How to Make a Healthy Smoothie

Make a smoothie that is satisfying, tasty, and won't leave you with a sugar crash.

Picture of green vegetables and fruit as well as a green juice and mesh grocery bag

Smoothies are an excellent way to pack in lots of nutrients however, they can also be quite the sugar bomb. Smoothies tend to have a "health halo" making you think all smoothies are extremely good for you but in reality they are not all created equal. Some are full of only sugar while others can have a balance of nutrients and can be a nutritious meal or snack.


To make a smoothie that is balanced, satisfying, and won't cause a sugar crash, there are a couple components to think about: the liquid you are using, protein, fruit, vegetables, and healthy fats: I will break this down further below.


Components of Healthy Smoothie

Picture of a blender with spinach, apples, and banana

Liquid: you want to ditch making your smoothies with juice. This is the biggest downfall I see in smoothies. While there is nothing wrong with the sugar in fruit, juice is like a mega dose of fruit and is stripped of the fiber that whole fruit provides. This fiber is good for many reasons but in regards to satisfying smoothies, fiber helps to prevent a sugar crash. Even if you aren't able to completely leave out the juice, consider using 50% juice and 50% one of the liquids I have listed below. I promise that you can still have a tasty and satisfying smoothie without the juice!


Keep in mind that when you buy smoothies out, they are most likely using juice as the liquid. You can always ask what liquid they are using and as for them to use an alternative - super easy way to drastically cut back on the sugar in smoothies!

  • Water

  • I know opting to use water in your smoothie sounds rather lack luster but I promise it still tastes good!

  • Another trick I like to use is add 1/2 an orange to the smoothie and still use water as the liquid. You kind of have the taste of adding orange juice but with less sugar and more fiber.

  • Unsweetened nut milk

  • This is a low sugar way to add some creaminess to your smoothie

  • Coconut water


Fruit: when choosing the fruit to add to a smoothie this is really what determines the flavor of the smoothie. You can choose any fruit you like and you want to make sure at least most of the fruit you are using is frozen.


I know some people may be afraid of using banana because of the sugar content but in general, I would not worry too much about the sugar that is naturally occurring in fruit. Yes, it is there but it is combined with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, the if you really don't want to use banana, the smoothie recipe below does not have banana in it.

  • You can use any fruit you like!

  • Berries

  • These are the lowest in sugar and highest in fiber

  • Banana

  • Adds creaminess and sweetness to a smoothie. Choose less brown bananas for less sugar but keep in mind these will also be less sweet

Vegetable: it's always a good idea to add a veggie to your smoothie! Why not, right?? They are rather tasteless but can really increase the fiber, vitamins, and minerals in the smoothie. It's a great way to get more veggies in your diet, especially when you're burnt out on eating salads. Some of the veggies listed below sound a little exotic to add to smoothies but I promise you can't taste. I recommend starting out by adding a small amount and once you see that I'm telling the truth you can start to add more ;)

  • Spinach

  • Will turn your smoothie green but you can't taste it

  • Kale

  • Will turn your smoothie green but you can't taste it

  • Frozen cauliflower

  • Flavorless but won't turn your smoothie green if that's an issue

  • Zucchini

  • Flavorless, won't turn your smoothie green, and can make the texture thicker and creamier

Protein: next we want to make sure that there is protein in your smoothie. This helps to keep you full, satisfied, and balance your blood sugar. I have some protein options listed below.

  • Plain Greek yogurt

  • Protein powder

  • Tofu

  • Hemp seeds

  • Nut butters

Healthy fat: by adding healthy fat you are also helping to increase satisfaction and balance your blood sugar (aka avoid the sugar crash). Not to mention, the fat sources listed below are packed with lots of other good nutrients. You can view them as "nutrient boosters"

  • Nut butters

  • Chia seeds

  • Hemp seeds

  • Ground flax seeds

  • Coconut

  • Avocado

  • Flavorless and adds creaminess

Extras: these things aren't essential to your smoothie but some options to change up the flavor and add more nutrients!

  • Ginger

  • Can add a little bit of a spiciness

  • Dates

  • Adds sweetness and fiber

  • Lemon

  • Sometimes I like to add a little tarte flavor to my smoothies. I like this best in smoothies with ginger.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothie

Current Favorite Smoothie Recipe

Overhead shot of a cup of smoothie with raspberries and peanut butter on top


Smoothie Ingredients

  • 1 cup raspberries

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups unsweetened nut milk (almond milk, hemp seed milk, cashew milk, etc.)

  • 2-3 handfuls spinach

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

  • 1-2 dates

  • 1 scoop collagen (optional)

  • **If leaving out the collagen, recommend adding 1-2 tablespoons hemp seeds for protein

Instructions

  • Throw it all in the blender, blend it up & enjoy!

MORE SMOOTHIE RECIPES

  • I highly recommend checking out the Nutrition Stripped website. She is a fellow dietitian with a ton of amazing recipes but I especially love how creative she is with her smoothies recipes.

TIPS

  • If you are looking for a good brand of nut milk, I recommend Elmhurst. There is no added junk - just the nuts and water. There is a "find us" option on their website so you can see where to buy this milk near you.

  • If you are feeling a little adventurous, you can try making your own nut milk! I have a reel on Instagram explaining how to do so. It's much easier than you think. Click here to see the post.

AMAZON FAVORITE SMOOTHIE ACCESSORIES

  • Decomposable straws: these aren't paper and won't disintegrate in your mouth

  • Nut milk bag: in case you decide to make your own

  • Small Hydroflask: I LOVED this when I was going into the office for work. I am not somebody who is hungry right when I first wake up so I would bring my breakfast to work with me and eat there. However, if I brought my smoothie in a regular container, it would melt by the time I was ready to drink it. With this Hydroflask, you smoothie stays the same temperature and does not melt for HOURS. It's pretty amazing. I also use it for coffee as well as it will also keep your coffee warm for hours.

  • Vitamix: expensive but worth the money if you cook often

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