipe Lacks Protein
Your smoothie may be green as can be, but that doesn’t mean it contains the protein you need to sustain your energy throughout the day. To resist the urge to snack on high-calorie pick-me-ups, aim for at least 10 grams of protein per smoothie. Some good sources: milk or soy milk (instead of lower-protein almond milk), Greek yogurt (it has more protein than the regular kind), cottage cheese, protein powder, soft tofu, beans, nuts, or nut butter. If you need some recipe ideas, check out these five high-protein smoothies.
Mistake No. 3: You Overdo It on the Fruit
Sipping on a cold, creamy smoothie made solely from a variety of fruits is much healthier than downing a doughnut. But while fruits are full of fiber and nutrients, they aren’t void of calories. So when you fill your blender with five different fruits, you could end up with a smoothie that clocks in at more than 500 calories. Since fruits are full of natural sugars, your body also metabolizes them quickly, leaving you with hunger pangs within an hour. To avoid this issue, pair your fruit with a protein source such as milk, soy milk, yogurt, protein powder, soft tofu, beans, nuts, or nut butter.
Mistake No. 4: You Add Extra Sweeteners
One tablespoon of honey or maple syrup will tack on over 60 extra calories—and you don’t need it if your smoothie contains naturally-sweet fruit. Of course, added sweeteners are also found in flavored yogurt, fruit juice, sweetened milks, and fruits canned with syrup. So avoid the extra sugars, and experiment with using plain yogurt and unsweetened soy or almond milk instead. Trust us, your taste buds will get used to it.