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Healthy smoothie blunders

Adding “extras” or overdoing the fruits could make your smoothie unhealthy. Adding “extras” or overdoing the fruits could make your smoothie unhealthy.

SMOOTHIES, especially made with natural ingredients like fruits and vegetables, are the convenient and refreshing way to refresh and fuel your day.

But this healthy refreshment always becomes unhealthy and many are not aware of it. Why is it so? It’s because of the ingredients you add to it.

* Overdoing the fruit. Knowing fruits are healthy to eat, there is a tendency to overdo the amount of fruits to process. Many think that the more fruit they add to the smoothie, the better. Oh no. Fruit is a healthy source of carbohydrate, but its calories and carbohydrates add up fast. Too much fruit in your smoothie can raise blood sugar levels faster.

To boost your smoothie, add one to two servings of fruit plus a big handful of dark, leafy greens, shredded cabbage or bok choy. That will help you get your three to five daily servings of veggies as well.

* Adding fruit juice. This is very common to food establishments selling smoothies and fruities – they add syrup or juice for tastier smoothie. According to Cleveland Clinic’s wellness team, juice removes the fiber of a fruit, leaving just the sugar and water.
    
This is because the added sugars from fruit juice provide calories without much nutrition. Consuming added sugars is linked to weight gain. The current recommendation is to keep added sugars to less than 10 percent of your calories for the day.
    
If you want your smoothie to taste much better, consider adding any of these:
     
* Unsweetened almond milk: It’s higher in calcium than cow’s milk.
     
* Green tea: It’s rich in antioxidants.
     
* Raw fresh or frozen fruit: Its fiber is still intact.
     
* Water or ice: water is nature’s best hydrator.
      
* Adding flavored yogurt or milk. You may already know you don’t need to add honey or other sweeteners to a smoothie to satisfy your sweet tooth. But don’t give vanilla yogurt or chocolate milk a free pass, either.
     
Flavored yogurts and milks contain extra empty calories in the form of added sugar. Opt for plain or regular yogurt, or plain cow’s milk, almond milk or soy milk instead. These can provide protein and calcium without added sugars.
    
If you want some really “kick” on smoothie, one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder has just 12 calories but will give you lots of flavor. Or try adding cinnamon, vanilla or almond extract, or other spices.