There’s no denying that smoothies are actually pretty easy to make: throw healthy ingredients into the blender, press down the button . . . and voila. I mean you can’t go wrong, but can it be better?
With the right tricks and tactics, you can make a smoothie that’s bursting with nutrients, has just the correct thickness, and still tastes amazing. From superfoods and preparing ingredients to kicking up the nutritional value, here are some essential tips to help you create the proper smoothie.
1. Prep First
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s one of the most important tips. Always prep your smoothie ingredients ahead of time so that you’re not running around in a mad panic trying to find something when you’re ready to make your morning shake. So chop up some fruit, wash and de-stem your greens, and portion out your nut butter and protein powders before you go to bed. That way, all you have to do is toss the ingredients together in the morning.
2. Make it Fresh
Use fresh, whole ingredients whenever possible. That really is the golden rule. When you’re picking out ingredients for your smoothie, go for the freshest options available. Not only will it taste better, but you’ll also get the most nutrients from them too. If possible, try to buy organic ingredients like fruit and vegetables that have not been sprayed with chemicals or pesticides.
3. Start with Liquid
Most of us have learned this through trial and error: start with a liquid base, like coconut water or nut milk, and then add in leafy greens such as spinach or kale. Lastly, throw in other ingredients like fruits and vegetables. This will help to create the right consistency for your smoothie. See there is some order in making smoothies.
4. Add Some Greens
Another easy way to make your smoothies healthier is by adding some greens. Spinach, kale, and chard are all great options as they’re packed with vitamin K, as well as vitamins A,C,E and minerals, like iron. Again, start small with a handful of greens and then build up from there.
5. Use Frozen Fruit
Frozen fruit is not only cheaper, but it also makes the smoothie much thicker and creamier. And if you’re using fresh fruit, pop it in the freezer overnight so that your smoothie won’t require any additional ice. Pro tip: look for discount bags of fresh bananas (those ugly ones) that most people wouldn’t buy and freeze them.
6. Know Your Protein
The best thing about smoothies is that you get all your nutrients in a one shot. For protein, start with natural protein sources such as Greek yogurt, peanut butter, hemp seeds, almonds, chia seeds, or oatmeal. If you need to dial it up, add a protein powder as well, but remember we really only absorb about 20-25 g of protein per meal. If you’re doubling a morning batch to have a smoothie later, don’t forget to double it up.
7. Don’t Forget Healthy Fats
This one is often overlooked. But remember, with a smoothie, we’re shooting for a well-balanced meal — and that includes healthy fats. Fats are a crucial source of essential fatty acids, and without them your body wouldn’t be able to properly absorb important vitamins like A, D, and E. Fats can also make a smoothie even more creamy smooth. You can add avocado, nut butter, flax, a spoonful of coconut oil, or a handful of nuts or seeds.
8. Stick with Natural Sweeteners
When it comes to sweetening your smoothie, there are lots of natural options. Bananas and dates make for great natural sweeteners; you can also try adding a bit of honey or maple syrup. If you want to keep sugar levels low, then use monk fruit extract as an all-natural zero-calorie alternative to regular sugar. If you’re trying to watch your weight, you might want to double-check the calories per tablespoon. Even natural sweeteners can add up.
9. Increase Thickness with Bananas or Ice Cubes
Bananas are a smoothie lover’s gold standard for achieving the perfect thickness and creamy texture. Add one and you’ll instantly get an extra-thick consistency.
If bananas aren’t your thing, never underestimate the power of ice. Crafting a frosty and thick smoothie requires frozen ingredients, even if it’s just plain ice. For optimal results, blend all ingredients together before adding ice cubes. This will ensure a consistently delicious texture and flavor.
10. Invest in a Good Blender
A solid, well-designed, and powerful blender does make a world of difference. Getting the right texture and consistency starts there, and makes it much easier to make tasty as well as nutrient-packed smoothies. Investing in a high-quality blender is well worth it if you plan to make smoothies regularly. Plus, you won’t have to worry about it breaking down in the middle of a busy morning.
11. Track Your Calories and Macros (at least to start)
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your smoothie, tracking your calories is a great way to start. Once you have a better idea of how much calories, fat, carbs, and protein you’re consuming in each smoothie, it’ll be easier to adjust it to meet your dietary needs. This can also help you avoid adding too many healthy yet calorie-dense ingredients like maple syrup, nut butter, and avocado. It’s a bit of work at first, but you wouldn’t need to do it each time. If you’re making super yummy smoothies, looking at overall calories and macros can help give it perspective.
12. Experiment with Superfoods
Let’s face it, where else are you going to add Goji berries? If you’re looking to make your smoothie even healthier, then consider adding some superfoods. Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods that offer more health benefits than other types of food. Examples include goji berries, chia seeds, acai berry powder, maca, camu camu, and spirulina. Adding one or two of these foods can make a big difference in nutrient density without adding a lot of calories.
13. Get Creative With Your Smoothie Ingredients
Last but not least, have some fun with your smoothie recipes. Experiment a little and try different combinations of ingredients until you find the perfect blend. You can also add some spices like turmeric, cinnamon, or ginger to boost the nutrition of your smoothies even more. The best part is that there are no rules when it comes to making smoothies. As long as you add healthy and nutritious ingredients, the possibilities are endless.
Final Words on Making a Better Smoothie
Keep these tips in mind next time you’re whipping up a smoothie. As you can see, there are a few simple things you can do to take your smoothies from good to great. With the perfect balance of fruits and veggies, you can’t go wrong. By adding a little bit of protein and healthy fats, you’ll be sure to stay full until lunchtime. Just remember to have fun and experiment with different ingredients until you find what works best for you.