4 Smoothie Ingredients to Ditch & Why

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Homemade smoothies are healthy by nature, but you might unknowingly be blending up nasty preservatives and avoidable sugars! Find out which four smoothie ingredients should be knocked off your shopping list for good.

In the warmer months of the year, there’s nothing better than whipping up some fresh fruit smoothies, frappes and fruit juices. Just the idea of ‘homemade’ drinks makes us feel like we’re channelling our health-hero alter ego, priding ourselves over our sweet and smooth creations.

Before you hit the fruit markets or your local grocer, we’re saving you from making sugary, preservative-y, fatty mistakes. Here are the popular ingredients found in café drinks that you need to give the boot.

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Peanut butter oatmeal breakfast smoothie – yummm! Get the recipe here.

Sugar-Sweetened Fruit Juice

We’ll be the first to admit that picking a bottle of juice over a can of Diet Coke makes us feel like we deserve a pat on the back. There’s a reason kids meals always include juice rather than soft drink, right?

OK, so we should know better. Many fruit juices are packed with added sugar and preservatives. While the mango and orange juice bottle screams its healthiness on the ripe packaging sticker, it isn’t as all fruit-filled as the picture might suggest.

Yes, some brands are truer in their ingredients than others, but at a hell of a cost. Why buy a $7 bottle of ‘real’ apple juice when you can buy a couple of kilos of the actual real deal.  Avoid the unnecessary spend by squeezing your own fruits – the old fashioned way! Juicers (and even most blenders these days) can whip your fleshy fruits down to juicy goodness in a flash.

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Get the simple and healthy version of the classic banana and strawberry smoothie here.

Full-Fat Dairy Products

Milk products undoubtedly bring creamy indulgence to most summer drinks, but when you’re treating yourself, there’s no need to take the full-blown cheat. Sure, you can switch over full cream milk to skim, but you should also watch which yogurts you’re picking out of the fridge too.

Avoid flavoured milks and yogurts (yes, even the fruit flavoured ones!) as they can sneak needless calories into your smoothies. And don’t even get us started on ice-cream… *Heart shatters*

Dairy generally has a very high fat content, one that we need to consider in a balanced diet. Opt for low-calorie alternatives such as low-fat milk, unsweetened almond milk or soy ice-creams. Yogurts with an unflavoured or slight vanilla taste really let your fresher smoothie ingredients shine! You’ll get the creamy goodness without the guilt. 😉

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Who thought ombre could look more delicious? Impress your guests with this blueberry coconut layered smoothie.

Canned Fruit in Syrup

While twisting open a can of fruit saves a lot of time peeling, de-coring and chopping, your time saved is also nutrition lost. We’ll admit to taking the shortcut sometimes, especially when the fruit we want is out of season. But leave your canned fruits for the last-minute cakes.

Canned fruits that sit in syrup are a big no-no because instead of ripening in their own juices, the fruits are being preserved in literal liquid sugar.

Aside from it altering the real taste of the fruit and taking away the fresh-factor of your summer drinks, processed sugar has zero nutritional value. In fact, it can only hurt your heart, liver and teeth!

Of course, the obvious solution here is to ditch the can for fresh fruits. Even if your desired fruits are out of season, opt for frozen fruits in the freezer aisle. They’re generally frozen at the peak of their ripe, which means that they’ll be just as tasty and will have the added bonus of making your drinks wonderfully chilled!

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Mad for matcha? You’ll love this iced matcha green tea frappe with coconut whip!

Artificially-Flavoured Powders and Syrups

As kids, we loved ordering a banana milkshake and receiving the glass with bright yellow syrup oozing on the inside and rims, decorated in a messy fashion that we construed as a delicious artwork. Oh the good times!

As adults however, we look at that same glass of sugariness, shake our heads and wonder: what percentage of that yellowy syrup is actually ‘banana’?! Perhaps banana is just colour code for ‘yellow’.

The truth is, syrups and powders are the most unnatural type of flavour that you can get your hands on. We’re not about to tell you to never have a chocolate milkshake again (we’re not crazy, ha!), but there are definitely more genuine flavours than the scoops of whatever powder is sold in a tin.

If you’re craving a coffee frappe, try a shot of real coffee than flavoured powder coffee. Ground coffee itself has no calories, while all the flavoured sachets are stuffed with avoidable nasties. Not to mention, the real deal is more satisfying!

Rather than your branded hot chocolate mixes, try flavouring with real cocoa powder. Switch your caramel syrup for maple syrup or honey. Ditch the nutty syrups by adding crushed hazelnuts or a moderate spoon of peanut butter.

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You won’t believe the goodness packed into this young coconut dark chocolate slushie with smashed berries! And it’s vegan too 😉

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There’s a world full of delicious, natural ingredients out there! Finding a fresh, healthy option to make your drinks naturally sweet, smooth and creamy is a lot easier than it seems! What’s your favourite summer drink?

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Natalie Milad is a content and blog writer who studied journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney. Since her graduation in 2016, she has landed a gig at Zanui. Her days not writing are usually filled with DIY projects, floury benchtops and tending to her bunny. Natalie loves animated short films, animals and Christmas. She has experience in script writing, news reading and interviewing. Among her favourites was interning for The Bridal Bazaar.