Learn how to make a smoothie for a delicious, healthy start to your day! Bring your own creation to life or check out the BEST breakfast smoothie recipes we could find.
Are all smoothies healthy?
Smoothies have a fantastic reputation. They’re known for being both easy to make and easy to consume on the go… AND they’re known for being healthy. However, this isn’t always the case, so it’s important to consider the ingredients you’re using if nutrition is a priority for you.
Smoothies often use a lot of fruit, and fruit is usually very high in sugar (as well as all the great vitamins and minerals). Balancing your fruit with low-sugar ingredients (like greens and veggies, plain yogurt, oats, seeds, etc.) helps you take in all the healthy benefits while keeping your sugar and carbs in check. This also helps provide long-term energy, not just a quick sugar rush that will have you miserable before lunch.
How to make a Smoothie
The best smoothies involve a bit of a balancing act. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the taste and texture of their smoothies, so there’s no perfect formula for the perfect smoothie. I can share the green fruit smoothie “base” recipe I love, though:
2 cups fruit + 1-1 1/2 cup liquid + 1-2 cups greens + 1/2 cup yogurt + spices/cocoa powder/extract
Here’s some guidance on choosing types and amounts of ingredients for a great smoothie that fits your needs:
- FRUIT – Using frozen fruit often leads to a smoother texture and a more flavorful smoothie because you don’t have to water it down with ice. Frozen bananas have a soft-serve texture, so that’s perfect for people who would rather start the day with a milkshake! Berries, mangos, and pineapple are all very popular in smoothies.
- CITRUS SLICES – Adding orange, grapefruit, or other citrus slices is perfect for a burst of flavor. I’d recommend keeping this to 1/2 cup or below for a good balance between added liquid and added pulp.
- VEGETABLES – Avocados, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, beats, peas, celery, cucumber, even zucchini can be tossed into smoothies! If you have the chance to puree these, it will result in a smoother finished product.
- GREENS – Spinach has a very mild flavor that is easy to cover up with cocoa powder if you’re struggling to get your daily dose of leafy greens! No matter what greens you choose, I recommend blending the greens FIRST with some liquid before adding other ingredients. This helps ensure that they are very well processed, leaving fewer chances for spinach to end up in your teeth. Lightly steamed greens also blend smoother (this can be done ahead of time, then freeze into 1/4 cup servings in a muffin tin).
- LIQUID – There are SO many options, and different smoothies work best with different liquids. You can start with 1 cup and then add 1/4 cup at a time until the smoothie reaches your preferred consistency. Keep scrolling down to the next section for details about the best liquids for smoothies.
- YOGURT – This isn’t a necessary ingredient, but it adds a great creaminess, thickens the smoothie, and is the perfect opportunity to work in some probiotics or extra protein into your diet. We love Greek yogurt as it’s nice and thick. Watch the sugar content as smoothies are often pretty high in sugar already.
- NUT/SEED BUTTERS – These work as a thickener, and usually they add a lot of protein to keep you full for longer. I recommend sticking to 1/4-1/2 cup. You may need to add another 1/4-1/2 cup of liquid to thin out your smoothie.
- POWDERS – Protein, cocoa, collagen powders, etc. can have great benefits, and smoothies are the perfect way to consume these. Cocoa powder adds flavor, and I recommend keeping that to 1-3 tablespoons (depending on the intensity of the flavor you prefer). For protein and collagen powders, follow their serving sizes… Usually around 1/4 cup. Because these absorb moisture, you will likely want to add an additional 1/4-1/2 cup liquid.
- SWEETENERS – Honey, maple syrup, liquid monk fruit… These all work beautifully because you can start small (usually 2 teaspoons or a tablespoon) and add until it’s perfect for you. Smoothies with all fruit and dairy may need no sweetener at all, but smoothies heavy on vegetables may benefit from more sweetener. You can use granulated sugar if you prefer, but it doesn’t blend quite as well as the liquid forms.
- FLAVOR ENHANCERS – Cocoa powder, extracts, ginger (fresh or powdered), turmeric, cinnamon, etc. all have their own huge benefits! For dried spices, I start with 1/4 teaspoon and increase as needed. 1-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder works depending on the intensity of the chocolatey flavor you want. For exacts, I usually start with 1/2 teaspoon and increase from there.
What is the best liquid to add to a smoothie?
The liquid in smoothies can affect the flavor and texture of a smoothie, so you should consider all your options to make the BEST smoothie for you. Here are some common liquids you might want to try.
