A comprehensive look at how to make a smoothie healthy, fast, inexpensively, plant-based, a meal and with secret ingredients that taste great. Includes six fresh and easy smoothie recipes and two speedy smoothie hacks.
How to Make A Smoothie
Smoothies are an awesome way to begin the day because they deliver at least half the daily nutrition you need each day, as well as fill you up and provide you with energy. I have one every day and I'm going to tell you all about them.
Table of Contents For this Post
How to Make A Smoothie Meet 5 A Day
Smoothies are an easy way to consume the 5 servings of fruits and vegetables experts recommend we eat each day.
In fact, according to one study, eating exactly 5 servings a day can help you live longer, 13% longer. And interestingly, another study, published March 1 in the journal Circulation, says you don't have to eat more than 5 servings, the benefits don't rise with more servings.
So a smoothie with 4-5 ingredients is the perfect way to get your 5-a-day!
How to Make A Smoothie With Best Ingredients
The best smoothies are built with a combination of veggies, fruits, healthy fats and protein with a liquid. Here are some basic ingredients I use pretty regularly.
Best Leafy Greens For Smoothies
Spinach and kale in baby version blend the easiest and taste more mild than large leaf variety. You can use other leafy greens as well, collard and beet leaves, but realize the flavor might be more powerful.
Best Vegetables For Smoothies
Many vegetables can be tossed in a blender, you just have to decide if they are blendable raw or need to be steamed or boiled first.
I love adding :
- beets, chopped small, cooked or raw
- cauliflower and broccoli, cooked or raw, thickens
- potatoes, always cooked, wonderful weight-loss ingredient when chilled, thickens
- peas, cooked or raw, provides protein, thickens
- zucchini, cooked or raw, thickens
- avocado, the best creamy thickener and high in potassium
There are also unusual veggies including fennel which provides a licorice flavor and tons of disease-fighting antioxidants.
You should know that when using raw vegetables or even fruit, you should try to use organic.
This is both because organic vegetables will not carry pesticides into your smoothie, but also because organic means the soil they grew in tends to instill more nutrition.
Best Fruits For Smoothies
Of course the world's the limit on fruits we can throw in that blender but I will share my favorite few that make a potent contribution and are easy to work with. Use them all frozen for frosty texture.
- Berries, high in antioxidants and fiber, low in sugar.
- Green Grapes, also high in antioxidants and fiber, and provide a blank slate of sweetness, much like a less-ripe banana would.
- Mango, the best way to make a smoothie creamy and full of fiber, again just as a banana would.
- Watermelon, rich in essential electrolytes, and sweetness.
- Pineapple, Peaches, Pears, great for providing creamy texture and essential nutrients, and creamy texture.
What's the Best Liquid For Making Smoothies?
Water is the best and most convenient liquid to add to your smoothies. You can make it cold, even slushy to contribute to the chill factor. But of course there are more robust choices. Those include milks, there are so many choices, but my favorite is almond or oat for the creaminess, coconut water, and even seltzer water.
Best Ways to Thicken A Smoothie
My favorite ways to thicken a smoothie involve adding certain fruits and vegetables, and even playing with the temperature of ingredients.
For instance, freezing chopped fruit ahead of time allows you to create a cold smoothie, and give it a thick creamy texture. Don't add ice to do this, that will only water down your smoothie.
The best vegetables and fruits to thicken a smoothie are:
- Zucchini, raw, sliced or steamed and cooled
- Cauliflower, raw, riced or chopped, steamed and cooled
- Avocado, peeled and pitted
- Peas, raw or steamed
- Potatoes, without skin, cooked, chilled
- Dragon Fruit
Nuts & Seeds
- Cashews & Cashew Butter
- Almonds & Almond Butter
- Sunflower Seeds & Sunflower Seed Butter
- Chia Seeds
Not all beans work in smoothies, but I find these two light colored beans, used unsalted and cooked, don't give a smoothie a bean flavor and are mild enough to provide protein and thickening power without overtaking the fruit flavors.
- Chickpeas - use unsalted canned for a mild flavor
- White beans - use unsalted canned for a mild flavor
TIP: Always use more vegetable to thicken a smoothie, and use fruit sparingly as it adds so much sugar.
