For all the rights there are when it comes to healthy smoothies (breakfast in a glass, undetectable greens and almighty superfoods, the ability to look and taste just like a milkshake while being stealthily good-for-you)—sometimes things can go wrong, too.
Like an icy glob of healthy smoothie smashing into face as you unsuspectingly go in for a sip. Or the healthy smoothie that once blended to perfection, separates faster than oil and water in your cup. Or worse, despite much hype and a valiant attempt, is just sort of…blah.
We hear you loud and clear. And we’ve got the healthy smoothie SOS that’ll get you back up to boss status, as far as your favorite blended drinks are concerned. So get ready to re-start your blenders!
Fix 1: It’s too frozen
Does one sip of your healthy smoothie send a chill down your spine? Or maybe you tried to drink it with your straw—and that wasn’t happening. Let’s hit the defrost button on that brain freeze and work this one out.
The quick fix here is to thin it out. Choose your liquid carefully. Too much water can dilute the flavors, and too much milk can boost the bland factor. Ok, ready? Add a little liquid (a splash or two, max), flip the switch and stand by. Start slow and work up to a higher speed, you want to see the blender vortex. Add a little more, blend a little more, until you reach that perfect texture you’re after.
If too much ice is the culprit, next time consider frozen cubes of almond milk or Greek yogurt to nail the thickness level while maintaining the creaminess you crave.
And if you’ve over-iced and need to go creamier, avocado, banana, nut butter or thick Greek yogurt will do the trick.
Fix 2: It’s not frozen enough
Drinking a watery smoothie is kind of like eating an apple without the almond butter. It’ll do the job, but it’ll never be quite as tasty. So let’s get that healthy smoothie to maximum enjoyment level, shall we?
Reach for ice in a pinch, adjust the flavors accordingly. But for the real-deal fix, go for frozen fruit (or produce, if you’ve just gotta go green). And definitely, definitely freeze some almond milk or Greek yogurt cubes for next time. You won’t regret it.
Add a few frozen chunks at a time, and crank the blender up to full speed. Add a few more frozen chunks if it’s still too thin. Then let that blender do its thing. We’re looking for thick but still blendable here.
For a moderately runny smoothie situation, count on chia seeds for the fix. One or two teaspoons per serving. Stir them in and give them about 10 minutes to work their gelling magic.
Fix 3: It’s too “green”
Have you managed to out-green yourself by adding ALL of the healthy veg? And now your healthy smoothie tastes like a salad-in-a-glass? Sure, we’re going for healthy with our smoothies—that’s a no-brainer—but since there’s no award for who can cram the most green stuff into their blender and still manage to drink it down, let’s fix this up into a drink we can all enjoy.
First, the quick solution: Add almond milk or yogurt to curb the bitter. Then balance the sweetness with half a frozen banana, pineapple or couple of drops of liquid stevia. As usual, add a little, re-blend and re-assess.
And for next time, try a little less of the green stuff. Go heavy on sweeter greens like spinach and mild veggies like cucumber, and be a little less ambitious with more potent picks like curly kale, celery and broccoli. Toss in a chunk or two at a time and taste as you go.
Fix 4: It separated
It doesn’t matter how beautifully your healthy smoothie blended up in the beginning. Sometimes they’re just destined for separation.
It could be the ingredients. Or how long it takes to get from blender to mouth. If you make your healthy smoothies ahead of time, they can start to separate as the heavier particles sink toward the bottom.
Your quick fix is a to give it a healthy shake or stir, or a re-blend if you can. But for the healthy smoothies of the future, be wary of certain ingredients—like blueberries, whose natural pectin causes a jelly-like texture, or chia or flax seeds that can over-gel. They can start to separate from the mix if left unattended too long. Plan to use these ingredients in healthy smoothies you’ll be polishing off right away.
Fix 5: It’s just “blah”
We stand by the motto that life is just too short for bland smoothies.
Good thing there’s a good fix. Or two. Or a bunch! Brighten up the flavor with a squeeze of citrus—lemon or lime are a solid bet—or a flashy fruit like raspberries. Try fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley, get extra flavor and nutrition (bonus points!). Raid the spice cabinet for cinnamon, cardamom, ginger (dried works, best fresh grated is out-of-this-world good) and vanilla extract. Sweeten things up with dates, maple syrup or honey.
You may have to do a little matchmaking here to pair up the flavors you have with their complementary add-ins, but your flavor-saver is out there. So get to it, and beat the “blahs”.
A final note, if you’ve tried everything and it’s just not working, grab a healthy smoothie recipe that sounds good and follow it to a T. Once you’ve got your rhythm back, follow that winning formula as a base and sub new fruits, veggies and add-ins to your heart’s content.