Maybe you hear lots of talk about them but you’re not sure exactly how to make a smoothie. It’s super easy, and today I will not only tell you how to make one but share a list of smoothie ingredients that can be used to help you change up the flavors and textures while providing many nutrients. Because summer is a great time to enjoy healthy smoothies for meals, snacks, and treats.
How to Make a Smoothie
What you Need
1. A blender – You need some type of blender. It can be an inexpensive counter top blender, a high-speed blender (my favorite is Blendtec) or something like a Magic Bullet. A high-speed blender produces the smoothest texture and is recommended for certain foods like kale that can be difficult to blend. But smoothies don’t have to be perfectly smooth to be enjoyed, so use whatever you have to get started.
2. Liquid – You need to add some liquid to your smoothie to help blend together the solid foods. How much you add is a matter of preference as well as helping your blender to function and blend well. I recommend starting with a cup of liquid (see options below). You can add more during the process if needed.
3. Ingredients – There is a wide variety of possible ingredients that can be used. Fruits and vegetables are usually the main ingredients with small amounts of things like seeds and nut butter if desired. Usually, something frozen such as frozen fruit or ice cubes is used to make the smoothie cold.
4. Sweetener – Adding sweetener is completely optional. Fruit or fruit juice can be used as a sweetener or you can add other sweeteners such as those listed below. If you are using little or no fruit, if your fruit is more on the tart side, or if you are using something particularly sour such as plain yogurt, you might want to add a sweetener. My favorite way to sweeten is with a little bit of fruit and stevia. My family likes a sweeter smoothie so I add more fruit and a little honey to theirs.
What to Do
Fruits and vegetables should be washed, peeled (necessary for foods like oranges, otherwise optional) and cored, and cut into chunks (depending on your blender).
You should follow the instructions for the blender you are using. Some might say to put harder ingredients on top and others say on the bottom. But basically, you combine all your ingredients in your blender jar and turn it on. You should also follow your blender instructions regarding speed. Some recommend starting out on a low speed and going higher and others vice versa.
How to Use Smoothies
With a Meal – One benefit of smoothies is that you are consuming raw fruit and vegetables, which means vitamins aren’t lost in the cooking process. I primarily use smoothies at lunch time as my vegetable, but I also make them at dinner time. My husband and kids enjoy smoothies, and especially in the warm summer months, it’s a welcome change to eating a hot vegetable with dinner. And because you are combining ingredients, smoothies are a great way to disguise vegetables that your kids might not eat by themselves.
As a Sweet Treat – Smoothies made primarily or completely of fruit make a great alternative to ice cream and popsicles. Add a little sweetener if you need to. Use frozen fruit and add water or juice to make a thick smoothie that you eat with a spoon or add more liquid for a slushie type drink. You can also freeze them in popsicle molds or silicone tubes. Yogurt makes a nice addition to sweet fruit smoothies too for a creamier option.
As a Snack – Because you can put a variety of ingredients, including some protein, in a smoothie, it’s perfect for a snack. It will also refresh you and help to perk you up!
Here is a list of possible smoothie ingredients, but it is not complete. Just about any fruit or vegetable could be used, though some blend better than others. Usually, I use fruit in frozen form.
- Avocado (this will really thicken your smoothie)
- Fresh basil
- Fresh parsley
- Dandelion greens
- Sprouts (I like sunflower sprouts)
- Pumpkin (cooked or canned)
I like using flavored seltzer water in smoothies because it adds fruit flavor without the sugars found in fruit (I really have to watch my sugar intake). But because of the carbonation, it does not work in a tightly closed blender container such as the Magic Bullet.
- Seltzer water (see note above)
- Milk substitutes (such as homemade cashew milk)
You can add any sweetener you like. Here are a few of my favorites.
These ingredients can add nutrition and texture to your smoothie.
- Gluten-free oats
- Nut butter
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- Protein powder (collagen hydrolysate is my favorite)
- Yogurt (regular or Greek, flavored or plain)
- Raw egg (only if using eggs from healthy chickens and not recommended for everyone. Read more of my thoughts on raw eggs here.)
Smoothies are an easy and nutritious way to make sure you and your family eat plenty of vegetables. If you don’t make them regularly, now it a great time to start! If you do enjoy making smoothies, what would you add to this list of ingredients?