In theory smoothies are a great way to pack in those vitamins and minerals from a variety of fruits and vegetables. All you have to do is cram in a ton of produce in that blender and blend away, right?

And when you start up that regular smoothie routine, you might expect those extra pounds to just start falling off, right? After all, we are all told that to lose weight we need to make sure we are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.

The problem is that if you are not doing it right, your smoothies may be loaded with more calories and carbohydrates than you bargained for. When that happens, you will only end up sabotaging all of those awesome weight loss efforts you worked so hard for.

Just remember that not all smoothies are created equal…So check the list below to see if you are making some of the following smoothie-making mistakes:

Not enough protein. While you might be packing in handfuls of greens and vegetables into your smoothie, without protein to balance it out, you are not going to have the energy to sustain you for the day and keep your hunger at bay. Make sure to add in additional protein sources such as protein powder, low-fat Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, some white beans, or a small handful of seeds or nuts.

Not enough fiber. Fiber helps to prevent hunger and will keep you feeling full longer. When you do not get enough fiber you can end up eating too much at the end of the day.

When you eat soluble fiber, sugars and fats enter your bloodstream at a slower rate, giving you a steady supply of energy. But when you eat foods that lack fiber, your blood sugar can spike quickly. Then it crashes, causing hunger and over-eating. So make sure to add produce and foods into your smoothies that will up the fiber-factor of your smoothie. Good choices can be: kale, berries, avocados, kiwi, half of an apple, white beans, flax seeds, hemp seeds, or chia seeds. 

Too much fruit! While fruit is full of fiber, like we mentioned above, too much of certain fruits will quickly add in the calories.And since fruits are also full of natural sugars, your body metabolizes them quickly, leaving you with hunger pangs within an hour. To avoid this issue, pair your fruit with a protein source, like mentioned above.

Too much added sugar. Fruit itself is full of natural sugars, but then when you go and add in flavored yogurts, honey, maple syrup, dates, or other sweeteners to make your smoothie more palatable, you end up packing in many unnecessary calories and carbohydrates and also upping the glycemic factor of your smoothie. Since high-glycemic foods spike your blood sugar, they also spike your insulin levels. High insulin and blood sugar levels will lead to weight gain. One way you can reduce the glycemic index of your smoothie is to add protein, healthy fats like avocado or coconut oil (in moderation), or a mixture of the two. Protein and fat both slow digestion, which allows the sugar to be released slowly rather than dumped into the bloodstream all at once.

So…Bottom line….Keep it simple. The fewer ingredients the better off you will be. Aim for 2-3 types of greens and 1-2 types of fruit, a protein source, and a moderate amount of healthy fat and you will be on your way to smoothie success. And don’t forget that you do not have to drink the whole blender-full at once!