Originally published in January 2016; updated February 2022
Whether you are resolving to eat healthier or just love to start your day with a delicious smoothie, this blog post from Sally Kuzemchak, formerly of our Kitchen Council and creator of Real Mom Nutrition is for you. Here, Sally shares simple smoothie tips to follow when making smoothies at home. Get the ingredients and equipment you need and have fun blending!
As a new year begins and people resolve to eat healthier, many will be firing up their blenders to make smoothies. After all, smoothies have nearly become synonymous with good health, since they’re usually loaded with fresh fruits and veggies. And they truly can be a smart, nutrient-packed breakfast or snack—as long as you keep a few important tips for smoothie making in mind:
The Do’s of Making Smoothies
- Use mostly whole fruit. Instead of using fruit juice, which is a concentrated source of calories. Whole fruit sweetens smoothies just as well and includes ALL the nutrients of the fruit.
- Rinse all your fresh produce, even if you’re going to peel it and even if it’s organic. Dirt from the peel can be pulled inside to the flesh when you’re slicing it.
- Use a protein-rich liquid as a base such as dairy milk or soy milk. (Keep in mind that almond milk is low in protein). Include protein-rich ingredients such as yogurt, nut butter, walnuts, or even tofu. Protein is a nutrient that will make your smoothies satisfying, so you won’t be raiding the cupboards an hour later.
- Include veggies into your smoothies. Veggies are lower in calories than fruit, so it’s wise to have a balance between the two. Start with greens like baby spinach, which has a mild taste that blends well with other flavors. Kale is nutrient-packed, but a bit stronger and slightly bitter, so add a small amount at first until you figure out the ratio that you like best.
- Use fruit that will act as a natural sweetener. Apples especially can add an intense sweetness to your smoothies with the natural sugars they contain.
- Use a high-powdered blender designed to pulverize, or you’ll end up with a smoothie that’s not so smooth!
- Switch up the ingredients in your smoothies so you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. For a great
smoothie idea, start here.
- Be mindful of portions. Smoothies can be super healthy, but they still have calories. Turn to the single-serving cup that comes with your blender. Use the larger cups when you’re sharing a smoothie or to make one for a snack later or breakfast tomorrow.
The Don’ts of Making Smoothies:
- Don’t add lots of fruit juice to your smoothies. Choose to use fresh fruit instead as to not add any more artificial sugars!
- Do not toss in unwashed fruits! I know it can be tempting to skip the rinsing process to quickly dump everything into the blender, but unwashed fruits are unwashed fruits!
- Don’t skimp on protein. Protein is what will make your smoothies filling, and keep your stomach satisfied longer.
- You can’t forget your veggies! Adding veggies to your smoothies is a great way to increase your vegetable intake without tasting them.
- Try not to use much (if any) added sweetener. If you are going to use a sweetener, try a natural one such as organic honey!
- Don’t settle for a wimpy blender. Have you ever had a smoothie with chunks of fruit that didn’t quite blend? Smoothies are much easier to enjoy when they are smooth!
- Don’t fall into a smoothie rut of making the same one every time. Try adding in new greens or a different combination of fruits and veggies to always be giving your body a variety of vitamins and nutrients.
- Avoid slurping them down with reckless abandon. Make sure you are being mindful in your smoothie preparation and take a moment to think about the benefits you will receive from your fresh fruits and veggies for the day!
Try these smoothie tips and leave us a comment below on your thoughts. Have any tricks of your own? We’d love to hear your favorite ways to craft smoothies!