I haven't always loved smoothies. I knew they could be a great way to boost fruit and vegetable intake, but wasn't really a huge fan of most of the smoothies I tried.
And now I know why: I didn't know what I was doing...
It seems like everyone says you can toss pretty much any random fruit and veggies you like into a blender to make a good smoothie, but the reality is sometimes they can come out pretty gross. I've made plenty of smoothies with weird textures or over-powering flavors that just didn't come out like I planned.
But I've finally figured out some key tricks for smoothies that come out really well just about every time - there's still the occasional dud, but just like most things in life,
it's a learning process! These days, I'm constantly trying new things in smoothies and the results have been great! The variety of fruit and veggies I get into my day
has greatly increased, and I've also noticed I have more energy. I hope these tips will help you enjoy smoothies as much as I do now!
Here are a six tips I've found for making successful smoothies...
1. Liquid options for different types of smoothies:
- 100% juice with water (1/4 juice with water added to make up the remaining liquid) - Use a juice/water combo in smoothies that contain vegetables for a sweeter flavor. You only need a
little juice for a lot of flavor, so just use the 1/4 cup, and use water for the rest to save extra sugar and calories.
- Milk (cow's milk or non-dairy milks like almond, soy, cashew, coconut, or rice milk) - I only use milk in smoothies that contain chocolate or peanut butter. I personally don't like the
flavor of milk with fruit-based smoothies. Brewed (and cooled) coffee also goes well with smoothies that contain milk, chocolate, or peanut butter.
- Brewed unsweetened tea (green tea, black tea, flavored teas) - Brewed (and cooled) tea goes well in smoothies that have leafy green veggies. You can also brew tea and freeze it in
ice-cube trays so it's ready for quick use in the future. Apples also go really well in smoothies that use tea as the liquid base.
2. For a creamier smoothie:
- Start with frozen fruit - Banana and mango are two of the best fruits to add a natural sweet flavor and creamy texture to smoothies.
- Yogurt can also add a creamy texture plus a boost of protein and calcium.
- Avocado adds even more creamy texture if you're already using yogurt in the smoothie. Just know depending on what else you have in the smoothie the color might look a little strange, so stick to light-colored fruits and liquids if color is important to you.
- Peanut butter or PB2 (powdered de-fatted peanuts) makes a great creamy smoothie, but goes better in milk/coffee/chocolate based smoothies rather than with fruit. (unless it's banana, because we all know peanut butter and banana is a magical combo!)
3. When adding veggies:
- Use whatever greens you like (it doesn't have be kale!). Fresh spinach leaves are much milder than kale and still have great nutrition. You can even use romaine lettuce or spring mix in smoothies.
- Try beets in smoothies. They give a beautiful deep color and creamy texture. Cinnamon goes really well with beets so I always add cinnamon to cut the strong earthy flavor they have.
- To keep a beautiful green color, avoid adding dark berries (blueberries or blackberries) to leafy greens. The result will be a brownish-purple-green color. Instead, light fruits such as mango, banana, or apples will help keep that rich green color.
- Use fruit with veggies. Fruit will make the smoothie sweet so you don't have to add other sweeteners.
4. To save time:
- Place all smoothie ingredients except the liquid) in small baggies or containers in individual portions. Freeze them until ready to use.
5. To control portions:
- Keep smoothies portions to 12-16 ounces per serving, which is about 1 1/2-2 cups. One of the big issues with weight loss and smoothies is consuming huge portions which can have large
amounts of sugar and calories. Remember, it's possible to eat too much of almost any food, even healthy ones like fruit and veggies.
6. The number one, most important tip I have is:
- Blend your smoothies for at least 1 minute. Even if you have a fancy blender, follow this tip. Blending everything together for at least a full minute makes for a smoothie that will hold for a longer time in the refrigerator. You don't have to blend it much longer than that, but the full minute makes a huge difference in the end result. I've made green smoothies that have held for 24 hours in the refrigerator and still looked and tasted exactly the same as when I made them using this trick. My favorite beet smoothie can be made days in advance. No separation or weird color changes. The other thing blending smoothies for a longer time helps with is making sure everything is blended and dissolved completely. No more bits of blueberry skin stuck in your teeth or random pieces of kale hiding in the smoothie!
Use these tools to go forth and enjoy adding drinkable fruit and veggies into your day! If you'd like some ideas to get started, here are some of the previous smoothies I've made on the blog:
And below you'll find a delicious green tea mango smoothie that you have got to try!
Green Tea Mango-Apple Smoothie
Makes 1 smoothie
- 8 ounces brewed green tea, cooled
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup frozen mango
- 1/2 cup chopped apple
- 1/2 cup spinach leaves
- 2-3 ice cubes
- Place all ingredients in blender and blend at least one minute, or until completely smooth.