Guide to Healthy Smoothie Recipes
Smoothie making can be so subjective – depending on people’s tastes, nutritional needs, calorie intake, textural preference, etc.
What makes smoothies such a popular breakfast? Could it be the vibrant colours, the fabulous nutritious boost or just the fact that smoothies make any type of fruit better? Or maybe because it is just easy! Would it be all of them?
I will show you on this guide how to achieve the best composition on your smoothies, all the options, mix and matching, you will love it!
I will include in this post:
Top tips to smoothie making;
Ratio’s and guides;
Delicious Ingredient options plus flavour combinations;
My current go-to smoothie recipe that you are able to meal-prep in advance, how-to included and chuck in the blender whenever you want.
When done right, you can start your day right with nutritionally balanced, filling, healthy smoothie that combines good levels of fibre healthy fats, protein, carbs and a variety of vitamins and nutrients.
Very easy to make the mistake of through some ingredients into a blender and ending up with a high-calorie, nutritionally unbalanced meal – so following a smoothie-making guide with rough ratios, is a great way to go.
The key thing that you need to make a smoothie, is a blender. There are an abundance of blenders out there in all price ranges. Find one that you can afford, most of them will do the job. Those ones that you can blend up your smoothie right in the cup that you’re going to be taking with you, then pop on a lid with a handle and off you go are very practical!
Questions and answers about smoothies
How to make a smoothie thicker? There are various ways to make them thick. This includes using frozen ingredients (especially frozen bananas) and adding in dense extras such as oats, cooked whole grains and thick yogurt. I personally don't worry about thickness;
How to make a smoothie with frozen fruit? This is my favorite way to make a smoothie. If you have a high-powered blender, you may only need a splash of liquid near the blades to get them going. For less powerful machines, you may need extra liquid to help blend the frozen pieces;
Can you freeze smoothies? Smoothies are best consumed immediately after blending to avoid oxidation of the ingredients and nutrient loss. They could be frozen but I would not advise;
How to make a smoothie without a blender? While this is possible, it will also limit what ingredients you’re able to use as they will need to be soft/mushy such as berries and bananas so you can mash them with a fork then add to a tumbler and shake with yogurt/milk, etc.
Do you need to follow an exact ratio? Following ratios can be useful for creating a balanced meal. However, there is no rule!
One of my favourite tips is how handy meal-prepping smoothies can be. I am the Queen of meal-prep so I had to do it with smoothies as well. Plan your smoothies out into reusable silicone bags or storage containers and store in the freezer. Once prepped, healthy smoothies become the ultimate grab n’ go meal/snack. I personally prefer to store them in air-tight glass containers;
Whether you are using frozen ingredients or not, it is always a good idea to add the liquid to your blender first, so it is closest to the blades. This will help your blades cut through the ingredients faster, specially the frozen ones;
Use frozen fruit instead of ice, so the smoothie isn’t watered down. Frozen fruit is also often cheaper than fresh and has similar, if not better nutritional value;
Banana is the typical ‘base’ for many smoothies. However, banana alternatives include steamed cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potato or even butternut squash, just use your preferable choice;
Smoothies are often fairly sweet due to their high fruit content. However, if you are making a vegetable-heavy smoothie and want to know how to make a smoothie sweeter then stick to natural unrefined sweeteners like agave, maple, honey or even dates;
Sneaking in leafy greens into any smoothie is one of my favourite ways to pack in extra nutrients. A large handful of spinach or kale to any smoothie will add nutrition without any taste, honestly, any taste.
Rstios & Guides
This is subjective to your diet, all depends on what your calorie goals are or you might not be even looking into that. A breakfast smoothie under 400 calories should be ok, but again it is up to you.
I tend to ratio my current breakfast smoothies along the lines of:
1 cup liquid
2-3 cups fruit/veggies
1/2 cup additives
1 Choose your liquid
2 Choose your fruit
3 Choose your veggies
4 Choose your extras
Building a healthy smoothie
Building a healthy, delicious and nutritious smoothie it is not hard. There is a simple formula that can help you with creating new and exciting smoothies regularly, so you never get bored with your smoothie ingredients.
Picking your Liquid
Choosing your Fruit
You will notice that certain smoothie ingredients overlap into different categories. For example, avocado counts as a healthy fat and fruit. Plus, chia seeds can add protein as well as fibre.
There are a few liquid options that you have available for smoothies. Choosing the best option for you depends on how creamy/light and how calorie-dense you want your smoothie to be. I like to add around 1 cup of liquid.
Water: The lightest no extra calorie option – for a mild, fruity smoothie that isn’t as ‘creamy’. You can also use coconut water for added flavour and sweetness. Coconut water is my favourite option;
Milk: Whether you drink dairy or not, there is a massive variety of milk types that you could choose for your smoothie. Oat, almond milk, rice, coconut, soy etc.
Yogurt: If you want to add more protein to your smoothie, as well as for a more luxurious, creamier final drink, then you might want to add yogurt instead of a liquid. I don't eat yogurt so it is not an option for me;
Fruit Juice: This isn’t something I do, as the smoothies are already heavily fruit and vegetable-based. Also you need to be aware of how sugary this can be. However, there are a variety of juices that you could add for a sweet, flavoursome smoothie. This includes orange juice, apple cranberry, pineapple, pomegranate juice, etc;
There are a wide range of options for fruits that you can add to your smoothies, I will list the most favourites.
