Smoothies are a great way to pack fiber- and vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, protein, and good fats into a drinkable meal or snack. They're really easy, fast, and cheap to make at home, and you can create lots of flavor combinations using what you have. Store-bought smoothies can contain more added sugar than you may want, so making your smoothies at home lets you control how sweet they are too.
Photo by Angie Seaman
With the simple smoothie formula and tips below, you can make a healthy smoothie at home no matter which combination of ingredients you use.
How to Make a Healthy Smoothie
1. Start with liquid. Water, juice, non-dairy milk, milk, and even green tea or coconut water are all good low-calorie, low-sugar options.
2. Add protein and fat for staying-power. Nut butter, garbanzo beans, yogurt, silken tofu, and avocado are all great choices for flavor and texture.
3. Pack in vegetables. Add kale or spinach, parsley and beet greens, and maybe cucumber and celery for some fresh flavor. Love veggies? Check out these veggie smoothies and green smoothies.
4. Add fresh or frozen fruit. Almost any cut fresh or frozen fruit is delicious. When a smoothie recipe uses fresh fruit, add ice cubes to the blender along with the fresh fruit to give it better texture.
- To freeze bananas, peel and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place the slices on a baking sheet to freeze (then they won't all stick together) and then transfer the frozen pieces to a resealable freezer bag to store.
- To freeze fresh berries, spread on a baking sheet, freeze, and store in resealable freezer bags. Check out more tips on How to Freeze Fruits.
5. Don't forget a flavor booster! Herbs, spices, and other flavorings such as mint, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla extract or cocoa powder can help create a custom flavor. For an extra hit of nutrition, add ground flax seeds, chia seeds, or wheat germ.
6. Blend until smooth and enjoy. To make clean-up easier, rinse out the blender right after you use it and re-blend a few cups of water with a few drops of dish soap to clean it out.
You can make your smoothies fresh, or if you like to get a headstart on busy mealtimes, you can pre-assemble individual smoothie packs and store them in the freezer so that you can simply dump and blend. Combine all your solid ingredients (fruit, veggies, protein boost, and flavorings) into a plastic bag and freeze. When you are ready to make your smoothie, add your liquid and blend.
One thing to keep in mind: Drinking your fruit can be less satiating than eating fruits whole and may result in feeling hungry sooner. So pay attention to portion size. Smoothies should be 8-12 ounces. To keep calories in check, use low-calorie or low-sugar liquids (water, coconut water, almond milk) and add more vegetables and less fruit. If a smoothie recipe calls for sugar, try it first without or reduce the amount. You might not need added sugar at all, depending on how sweet the fruit is.
Try these 5 top-rated healthy smoothie recipes:
This super-healthy smoothie does it with spinach, banana, almond milk, and avocado! "The avocado makes this smoothie almost more rich in texture than a milkshake," says fordmarie. "What a healthy and satisfying breakfast!"
Photo by Buckwheat Queen
Bananas, peanut butter, and milk mix it up with a taste of honey. "I used frozen chunked bananas so that I would not have to use ice," says Sarah Jo. "I also added a teaspoon of vanilla. Two thumbs up."
Photo by magicallydelicious
"My creamy banana strawberry split smoothie is filled with protein, ground flax seed, and chia seeds for a great healthy drink!" says Cindy Anschutz Barbieri.
Photo by lutzflcat
"This started out as a way to hide a carrot in a smoothie, but ended up being more about the carrot with fruit (fresh peach and frozen mango chunks) hidden inside," says thegreatestthing. "If you'd like to add ice, go ahead. I didn't and it came out fine."
Photo by lutzflcate
Kale makes a healthy beast of this mango and banana smoothie. "The raw adventure continues with my satisfying Mango Monster Smoothie," says ShayVanros. "This smoothie is so yummy and you can feel great drinking it because of how good it is for you!"
Photo by LilSnoo