Smoothies are a huge part of my life (seriously, ask any of my friends). As a graduate student, there is nothing better than a meal I can throw into a blender and then slurp down as I run out the door to work or class. Bonus points because it’s good for me and keeps me full and energized for a long time.
I’m actually pretty picky about my smoothies, which is why I rarely buy a smoothie and prefer to make them myself. I think I’m allowed to be picky though because my smoothies are pretty delicious (not to toot my own horn). And there’s something to be said for knowing all of the ingredients I’m putting into my body!
So, while I usually mix up what exactly I’m putting into my perfect smoothie (mix up–get it?), there are a few things that I incorporate into the base of every smoothie (more or less) to ensure that my smoothie has optimal taste, consistency, and nutritional value.
- Always add greens. To me, a smoothie without at least 2-3 packed cups of leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards, etc) is a wasted opportunity to incorporate greens. You cannot taste them (especially spinach–I promise it’s undetectable) and you get an extra dose of fiber, which will keep you full longer. Also, pro-tip: if you have a crappy blender like I do, pulse the greens with whatever liquid of your choice first until it liquifies, then add everything else. It’ll blend together much more easily, and your blender won’t have to work as hard! Also, using less liquid overall will lead to a thicker smoothie, which means you’ll basically be living the dream.
- Only use frozen fruit. I exclusively use frozen fruit in my smoothies–that way I never have to add ice! No ice = no watered down smoothie. Win/win. I also like to buy fresh fruit super cheap when it’s in season and freeze it in Ziploc bags.
- Add 1/2 – 1 frozen banana. It makes the base extremely creamy, which is great when you aren’t adding dairy to a smoothie (if you don’t like the taste of banana, see #4). I always buy a bunch of bananas, let them sit out for a couple of days to ripen, then peel –> smash –> freeze in individual Ziplocs. It may seem wasteful to put each banana in its own Ziploc, but it helps me portion better AND I reuse the Ziplocs so I feel better about it (I keep all my banana Ziplocs in a grocery bag in the freezer for easy organization).
- Add 1/4 – 1/2 avocado + honey. Adding avocado to your smoothie not only gives you a punch of healthy fats which will also keep you full longer, but it makes the smoothie very creamy as well (good alternative if you don’t like bananas). Be sure to add a bit of honey (not too much–maybe a teaspoon or 1/2 tablespoon) or other sweetener if you add avocado because it has a noticeably savory flavor.
- Add protein. Smoothies are a meal replacement option for me, so I try to make sure I have all my bases covered. Protein will keep you full too! I prefer to add 2 tbsp of collagen to my smoothies, which has 11g protein, but you can add whatever you want!
- Liquid. I mix it up with my liquids. Sometimes I use coconut water, sometimes coconut milk. The coconut water helps with hydration and does not contribute a taste to the smoothie, and the coconut milk adds healthy fat, although it tastes coconutty. You could also use water, almond milk, anything! I’ve even left an opened can of LaCroix in the fridge and used that as my liquid base (amazing). I don’t recommend using fruit juice because it will increase the sugar content of your smoothie without really providing any nutritional value.
- Lemon zest. This doesn’t necessarily go with every smoothie, but a pinch of lemon zest really brightens up a smoothie and makes it taste fresh. If you haven’t done this before, I highly recommend it!
So, there you have it. My main smoothie tips that lead me to making the perfect smoothie every single day. I will have another post soon in which I provide ingredient combination suggestions I like to use in my smoothies to hope give you more inspiration.
In the meantime, what are some tips you have to make the perfect smoothie that are not mentioned here?