Smoothies can be a delicious way of getting nutrients on the go. A good blender and a few essential ingredients is all you need!
One of the biggest mistakes people make with their smoothies is they forget to add more than just fruit. Most people don’t realize how high in sugar an all-fruit smoothie can actually be, especially when juice is used as the base! While sweeter taste buds might be happy, the lack of protein and fat will – without fail – leave you feeling truly unsatisfied.
So how do you build a nutritionally balanced smoothie? Follow these 6 simple steps and you’ll have a super satisfying and nutritious meal on-the-go in no time!
1. Choose a Liquid Base
This is what you’ll use to blend all the ingredients in your smoothie, and the amount you need will vary depending on how thick you like your smoothie. Choose from any of the Liquid Base suggestions listed below and start with about a half cup serving. If you prefer a thinner smoothie consistency, you may need to use more like one to 1-1/2 cups.
- Unsweetened nut or seed milk (e.g. almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk)
- Fresh coconut water
- Unsweetened green tea
- Iced [unsweetened] coffee
- Plain kefir
2. Choose your Fruit
Enjoy a variety here to reap the most nutrient diversity. Although berries in a smoothie is one of the best fruit choices, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a little pineapple or mango occasionally for a change. Keep in mind that the amount of fruit you use will vary as some fruits are sweeter than others. For convenience, keep frozen fruit on hand, just ensure that the variety you buy is with “no added sugar.” To keep sugar in check, stick with a maximum of one cup fruit serving.
- Berries (e.g. blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
- Frozen Fruit: look for “no added sugar”
- Medjool dates (use 1 or 2, usually nice in combination with other fruits like banana)
3. Choose your Vegetable
Yes, vegetable! How else are you going to boost nutrition? Hello antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber! Obviously, skies the limit on vegetable variety, but here are just a select few to get those smoothie juices flowing! Aim for about 1/2 to 1 cup serving. If you’re already a vegetable-smoothie pro, shoot for more – up to 2 cups serving.
- Swiss chard
- Beet greens
- Collard greens
- Pumpkin (precooked and cooled with no added spices)
- Sweet potato (precooked and cooled with no added spices)
- Butternut squash (precooked and cooled with no added spices)
4. Add Protein
This is actually one of the most important ingredients in a smoothie and yet often the most overlooked. Protein helps fill you up faster which is key to feeling full longer. The amount you use will again vary depending on your choice of protein. If you use a protein powder, stick with the suggested serving size; this is typically between one or two scoops.
- Whey protein isolate
- Collagen protein powder
- Vegan plant-based protein powder
- Hulled hemp seeds (1/4 cup)
- Plain Greek yogurt (1/2 cup)
- Silken tofu, organic, non-GMO (1/2 cup)
5. Add Fat
Good fats come with their own package of health benefits, including curbing the appetite and providing lasting fuel. Adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of any of these healthy fats will help keep you full hours longer than if you went without it.
- Nut butter (e.g. almond butter, organic peanut butter)
- Seed butter (e.g. sunflower seed butter, tahini)
- Coconut oil
- Flavored fish oil
- Chia seeds
- Ground flax seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Raw nuts
6. Give it a Boost
Since you already have the blender out, why not maximize your nutrition even further by adding a superfood to your smoothie? Superfoods are powerful ingredients with their own unique health properties. A small amount is all you need to get a concentrated dose of nutrition and a ton of flavor! Amounts vary depending on your superfood choice so it’s best to follow the package directions to know how much to use.
- Acai (powder or frozen pulp)
- Aloe vera gel
- Bee pollen
- Cacao (powder or nibs)
- Camu camu powder
- Chia seeds
- Flavored fsh oil
- Goji berry powder
- Hemp seeds
- Matcha green tea powder
- Wheat grass
So there you have it! Six simple steps to a perfectly balanced smoothie. One that is not only delicious and nutritious, but truly satisfying. Enjoy!