Smoothies can be a great source of a wide variety of macronutrients and micronutrients. While most people probably think of green smoothies when they hear the term “healthy smoothie”, depending on your dietary requirements your ideal blender meal might turn out any number of colors.
These are four healthy smoothie recipes we love for their varied ingredients and health benefits. Of course, it’s important to remember that not all smoothies are necessarily healthy. Sadly, blending food doesn’t automatically make it nutritious!
Facts and Reminders About Smoothies
- Smoothies can be less satiating than solid meals, even when they’re high in protein
- It can be easy to consume a lot of calories quickly in liquid form, especially if your smoothie is high in healthy fats
- Meals consumed in liquid form go down faster and lack the act of chewing (taking more time to chew and enjoy food helps the body realize when it’s time to stop eating)
Despite these potential drawbacks to smoothies, blended beverages can be a beneficial part of a healthy diet. As long as you exercise portion control, don’t overuse smoothies in your meal plan, and buy the right ingredients, you should have no problem enjoying healthy smoothies as part of your weight loss program.
How Do You Make a Healthy Smoothie?
You can certainly make a smoothie using a food processor or a number of other kitchen implements, but most people find it easiest to use a powerful blender. If you’re using a less powerful brand, make sure to cut the ingredients up small and use extra liquid when necessary.
Popular smoothie ingredients include:
- Fresh or frozen vegetables such as kale, spinach, cucumber, and carrots
- Fresh or frozen fruits such as bananas, mango, avocado, or watermelon
- Spices and flavourings such as fresh ginger, powdered cocoa, or dried coconut
A number of healthy and diet-friendly options are also available for the liquid in your smoothies:
- Water! Never forget that you can use water (and ice!) in your smoothies
- Almond milk
- Soy milk
- Cashew milk
- Rice milk
- Coconut milk
- Yogurt/Greek yogurt
- Fruit or vegetable juices (use these sparingly!)
Once you’ve established which base ingredients you’ll enjoy, benefit from, and buy, it’s time to test your taste buds with one of these smoothie recipes. Remember to measure your ingredients (including liquids) so you can track calories.
Recipe #1: Green Smoothie
This simple smoothie recipe comes from Taylor Stinson at TheGirlOnBloor.com. It’s an excellent example of how easy it can be to create a satisfying smoothie with healthy ingredients you might have in your fridge. It’s also an easy base recipe to embellish upon. Feel free to enhance with your favorite flavors!
Green Smoothie Ingredients:
- 1 cup baby spinach
- ½ of a green apple (chopped)
- 1 banana
- your choice of liquid.
The apple and banana blend for a balanced sweet/tart flavor depending on ripeness, and the spinach adds an extra kick of fiber, vitamins and minerals. On a hot day, a handful of ice will make this especially refreshing!
Health Benefits: This recipe is low in overall calories and contains a hearty serving of spinach, which is a good source of magnesium, folate, vitamin K, and other crucial micronutrients.
Recipe #2: Orange Ginger Carrot Smoothie
This healthy smoothie recipe contains a much more complex array of ingredients than the green smoothie, but the complex favor may be a favorite for fans of fresh ginger.
Orange Ginger Carrot Smoothie Ingredients:
- 1 frozen banana (or fresh)
- 1 cup fresh orange slices
- 1/3 cup grated carrot
- 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 handful ice cubes (optional)
Even though the ingredients are more diverse than some smoothie recipes, the process is the same. Blend all the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth, and then enjoy!
Health Benefits: Hemp hearts are a complete protein and a good source of antioxidants. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, and fresh ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory effects and other benefits.
Recipe #3: Pineapple Kale Smoothie
This vegan smoothie comes from Amanda at MindfulAvocado.com. Like the other green smoothie on this list, it is easy to make with a few ingredients and can be adapted to your needs.
Pineapple Kale Smoothie Ingredients:
- Almond milk (or other plant-based milk)
You can change this smoothie recipe up easily by using different combinations of fresh and frozen fruit.
Health Benefits: Kale is popular in smoothies for a reason! It’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. Pineapple contains lots of vitamin C as well as digestive enzymes that help your body get the most out of the meal.
Recipe #4: Sunrise Sweet Potato Smoothie
This unique smoothie recipe was posted by Cassie Johnston at Wholefully.com.
Sunrise Sweet Potato Smoothie Ingredients:
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup roasted sweet potato (either chunks or puree)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional!)
- 1 cup unsweetened milk (any kind you like!)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A dash of cinnamon
- A handful of ice cubes if desired
Cassie recommends combining the main ingredients in the blender and then sweetening to suit your palate with the maple syrup. When combined correctly, it should taste “like a pie in a glass”.
Health Benefits: Sweet potatoes are a great source of B vitamins and vitamin C. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties and contains a number of antioxidants.
Creating Your Own Custom Smoothies
Now that you know the different ways that smoothie ingredients can be used and combined, consider inventing the perfect recipe for your unique diet. If you don’t know what types of foods are best for your body, you may be interested in our clinical nutrition program. Among other things, it analyzes your body’s needs and provides you with a custom-tailored nutrition plan.
If you’re ready to get started, feel free to contact us any time! We’d love to hear from you and help you achieve your healthy lifestyle goals.