Healthy smoothie recipe

The Right Way to Make a Healthy Smoothie

Smoothies are easy to make, and they can be a quick power boost during the mid-day slump or sweet decadent treat full of whole ingredients.

Making a smoothie is an easy affair.

All you need is a few ingredients and a blender.

And there are so many great smoothie recipes available everywhere.

But it’s also something that’s as easy to mess up.

And I have too many smoothies gone bad stories to tell you.

Too much liquid will make your blend a runny disaster all while overly-stuffed mixed-ins will turn your creation into either soft pulpy mash.

But fear not.

It’s easy to learn how to make a smoothie the right way and once you learn it, you can make all sorts of delicious smoothies right at home.

We’ll also show you how to customize yours to make it just how you want it.

Gluten-free, vegan, non-dairy, and even keto smoothie.

You can make smoothies to meet any dietary restrictions and jam-packed with a day’s worth of nutrients.

A delicious and healthy smoothie recipe can be a fast and tasty breakfast replacement or a healthier alternative to sugar-loaded desserts.

It also offers an easy (and cheap) way to supplement any nutrients you are deficient in.

So take out and dust off your blender, and let’s get blending! 

In this article, I’ll show how to make a smoothie and customize it without fail in 5 simple steps and ingredients you can use in making a smoothie. 

What Do You Put in a Smoothie?

Healthy banana smoothie

There are countless ways to make a smoothie and the variation of ingredients can be just as limitless.

With that said, there is a handful of healthy foods you can use to make your smoothie a healthy, nutritious delight. 

Fruits: Banana, orange, apple, and mango are all rich in fiber and other vitamins like Vitamin C, making them a perfect fruit for weight loss smoothie. 

Not to mention, they are the perfect way to add sweetness to your recipe without added sugar. 

High-antioxidant berries: Berries including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight off aging and boost your immunity and health. 

They are also rich in fiber too. These berries also give your blend vibrant hues of purple and red. 1 cup of them is well sufficient to get your fix of vitamin C you need in a day. 

Dark greens: leafy greens like kale, arugula, and spinach are superfoods that can enrich your smoothie’s nutritional profile. 

They are often high in iron, protein, and other essential vitamins. Pair them with fruit like Apples, pineapples, ginger, orange, an apple, pineapple, orange, and pear to mask the bitterness. With the right pairings, you wouldn’t even know the greens are there. 

Healthy fats: Nuts, seeds, and nut butter are full of healthy monounsaturated fat. They help make your drink more filling and increase satiety. They are also a major source of magnesium, selenium, and copper. 

Vitamin boosters: powders like spirulina, cocoa powder, and turmeric powder can supplement vitamins and minerals that are often lacking in your diet. 

Protein powder also makes your drink a perfect postal workout shake to recover and nourish your body. 

There are many other great clean, healthy foods you can use in smoothies. We’ll be covering many of them in the following step-by-step guide on how to make a smoothie. 

So let’s get down on the nitty-gritty of the smoothie making steps.

What Are the Five Steps to Making a Smoothie?

In many ways, smoothie making is really simple. But without taking the proper steps, it can just as easily turn into a disaster with an inedible blend.

This is because a perfectly creamy and delicious smoothie is built on a few key pillars. And each serves to ensure yours turn out to be as smooth and creamy as it can. 

It’s an intricate mix of a liquid base with mixed-ins, which are often fruits, veggies, and other whole ingredients. 

Power add-one and texture enriching fillers also need to be added to balance things out and bring a consistent texture. 

While it may sound complicated, it’s really not.

Once you learn how it works, it’ll become second nature and you’ll be whipping your smoothie in minutes.

Also, with this guide in hand, no matter what flavors you are going for, you’ll know just how to make it just right.

After many failures myself, here is my easy guide on how to make a smoothie the right way in 5 steps.

Step 1. Add a liquid base

Where I start my smoothie making is with the liquid choice.

Liquids are a necessary part of any smoothies, and it doesn’t have to be plain water. 

Prepare about 1 cup of liquid per serving. But if you are using a lot of ice or frozen fruit, you may need a bit more. 

This liquid choice is your base and you have many great options.

This is also where you can get really picky and choosy based on your dietary preferences.

Here are some of the most common and popular liquid options for a healthy smoothie:

  • Water (safe for all diets)
  • Cow milk (keto and GF)
  • Non-dairy milk: almond, oat, rice, soy (dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, and GF)
  • Coconut water (keto, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, and GF)
  • Juice (100% pineapple, apple, orange juice)
  • Tea (green tea, black tea)

As your base, there are also some liquids you should not opt-in on your smoothies. 

They tend to separate or they may contain loads of sugar and calories you want to avoid.

And that leads us to the list of NOT TO USE! 

  • Sugar-sweetened fruit juice or concentrate
  • Whipped cream
  • Ice cream
  • Sorbet
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Chocolate milk
  • Cocoa mix
  • Canned fruit in syrup

Stick to healthy liquid choices that’ll complement well with other ingredients. 

Step 2. Add mixed-ins (fruits and veggies)

Once the base liquid is picked, it’s time to decide on your main ingredients.