- Water – This choice is usually free and adds no calories, carbs, or fat to your smoothie. Because it’s thin, you usually want to add less water than you would milk. This is possibly the healthiest option, but it can water down the flavor in your smoothie. If you love the thin texture but want more nutrients, try coconut milk instead.
- Milks – Dairy or non-dairy alternatives provide flavor, minerals, and vitamins. They are usually creamy and most often create a thicker texture than water or juice. For more details about dairy-free milk alternatives, keep scrolling to the next section.
- Juices – This is a great way to add flavor without adding fat. Juices are thin like water, but even more flavorful than milk. Switching out or mixing juices is a great way to boost your favorite taste or create new flavor combinations.
- Fortified drinks – If you’re looking to consume the most nutrients possible in a small smoothie, using fortified drinks or meal replacement drinks is a great way to achieve that. Replace milk with an Ensure shake or replace your normal juice with a fortified juice with added vitamins. These may have more calories or carbs, so keep an eye on those if that’s a priority for you.
- Coffee – This isn’t a super commonly used smoothie liquid, but it can be a great way to combine your morning caffeine with your breakfast. Keep some cold brew in your fridge and combine it with yogurt, spinach, and cocoa powder for a healthy mocha smoothie.
- Kombucha – This one is super uncommon, but it can be great to switch up your routine! These fermented drinks add loads of great nutrients and probiotics. If you’re new to kombucha, start with small amounts as it can be quite strong at first.
For a fun, not-healthy option, did you know you can even use wine?! This Mango Moscato smoothie is just two ingredients–Frozen mango chunks with a light, tasty moscato. This is perfect for girls’ day by the pool!
Can you make vegan smoothies?
Yes, you can easily make a vegan smoothie by using juice or non-dairy milk in your smoothie! Soy, almond, and oak milk are likely the most common dairy-free alternatives. Cashew milk and macadamia nut milk are super creamy and work great for smoothies, too.
Hemp milk, rice milk, or coconut milk can definitely be used, but they’re very thin (like skim milk). This can make the smoothie feel “watery,” so you may want to start with 3/4th of the amount, then add more if needed.
How to make a smoothie bowl
Smoothie bowls are often just thicker versions of drinkable smoothies, so you eat them with a spoon. If you prefer eating your ice cream after it’s melted some and achieves that nice, soft texture, smoothie bowls might be right up your alley! You can also top smoothie bowls with granola, nuts, more fruit, even chocolate for added flavor and texture.
You’ve GOT to try our absolute favorite smoothie bowl recipes: Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowls and Peach Smoothie Bowls. They feel like such a treat and work both for breakfast and for dessert. Kids and adults alike love these–You can make your own version with your favorite fruits, too!
The key to a great smoothie bowl is starting with frozen fruit. A drinkable smoothie can be watered down with ice, but that’s the last thing you want in your thick, delicious smoothie bowl. Frozen fruit blends into a creamy, thick texture that’s easy to eat with a spoon. You also want to opt for a thicker liquid (like milk over water or juice) for the best creamy feel.
For a great smoothie bowl, blend 1 CUP of frozen fruit with 1/2 CUP of liquid (your preferred milk choice is best). You can add 1/2-1 teaspoon of extract as well (vanilla, orange, lemon, almond, etc.) to boost the flavor without adding calories or expensive ingredients. If you’re using a tart fruit or would like it to taste sweeter, you can add any sweetener of your choice (honey or maple syrup blend easier than granulated sugar, but you can use that if you prefer). Just add a teaspoon at a time until you’ve reached your perfect level of sweetness!
Smoothie bowls work best with fleshy fruits like bananas, peaches, cherries, etc. Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, etc.) don’t work well because they’re mostly juice.
Want more breakfast recipes? You’ll love these easy ideas:
- Shirred Eggs – These baked eggs are perfectly creamy and cheesy! They come together quickly and won’t weigh you down with a lot of carbs.
- Overnight Breakfast Casserole – Absolutely perfect for company, holidays, and other occasions you want a solid breakfast ready quickly!
- Bacon Keto Biscuits – These are gluten free and wonderful for meal prep! Make a double batch, freeze, and reheat in the microwave when you’re ready.
- Air Fryer French Toast – Freezer friendly and works with bread of any kind (whole wheat, gluten free, keto, etc.). This is quicker than the traditional method but just as tasty.
- Keto Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls – When you want something different, these are the solution! No added sugar, super low carb, and perfect with coffee.