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Whipping up a smoothie may seem like an easy way to start your day: Pop your favorite fruits into a blender, add some ice and a splash of almond milk and you're good to go.

But wait, not so fast.

Some of the things you're adding to your blender can quickly derail your smoothie's health benefits (and flavor). Here are five common pitfalls and how to avoid them, so you can actually start enjoying your Big Gulp of kale… maybe.

Produce

1. Mistake: Buying Bargain Produce

A smoothie is only as good as the fruits and vegetables you put into it. Yes, that does mean you’ll have to shell out a little more cash for the high-quality stuff. Farmers’ markets, CSAs and farm stands tend to sell produce that’s grown in nutrient-rich soil. That said, if you purchase produce from a grocery store and feel good about the quality, by all means use it.

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2. Mistake: Adding Too Much Ice

Super-hot summer days call for super-cold refreshers, but hold tight before blending even more ice into your smoothie. Too much ice makes your smoothie slushy and watery. To keep it flavorful and cold, add frozen fruit. This recipe blends ½ frozen banana, ¼ avocado, a dash of vanilla extract and Silk Original Cashewmilk. Remember to peel and chop the banana before freezing it. Also, try this genius trick for making smoothie-ready avocado ice cubes.

Blueberry Ginger Smoothie

3. Mistake: Not Using a Thickener

Smoothies should have some body to them (you’re not making a juice), so use something that will thicken the mixture and make it creamy rather than soupy. Fruits like peaches, apricots, mangos and even blueberries have a thicker flesh and will produce a nice consistency. You can also use a tablespoon or two of soaked flax or chia seeds.

Ripe Fruit

4. Mistake: Using Underripe Fruit

You wouldn't eat a green banana (or we hope you wouldn’t), so don't put it into your smoothie, either. Underripe fruits won't blend very well and they sure won't taste good. On the other hand, fruits that have a few bruises are OK (in other words, don’t be afraid of some brown spots).

Pack It In

5. Mistake: Packing It All In

Less is more, folks. You may be tempted to add kale, avocado, berries, sprouts, spirulina and quinoa to your blender, but resist the urge to go overboard on superfoods (it just adds more calories). Instead, limit yourself to three or four main ingredients, like in this green smoothie with avocado and apple.

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