9 Mistakes You're Making Every Time You Blend A Smoothie

Simple mistakes can quickly derail the health benefits and tastiness of your drink.

August 22, 2016
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Making a smoothie seems like the simplest way to start your day off right—pop your favorite fruit into a blender, add some ice and a splash of almond milk, and you're good to go. But not so fast. Simple mistakes can quickly derail the health-benefits and tastiness of your drink. To help you avoid common pitfalls, we spoke to Amy Chaplin, author of At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, to learn the 9 most common mistakes you're making with your blender.

Related: 7 Classic Breakfasts Turned Into Smoothies

This article was originally published by our partners at Prevention.

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Mistake: Under-Blending

Let's not understate this: Take. Your. Time. Smoothies are quick, but that doesn't mean blending for three seconds is going to cut it. You want to blend everything really well so that your smoothie is lump-free. Aim for one to two minutes with a regular blender, or one minute if you're using a Vitamix.

peach smoothie
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Mistake: Not Adding A Thickener

Smoothies should have some body to them, so use something that will thicken the mix and make it creamy. Fruits that have thick flesh like peaches, apricots, mangos, and bananas will produce a deliciously thick and creamy consistency. You can also use a tablespoon or two of soaked flax or chia seeds, which will add a good dose of omegas.

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protein powder
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Mistake: Overdoing It With The Powders

Simply put, many nutritional powders out there aren't so good for you. Don't reach for anything from a jar without reading the label—it's not rare to see artificial sweeteners, GMOs, and unpronounceable ingredients added. Use this guide to find healthiest powder for you, or sub in one of these non-powder protein sources instead.

Smoothie
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Mistake: Going Too Sweet

Definitely don't add sugar, and if you're using non-dairy milk, go for the unsweetened kind. Berries, frozen bananas, and almond milk are naturally sweet—dates are a great addition if you're making a more dessert-like drink. If your smoothie still ends up being too sweet, all hope is not lost: Use lemon or lime juice to balance out the taste.

smoothie ingredients
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Mistake: Adding The Kitchen Sink

Less is more. We know that it's temping to add kale, avocado, berries, sprouts, spirulina, and quinoa to your blender but resist tossing in every superfood known to man. Instead, choose three or four (tops!). Otherwise the flavor can get funky, especially if you're adding greens. Maca powder, for example, is a great superfood that goes well with most fruits and seeds.

Related: 10 Green Smoothies That Aren't Made With Spinach 

 
 
man pouring ice in blender
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Mistake: Using Too Much Ice

Tossing in too many ice cubes makes it harder for the good fats from coconut oil, flax oil, seeds, or nuts to incorporate into the drink. So try adding ice last to ensure that everything is well-blended and that you have more control over the ratio of cubes to beverage. One smart idea is to freeze leftover juice, coconut milk, or homemade almond milk in an ice tray, and use those cubes instead of frozen H2O to pop into your smoothie.

pouring milk into smoothie
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Mistake: Adding All The Liquid At Once

Dumping in all of your milk, juice, or coconut water right away could leave you with a too-thin smoothie. Blend in half the liquid first, then add your greens, fruit, seeds, nuts, oil, then ice, and see if you like the consistency. Pour in more as needed.

bowl of fruit
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Mistake: Using Under-Ripe Fruit

You wouldn't eat plain under-ripe fruit, so don't put it in your smoothie either. It won't blend well and it won't taste good. On the other hand, ripe fruit that's got a few bruises is okay. Smoothies aren't a beauty contest—it's all about the taste.

Related: 5 Make-Ahead Smoothie Packs To Keep On Hand

 
 
pouring smoothie into glass
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Mistake: Sticking To A Recipe

Be creative, keeping a few general guidelines in mind: Always use a variety of berries, something to make the mixture thick and creamy, and a good quality nut milk. Cheers!