There’s more to making a satisfying smoothie than throwing ingredients into a blender.
If you’ve consumed a smoothie that’s too sweet, too tangy, too thick, or too watery just because you’ve tossed expensive ingredients into a blender, you know what I mean.
There’s a sequence that makes sense in choosing ingredients for smoothies.
Once you understand the part each ingredient plays in making an excellent smoothie, you’ll know how to make smoothies at home that are enjoyable and healthy. In fact, the combinations are endless!
Start with Your Fruit
Your choice of fruit will dictate all other choices, so start by deciding which fruit flavor you’d like today.
You can use either fresh or frozen fruit. Use 1 cup of fruit (1/2 cup of tropical fruit) in total per smoothie. If you use frozen fruit, don’t add ice cubes later. (Don’t use canned fruit – they are too sweet and don’t have a satisfying texture in a smoothie.)
Another reason fruit is put in blender first is so they are close to the blades for proper processing. You don’t want floating fruit!
- Berries (blackberry, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, raspberry, strawberry,)
- Melon (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon)
Add Healthy Fats
Adding healthy fats is optional but it makes your smoothie healthier, adds texture and helps you feel full longer. Add 1 tablespoon: this translates to roughly 100 calories for any fat on the list so choosing only one is recommended.
When making your choice, consider the texture you prefer in your smoothie and if your blender can properly handle nuts and seeds. Generally, butters are better but you can soak nuts & seeds overnight to make them softer.
(These are added to your blender next because they need to be close to the blades to be blended properly.)
- Almond butter
- Avocado (1/4 of a whole)
- Cashew butter
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Peanut butter
- Pepita seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seed butter
- Tahini (sesame seed butter)
Add a Vegetable
Smoothies are the perfect way to get more vegetables in your diet because you can’t taste them. Vegetables are a great way to boost the nutritional value of your breakfast smoothie. Toss in a handful to 1/2 cup of vegetables.
One thing to consider in your choice of vegetable is how the color of the smoothie will change when added to the fruit you’ve chosen. Rethink veggies your blender will have difficulty with: celery is too stringy, beets, carrots and sweet potatoes may be too dense so they can be cooked first.
- Beet greens
- Bok Choy
- Spring greens
- Sweet potato
- Swiss chard
If you aren’t planning to add protein in the form of milk, milk substitute or yogurt – or want extra for bodybuilding – add half a scoop of protein powder to your blender now. Use one that doesn’t add flavors or sugars.
Add a teaspoon of herbs, spices or flavoring that go well with the fruit you’ve chosen:
- cocoa powder
- maple syrup
- matcha powder
Add a Liquid
The texture of your smoothie is just as important as the flavor. Choose a liquid that will make your smoothie have a consistency that you enjoy so you will keep making healthy choices.
The target ratio is 1:3 liquids to other ingredients which usually translates to 3/4 cup of liquid. If you choose thicker fruit such as mango and banana, add more liquid. It’s not recommended to add juice to a smoothie – too sweet and way too many calories.
- almond milk
- soy milk
- coconut milk
- cashew milk
- cold coffee
- cold tea
Now that you’ve added your liquid, purée for 2 – 3 minutes. If it needs to be thickened, add 1/4 cup of these ingredients to make your smoothie thicker – and more nutritious.
- plain yogurt
- crushed ice (makes it frothy)
Smoothies can’t really be made ahead because they separate and the texture changes. It’s best when consumed immediately after puréeing.