To start, pick your fruits. How much to put those fruits depends on their water content. In other words, how watery is your fruit? 

Fruits with less water are creamier and you need less of. All while fruits like grapes, apples and berries have less mass, so you’ll need to up their portion. Add an additional 1/2 to 1 cup of your fruit choice is non-creamy. 

Pick a couple of different fruits with optional 1 serving of greens. You can use fresh or frozen, but if you use frozen fruits, you may need to adjust your liquid slightly. Have a few extra drips of the liquid base available when using frozen fruits.

While most smoothies are fruit-based, take advantage of nutrients leafy greens offer. They are an easy and budget-friendly way to supplement any nutrients you may be deficient in.

But this too comes with a cautionary note. 

While as much as I’d love to throw in any veggies I can find in my fridge, unfortunately, not veggies can and should go into the blender. I suggest you stick to the vegetables listed below, so you don’t mess up your texture and the taste!

Follow this ingredient guide to make 1 serving:

Simply add these 3 types of mixed-ins: 

creamy fruits, non-creamy fruits, and optional vegetable add-on (highly recommended!)

  1. 1 cup of creamy fruits: banana, avocado, mango, papaya.
  2. 1 cup of non-creamy fruits: blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, apple, pear, pineapple, watermelon, kiwi, orange, peach, fig, lychee.
  3. 1/2 cup of non-starchy vegetables or 1/4 cup of starchy vegetables: Non-starchy vegetables for smoothies: kale (1-2 leaves), spinach, arugula, beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli. Starchy vegetables for smoothies: butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potato

If you are on a low-carb diet, you may want to opt-out of creamy fruits.

If that’s the case, use 2 cups of non-creamy fruits with veggies. To create a thicker consistency, use frozen fruits instead of adding fresh ones.

Step 3. Add thickening fillers

This is an optional step you may omit depending on your smoothie recipe and preference.

If you like your blend to be thicker and smoother, there are several ways you can achieve the result without relying on creamy and starchy fruits and vegetables.

There are many clean, healthy and whole ingredients you can use to thicken and give the creaminess and richness you are looking for. 

Some of the fillers also work to mask the acidity from certain fruits and give your drink a milder, more balanced taste. 

While others serve to bring more satiety and fullness that work really well for those looking to lose weight.

Choose your filler based on 2 factors. If you did not use any creamy fruits, go with really filling filler. Oats, Greek yogurt, nut butter, and coconut milk are some of the examples. 

If you are looking to add more nutrients, fiber, chia seeds, flax seeds, sunflowers, and such would make a great nutritional add-in.

Here are some of the fillers you can use:

Grains: about 1/4 cup

  • Oats (uncooked old-fashioned oats)
  • Quinoa (cooked)
  • Brown rice (cooked)
  • Granola

Seeds: About 1 teaspoon

  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Nuts and other dried ingredients: about 1/8 cup

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Cacao nibs
  • Coconut flakes

Nut Butter: 1 -2 tablespoons

  • Peanut butter
  • Almond butter
  • Seed butter

Others: about 1/4 cup

  • Greek yogurt
  • Yogurt
  • Silky tofu
  • Ice

Adjust the amount depending on how smooth you want and what fruits and veggies you already added. 

If you already have thickening agents like a banana in your smoothie, you may need less of the filler. But if you only added apples and spinach, you may want something heavier to make a smooth drink.

In regards to making smoothie thicker, people often ask if ice is needed. So let’s talk about ice for a second.

Do You Have to Add Ice to Make a Smoothie?

Ice is optional. You don’t necessarily have to add ice to smoothies. A smoothie recipe may call for ice to make it colder and more like a slushy. 

But you can achieve a similar icy texture using frozen fruit like frozen strawberries.

If you prefer not to dilute your smoothie with ice but want to make it icy, you can freeze juice like orange juice and use a cube or two to give a similar effect.

All in all, it’s an option and certainly not a requirement in making a smoothie.

Let’s move on to Step 4.

Step 4. Add Nutrients

Smoothies are a convenient way to fill everything from your stomach, cravings, to daily nutritional needs.

They serve as an excellent meal replacement, mid-day snack, or post-workout snack.

Depending on what your needs are, you can add in an extra nutritional boost to transform your drink into a protein shake, energy booster, or nutritional powerhouse.

If you have picky eaters in your family like me, this is a great way to supplement essential vitamins and minerals with green powders. 

I have added spirulina into my daughter’s blueberry smoothies, spinach into apples and a banana combo, and kale into a blend of strawberries and raspberries. 

Best of all, she loved every single sip to her last! And I really doubt she tasted those greens. 

You can also easily turn yours into a protein shake by adding 1 scoop of protein powder of your choice. From vegan options to whey protein, there are many on the market to choose from.

And don’t let yourself limited to powders here. You can also add a drop of oil like coconut oil, omega-3 fatty acids, MCT oil, and such.

These add-ons help make your smoothie to meet your specific needs. For keto digesters, those additional fats may be critical in keeping the body in ketosis. 

Here are some of the options you can include. You can also skip it altogether.

