10 Common Green Smoothie Mistakes to Avoid

By Jennifer Thompson

When it comes to making a good green smoothie, there are some definite do’s and don’ts. Green smoothies are truly amazing, and if you make them right, you open your body up to a whole new world of energy-boosting nutrients that you may have otherwise struggled to get into your diet.

Drinking a blended smoothie of fruits and greens is a high-power dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and a natural immune booster to keep you fit and healthy for life. You can fast-track your learning curve and become a green smoothie expert in no time if you avoid these common mistakes:

  • Thinking more is more: You can easily get overexcited when you first start making green smoothies, and you may be tempted to just start throwing everything in the blender. People have asked if they can blend raw potatoes in their smoothies (answer: no), and one smoothie student was kicked off a bus in London because she put an entire bulb of garlic in her green smoothie and thought nothing about taking her nose-curling smoothie with her to work. With raw food, the combinations do matter if you want a good taste.

  • Not adding water to the blender: A sure way to kill an innocent household blender is to add fruits and greens with no water. The motor of a standard blend just can’t handle all that fiber, and it’s going to burn out and die an early death. To keep your blender alive and kicking, always add your fruits and water first, and blend. Then add your leafy greens and blend again.

  • Forgetting to add leafy greens: The star nutrition players in a green smoothie are the dark, leafy greens. Actually, the whole point in having a green smoothie is to eat more greens in an easy-to-prepare and good-tasting way.

    Adding green powder blends is definitely okay because they give you more minerals from other sources of greens, like kelp, alfalfa, spirulina, chlorella, and wheatgrass. But nothing trumps fresh greens. Don’t forget to add a handful of spinach, kale, watercress, fresh parsley, or Swiss chard to make a real green smoothie.

  • Using the same greens every day: When you get into the habit of adding leafy greens to your smoothie, you have to remember to switch them out and use variety in your recipes. Getting different greens means your body gets all the nutrients it needs. You can have the same greens for a few days, but then switch to something else. Buy spinach, collard greens, and bok choy for your smoothies one week and choose kale, Swiss chard, and dandelion greens the next week.

  • Buying low-quality superfoods: Don’t make the mistake of choosing low-priced superfoods. You get what you pay for, and cheap superfoods are cheap because they’re cut with added fillers. Ideally, choose 100-percent certified organic to avoid fillers and to make sure you’re getting a good, quality product. Remember, this purchase is an investment in your health. And because you only need a small amount of a superfood in your green smoothie (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon), a small, high-quality bag can actually last a long time.

  • Not washing your fresh ingredients: Leafy greens are grown in the earth, and they tend to have soil on them when you buy them fresh. They can also have little bugs and critters that also enjoy the taste of their leaves. You definitely want to wash that stuff off before you start throwing your ingredients in the blender. In your sink or a large tub, combine 1 tablespoon white vinegar per 1 gallon of room temperature water and let your produce soak for 10 minutes before rinsing repeatedly.

  • Storing your smoothie unrefrigerated: One of the best things about green smoothies is that you can make them in advance and they’ll keep for up to two days refrigerated. That means you can make your smoothie the night before, store it in the fridge (a glass container is best), and simply grab it and go in the morning to get a healthy start to your busy day. That all works well as long as you actually store your smoothie in the refrigerator before drinking it. Don’t leave your smoothie on the counter, in your car, or sitting out at work for hours at a time and expect it to still be fresh. You can store your smoothie in a cooler if you don’t have access to a fridge.

  • Adding hidden fat and calories: Although coconut water and vegan milks such as rice milk, soy milk, or coconut milk may seem like healthy liquids to add to your smoothie, be warned that they can quickly tip the scales of extra fat and calories, potentially giving your once-healthy smoothie even more calories than a bowl of ice cream. Most vegan milks contain added sugar, chemical preservatives, and coloring agents. All of a sudden, your smoothie isn’t as natural as it was, and you don’t even taste the extra calories!

    Stick with water as a healthy base for your smoothies; if you’re looking for something different, use homemade almond milk with no added sugar or preservatives.

  • Using protein powder: A protein powder is made from extracted foods and not whole ingredients. Pea protein isn’t a bunch of peas dried and ground into powder form; rather, it’s a pea that had the protein pulled out and all other parts thrown away. Eating extracted proteins has been shown to be hard on the kidneys and isn’t great for your colon or skin, either. Your best bet is to use only whole-food powders such as hemp seed, flaxseed, spirulina, chlorella, or acai powder, and avoid extracted protein powders.

  • Not enjoying the taste: The whole reason you’re making green smoothies is to get more valuable nutrients into your diet, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through the taste. Green smoothies can taste really good, even if they’re admittedly very strange in color.

    To make your smoothie sweeter, add more naturally sweet fruits, such as pineapple, mango, or orange. To balance out too much sweet, add more bitter greens, such as kale or Swiss chard. Enhance the flavor with your favorite organic spices. Don’t be afraid to adjust your ingredients for your taste. Long-term, you’re much more likely to stick with green smoothies if you enjoy drinking them every day.