The Best Protein for Smoothies is Not Protein Powder
Don't ruin your fresh ingredients by dumping a processed powder full of additives and probably sugar into that blender. I don't usually order people around, but here I'm delivering my opinion. It's valid because natural protein is found in so many nourishing choices.
To your smoothie, add nuts, or nut butter or peas, or superfoods such as protein-rich chia seeds or hemp seeds. And don't forget beans. Yes, beans! I add chickpeas and white beans regularly, in smaller amounts to not give my smoothie a bean flavor.
How to Make A Smoothie Easily
The best way to make a smoothie is to follow these tips:
- Add liquid first, and then other ingredients to be sure the blending process goes smoothly (see what I did there).
- Use frozen fruit instead of water or fruit juice for texture and best dilution.
- Simplify your smoothie by choosing 4-6 ingredients per drink.
- Vary the add ins such as flaxseed, chia seed, hemp seed, adding at least one per smoothie.
- Don't add sweetener, depend on fruits such as pears, dates, mango, even bananas. Follow my banana free recipes if you don't like bananas (hint, I use pears or yogurt instead).
- Drink the drink within 24 hours or pour smoothie into ice cube trays or freeze the ingredients in sandwich bags to be blended fresh each day.
The Best Ratio for a Healthy Smoothie
You can follow a smoothie recipe or make your own. To make your own, follow this ratio, 1:1:1 with leafy greens, liquid and frozen fruits and veggies in equal amounts, typically a cup each.
Toss in bonus seeds or nuts or even chocolate as a few tablespoons. Your combos are endless. You should taste-test and add more of what fits your needs.
How to Make Any Smoothie Plant-based Vegan
Substitute the milk and yogurt with dairy-free version.
For the dairy free milk, choose creamy ones such as oat milk and cashew milk, or more nutritious almond milk.
For the yogurt, choose coconut or cashew yogurts. Or swap it out for more milk or a ½ banana or ½ cup frozen zucchini since the yogurt is there to thicken your smoothie.
While we are talking smoothies, I'll just pop in here and invite you to my FREE 6-Day Smoothie Challenge. I email you recipes and you make them, drink them and feel awesome. Sound good?
Sign up by simply dropping your email in the sign-up box and you’ll receive an email with a welcome instructions and grocery list so you can begin as soon as you’d like.
What Should You Not Put In A Smoothie?
With all this talk about what goes into a smoothie. How about a few tips about what NOT to put in a smoothie.
Don't put bitter veggies such as large leaf kale, or green onions or any other veggies you wouldn't want to eat raw.
I also suggest you do not add refined sugar or even artificial sweeteners. It is possible to get enough sweetening from fruits.
Further, be careful of the liquids you add. Don't add fruit juices high in just sugar, and try not to add milks with added sugars. Water is actually best as a liquid; you should be adding whole fruit for the fiber and nutrients rather than juice anyway.
Finally, don't add too many ingredients. Did you know I wrote a new smoothie and juice book? It was released in January! And it's 100 smoothie and blender juice recipes that are only 4-ingredient books. So useful to launch you into a smoothie a day regime.
You can use the 4-ingredient recipes for the smoothie, or just as a base adding 2 more add-ins. I make suggestions in the book or you can take a look at the other smoothie recipes on my blog.
Learn about my new smoothie book here.
Six Smoothies You Will Want to Drink
After telling you why you should make smoothies, and how to make smoothies, and offering you a book and smoothie challenge, of course the next step is to provide you with a few recipes right here and now to kick off your smoothie a day habit. These are my most popular smoothies on the blog, I hope you find one that suits you.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
Best Green Smoothie Recipe (+ chart)
Chocolate Beet Smoothie
Sweet & Salty Granola Smoothie
Lavender Lemon Smoothie
Smoothie Hacks You'll Love
I love a good short cut, and with smoothies, a way to make them even faster is always welcome.
Here are two hacks I know you'll love.
Making Smoothies as Ice Cubes Concentrates (6 Easy Recipes)
Six Fruit Smoothies (2-ingredients)
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If you try my recipes, please leave a comment and rating below and tag me on your Instagram post with @greensmoothiegourmet so I can see and share your remakes!!