The temperature is getting hotter and that means it’s prime smoothie season. Not only is a cold breakfast smoothie refreshing in the hot weather, but lots more fruit is in season now, too! If you haven’t already, join our Loyalty Program and enter for a chance to win a Vitamix Professional Series Blender! Now, let’s talk about building the ideal smoothie with our smoothie guide. Nutritionally, the key is to make sure your smoothie contains protein, high fiber carbohydrates, and fat — the combo that keeps your blood sugar stable. The problem with many smoothies, especially those you can buy at a smoothie shop or restaurant, is that they often don’t have as much protein, and/or they contain lots of added sugar in the form of vanilla yogurt, sherbet, fruit juice, or a pre-made mix with added sweeteners. Flavor-wise, you want a combination that isn’t overly sweet, but is super flavorful. Here’s our smoothie guide to help you build the most delicious, nutritious smoothie.
The Perfect Smoothie Guide
Step one: Choose the liquid/base (about 8-10 ounces)
Options: Dairy milk, calcium-fortified dairy alternative beverages (soy/hemp/almond/rice/coconut milk), plain yogurt, coconut water, and even iced tea or coffee.
Why? The base helps to meld all the components together and can also affect the flavor and texture. The more liquid you add, the thinner your smoothie will be. If you freeze part of your liquid, your smoothie will be very thick and cold, sort of like a slush. Many liquid options (milk, fortified dairy alternatives) add calcium, too. And if you use dairy milk and/or yogurt, you’re adding protein as well (see step five of our smoothie guide).
Step two: Add fruit (1-2 cups)
Options: Fresh or frozen fruit of any kind. Get creative with different combinations — you certainly don’t have to stick with just one type of fruit in a smoothie. Fruit is where you get your high fiber carbohydrates from, so stick to no more than 2 pieces of fruit (2 cups) per smoothie.
Why? Here is your major sweetness contributor. Fruit also provides flavor and color to your smoothie. It also contributes fiber and antioxidants.
Step three: Add veggies (1/2-1 cup, optional)
Options: Fresh veggies work well. Hearty greens, like kale and spinach, incorporate well and impart a pretty green color and earthy flavor. Celery or cucumber provides a fresh, clean flavor. Carrots and red or yellow bell pepper lend a subtle sweetness and will prevent your red berry smoothie from turning brown by adding greens if you care about that sort of thing! Cooked and cooled cauliflower makes smoothies extra rich and creamy.
Why? These contribute color, fiber, antioxidants, and a neat flavor profile…plus you start the day off with a veggie serving!
Step four: Add fat (1 tablespoon)
Options: Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, hemp, flax, etc.), nut butters (peanut, almond, etc.), avocado, cold-pressed oils, coconut, or cacao nibs.
Why? Not only does fat lend a rich, creamy consistency to smoothies, it makes them more satisfying and allows your body to fully absorb the fat-soluble nutrients from the fruits and veggies.
Step five: Add protein (about 10-15 grams worth)
Options: Silken tofu, pasteurized egg whites, unsweetened protein powder, plain Greek yogurt.
Why? If you’re using dairy milk and/or yogurt, you can either skip the additional protein or throw it in on top of the dairy protein. Protein is a key component of a smoothie because it helps keep you satisfied!
Step six: Add fun flavors (a pinch!)
Options: Green tea leaves (or matcha powder), cinnamon, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, instant espresso, fresh or dried mint, lemon/lime zest.
Why? These additions contribute flavor components to smoothies that can completely change one of your usual smoothies in one simple addition.