  • Protein powder
  • Acai powder
  • Spirulina
  • Turmeric
  • Green tea powder
  • Green powder
  • Wheatgerm
  • Antioxidant powder
  • MCT oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Fish oil

Step 5. Add sweeteners and flavors

The last on the list is sweeteners and flavor enhancers. This is really about adding your finishing touch.

The easiest way to take the flavor profile of your smoothie up a notch is to throw in a bit of spice and/or natural sweeteners.

After all, frozen strawberries and kale alone won’t make your smoothie sweet enough to taste. 

And tropical smoothie with fruit juice, orange and pineapple may need something refreshing like mint to break the sweetness.

In other smoothie recipes, spices play a key role. For example, the fall pumpkin smoothie recipe would surely not going to be as aromatic without the cinnamon. Banana strawberries milk smoothie made with vanilla would be far more flavorful and tasty. 

What’s more, some of these flavors-packing ingredients also come with their own merits.

Turmeric and ginger not only have a soothing taste but also have a health benefit that’ll aid with inflammation and the immune system.

Herbs like mint and parsley also contain soothing effects that promote digestion and treat inflammation. 

Cacao powder, in particular, is my favorite as it turns any smoothie into chocolatey heaven without turning them into a sugar bomb or heavy-weight calorie fiasco.

Here, I divided those ingredients into sweeteners and flavor enhancers/spices. Use them as needed.

Natural sweeteners:

  • Honey
  • Agave
  • Maple syrup
  • Dates
  • Apricots

Spices and herbs:

  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Vanilla beans or essence
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Mint
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Lavender
  • Cacao powder
  • Matcha green tea powder 

Blend and Serve

Now that you have all ingredients you need to make a delicious smoothie, it’s time to blend.

While we all get tempted to throw in all ingredients into the blender, how you layer them also makes a difference in the smoothie texture at the end.

The proper layering also protects your blades and keeps your blender in good working condition for the long term.Plus, if you are learning how to make a smoothie, you might as well learn how to layer smoothie ingredients too.

You’ll have a much creamier smoothie at the end.

Let’s start from the bottom closest to your blade and work our way to the top.

Here is a little guide on how to layer your smoothie ingredients.

Place your liquid first: whether it’s orange juice or milk, your liquid base goes first. Hold other liquidy items like Greek yogurt and coconut milk as you put them after the greens.

Place your powders: protein powder, collagen packs, turmeric, cocoa powder and such would go after the liquids. Place leafy greens: if you are adding leafy greens, this is the time to do it.

Heavier, starchy vegetables like pumpkin and sweet potato should go later with fruits. Place your soft and moist ingredients: from yogurt to coconut milk, honey to peanut butter, add all your moist ingredients now.

Place fresh fruits: any fresh items like strawberries, banana, orange, peaches ginger, and other fresh vegetables go here.

Place frozen fruits and ice: Anything that’s frozen goes last. These include frozen strawberries, frozen veggies, and ice.

Once all the ingredients are in the blender, start the blender.

Once your blender stops making chopping sounds, run it for an extra minute or so until it reaches the desired consistency. It should be no more than 2-3 minutes.

Pour into a glass and serve.

Drink it up while it’s still cold and frothy. Don’t let it sit for more than 15-20 minutes as your frozen fruit ingredients will start to get sluggish and ice will begin to melt.

If you are ready to try your hand in making a delicious yet healthy fruit smoothie, here is my basic smoothie recipe.

[tasty-recipe id=”2859″]

Last words

I hope you enjoyed this easy guide on how to make a smoothie. 

By combining fruits, veggies, milk, and other nutrition boosters, you can come up with countless smoothie recipes for your breakfast, snack, and even dessert.

My favorites include the classic banana oat smoothie with 1 banana, 1/4 to 1/2 cup quick oats, 1 cup almond milk, with a tablespoon of nut butter. Drop a teaspoon of honey and cinnamon to make it complete. 

For kiddos in the house, I recommend adding a tablespoon of cocoa powder. It’ll make your smoothie very chocolatey.

You’ll also have a dark chocolate color to disguise any greens you may want to throw in too. Also, don’t forget to double your portion so you can share it!

Since I started living in Hawaii, I also learned to make a tropical smoothie with 1/ 2 cup of orange juice and 1/ 2 cup of pineapple juice. 

Here is what else I use in the tropical goodness. 1 frozen or fresh banana, strawberries about 1 /2 cup, 1/2 cup pineapple and mango together, and 1/2 cup of yogurt. You can also think of it as 1 cup of tropical fruits with any mix including the berries. 

I throw in a handful of ice to make it extra icy. For a low-carb option, omit the fruit juice and use coconut juice or milk instead.

While you can use any blender to make a smoothie, my all-time favorite blender is Vitamix. It’s a powerful blender that can crush any frozen fruit, ice, and blend all ingredients into a smooth drink. 

When picking which blender to use, just make sure you use a blender that can withstand frozen items like frozen fruit and ice.

Want more smoothie recipe ideas?

Check out these 5 delicious fruit smoothies for weight loss here

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