How to Make a Healthy Smoothie + Easy and Balanced Smoothie Recipes
Get a Registered Dietitian’s top tips to build a healthy and balanced smoothie that will energize you, stabilize your blood sugars, keep you full, and taste delicious! Included in this post is 7 nutritious and delicious smoothie recipes to get you started.
What is a Smoothie and What are the Benefits of Smoothies?
A smoothie is a cold blended drink that consists of various ingredients. Common smoothie ingredients include fresh and/or frozen fruit, yogurt, and juice or milk. Other common smoothie constituents include protein powder, seeds like chia and flax, and nut butters.
Smoothies are often enjoyed as a breakfast meal-replacement or as a snack, and there are many different types of smoothies, like protein smoothies, smoothie bowls, acai bowls, and green smoothies.
Smoothies are a great opportunity to pack a variety of nutritious foods into a single drink, therefore increasing the likelihood that you meet your nutrient requirements for the day.
In addition to the potential to be highly nutritious, smoothies can also make a quick and easy meal for individuals who are on the go and don’t have a lot of time to cook.
Smoothies are also a great way to reduce food waste. If you have fresh produce like fruit or leafy greens that are just about to spoil, you can freeze them and use them in your smoothies.
Common Smoothie Mistakes:
As a Registered Dietitian, there are several mistakes I see people making when it comes to their smoothies, such as:
- Not adding enough protein: Protein is the key ingredient for feeling full for longer periods of time. This is because it takes longer to digest than the other macronutrients (carbohydrates and fat). So if you’re going to have a smoothie for a meal like breakfast, you want to make sure you’re adding enough protein. Keep reading to find out how!
- All fruit and nothing else: A lot of the smoothies I see at restaurants offer primarily fruit, fruit juice, and not much else. Don’t get me wrong, fruit is really good for us (I love fruit!). However, if a fruit smoothie is going to be your meal (not just your beverage), we need to ensure we’re adding other components like protein and fat with the fruit. Otherwise, it won’t keep you full for very long, and thanks to a quick spike and crash of your blood sugar levels you’ll probably be hungry again soon.
- Not adding any fat: The low-fat era is long gone! Fat provides satiety, meaning it’s another important ingredient that helps you feel satiated after eating. So we should also be including a source of fat in our smoothies, especially if they’ll be acting as a meal. I share some ways to add healthy fat to your smoothies further down in this post.
Why Making a Healthy and Balanced Smoothie is Important:
You may be wondering “why is any of this important?” – let me break it down. If you’re consuming a smoothie as a meal or a snack, it’s important we incorporate the same things that we would in any other meal or snack.
Balanced meals are important because they increase our likelihood of meeting our nutrition needs, they keep us feeling full for longer, they’re more satisfying, and they help to keep blood sugars balanced. If you want to learn how to build a balanced meal, click here.
Now let’s take our knowledge of building balanced meals and translate it to smoothies.
How to Make a Healthy Smoothie:
To make a healthy smoothie that is balanced in nutrition, filling, and tasty, here’s a Registered Dietitian’s formula:
Fruit and Veggies: Add 1-3 servings of fruit and/or vegetables. These can be fresh or frozen!
Protein: Add a serving of protein. If your smoothie is acting as a meal, aim for 20-30 grams of protein in your smoothie.
Fat: Make sure to include a source of healthy fats to your smoothie.
Fibre: A little extra fibre helps to regulate digestion, keep your blood sugars balanced, and promotes good gut health.
Liquid: Last but not least, a good smoothie needs liquid to blend! Try to choose a liquid without any added sugars if you can. I like to use unsweetened milks like dairy, soy or cashew, as well as 100% fruit juice, or even just water!
Ingredients for a Healthy Smoothie:
Most fruits work well in smoothies and taste delicious. When it comes to vegetables, some work better than others when it comes to taste and texture. Some of the best vegetables for smoothies are mild-tasting ones that won’t impact the flavour of your smoothie, like baby spinach, kale, frozen cauliflower or frozen zucchini.
When making a smoothie, protein sources that you can add include greek yogurt or Icelandic skyr, regular yogurt, protein powder, silken tofu, a higher-protein milk like dairy or soy, nut butter (like peanut or almond butter), or hemp seeds.
If you’re want to learn more about protein powder, you can check out this post on how to choose a protein powder.
Simple sources of healthy fat that you can add to smoothies include: nut butters, avocado, higher fat milks like 2%, almond, or coconut milk, higher fat yogurts, and seeds like chia, hemp, and flax seeds.
Using fruit and vegetables in your smoothies is the first way to ensure you’re including fibre. For extra fibre, add a tablespoon or two of chia, hemp, or flax seeds. If you use a fibre supplement like psyllium, you could add this to your smoothie instead of taking it on its own.
Healthy and Delicious Smoothie Recipes:
Here are some of my absolute favourite balanced, nutritious, and delicious smoothie recipes!
- Green Power Smoothie
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
- Triple Berry Protein Smoothie
- Tropical Pina Colada Smoothie
- Refreshing Blood Orange Smoothie
- Easy Cinnamon Roll Smoothie
- Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie
Connect with Hannah Magee, RD!
Did you like this post or learn something new? Do you have any questions? Please let me know by leaving a comment below, and feel free to share this post with a friend who would be interested to read it!
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These recipes sound great! I love smoothies but have often wondered how to make them more of a balanced meal. I’m definitely going to try some of your suggestions.
Wonderful! Thank you Katherine, enjoy!