I usually add around 1 – 1½ cups of fruit. If you are worried about the sugar content in fruit, then you can pair a high-sugar choice with low sugar options, as mango, watermelon, bananas and cherries are all considered high-sugar fruits, whereas many citrus fruits, strawberries, blackberries and even peaches are lower sugar options.
Apples, Pears, Peach, Nectarine
Berries: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries,
Pineapple, Mango, Papaya
Melon: Watermelon, cantaloupe
Citrus: oranges, lemon, lime, grapefruit
Either you are in the mood for a healthy green smoothie, or simply want to find ways to eat more veggies into your diet, there are plenty of options for you.
I like to add between 1 ½-2 cups of vegetables if I can, this is particularly easy as a cup of spinach/kale disappears within a smoothie, is a low-calorie option but packs a ton of nutrients and you won't feel the taste of it.
In terms of green vegetables:
Kale, spinach, collards, green cabbage as well as zucchini, cucumber, celery and even sprouts.
Other vegetable options include steamed sweet potato, beets, carrots, squash and pumpkin or even cauliflower.
Protein can be incorporated into a smoothie in a variety of ways. For example, adding just between a ½-1 cup of Greek yogurt can add up to 20g (if not more).I am not a big fan of yogurt!
You can include additional protein without the need for any unnatural protein powders too. For example, you can make your own all-natural healthy omega protein mix, or even add a tablespoon of homemade nut butter as well as protein-rich additives like chia seeds.
As much scary of fat as you could be, healthy fats are vital to our body functioning at optimal levels. In fact, some studies recently stated that for around 60% of the population, the dietary cholesterol we consume has little effect on our blood cholesterol levels, as this is something our bodies regulate.
There are a few options in terms of healthy fats including nut and seed butters, nuts, hemp seeds, avocado and even certain oils like avocado oil.
While these options tend to be the more calorie-dense ingredients in a smoothie, they are usually added in small quantities. I typically add 1 tbsp of any nut/seed butter and ½ avocado.
There are a variety of other supplements that you can add to a smoothie to boost the flavour and nutritional value.
These are nutrient-dense ingredients that you can include in a smoothie, raw cacao, spirulina, maca powder, açai, goji berries, bee pollen, etc.
The amount is going to depend on your taste here, as some of them can be a bit to strong I would advise you to try in very small amounts at time to see how do you like them.
Herbs and spices
These ingredients add flavour to the smoothie, but they also come with a whole variety of health benefits. Spices, in particular, often have a long list of health benefits. Like ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, turmeric and more. I particularly like to add ginger and turmeric mix.
In terms of herbs, you can use mint, basil, parsley or cilantro . You can also add vanilla and cardamom, for additional flavour.
A fibre-rich ingredient is something I love to add to any breakfast/healthy meal smoothie option. Fibre helps keep you fuller for longer, stabilises blood sugar levels, slows down digestion and can be great for digestive health and weight loss.
Those are chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp seeds, coconut or even a handful of whole wheat cereal or cooked whole grains like quinoa.
Flavours and combinations
So, now that you have all the options for ingredients, you probably want to know the best combinations of ingredients.
There are some generally well-known great flavour combinations or others simply down to personal taste.
I have included my favourite healthy smoothie recipes below with some of my favourite flavour combinations.
I find that banana, which is the base to many of my fruit smoothies, pairs well with most other fruits and veggies, particularly a banana smoothie with berries and tropical options including pineapple and mango.
For green smoothies, I also love the combination of the fresh green against the sweet tropical flavours of mango, pineapple, sweet citrus fruits and sharper flavours including grapefruit, ginger, lemon/lime.
With all of that out the way, it’s time to talk about how to meal-prep frozen smoothie packs and my four healthy smoothies.
I love to meal-prep smoothies as a quick grab n’ go option whenever I feel like one.
Feel free to use fresh or already frozen fruits.
You can use any freezer-safe container for these including the glass boxes I have used here, re-usable silicone bags, and even freezer-friendly mason jars.
To prepare your smoothie meal-prep containers, the process is very simple. Some people like to freeze elements individually, so nothing sticks together. However, I find it handy to chuck everything in a single container, much more practical.
I keep my protein powder, leafy greens and the fresh fruit and veg all within the box and freeze at once.
Make your own combination and you have four sets of smoothie ingredients ready to be chucked into a blender with your wet ingredients (the liquid, any nut butters, yogurt, etc).
Close each container tightly and place in the freezer. Try to label the containers so you won't get confused when they are in the freezer.
You can also keep these meal-prep containers in the fridge for a few days, but the nutritional value will decrease quickly!
Blending the smoothies
When you are ready to make a smoothie, just add the required liquid (nut milk, coconut water, or yogurt) to your blender/food processor. My favourite liquid is coconut water.
Then add the rest of the ingredients.
Blend till smooth and enjoy!
Any smoothie you make is best consumed immediately.
My favourite healthy smoothie recipe
1 Cup of mixed berries
1 Cup of Coconut water
2 Tbsp of Turmeric/Ginger mix
1 Tbsp of Protein mix
1 Cup of Spinach
A few leaves of mint
Blend them all together and enjoy!