When you hear about the latest healthy smoothie recipe, you might have images of a bright green drink that tastes like grass. After all, aren't they the anti-milkshake? Not really. That may have been true of the healthy smoothies of old, but people have been experimenting in their kitchens since then, and have developed yummy and nutritious combinations.
I first got into smoothies when I had a, let's say, challenging time getting all the necessary nutrients into my children. I quickly realized by combining their favorite fruits with vegetables they couldn't taste, we could all drink our way to filling our food pyramid. Smoothie recipes aren't just for kids, though, they're for everyone. If you pick the right smoothie, you can fill the gaps in your diet and fool yourself into thinking you're drinking a fatty, indulgent milkshake every single day.
What is a Healthy Smoothie?
A healthy smoothie is a combination of good-for-you ingredients blended into a delicious cold treat. The elements can include fruits and vegetables, starting with a base of juice, milk, yogurt or tea. The great thing about smoothies is you can tailor them to match your taste buds and nutritional needs.
Do you need extra protein? Throw in some protein powder, milk or peanut butter. Are you not getting enough Vitamin C? Start your smoothie with orange juice or fill it with sun sweet berries. Do you happen to lack fiber in your diet? Add ground flax or chia seeds. The world is your oyster when it comes to the variety of smoothies you can make. The possibilities are endless.
Ingredients of a healthy smoothie recipe
As mentioned, your healthy smoothie recipe can be as varied as you want it to be. In addition to that, smoothie recipes completely customizable. Healthy smoothie recipes usually start with a base of some milk, yogurt, juice or tea. You choose. Add whatever fruit or vegetable you want to the blender and, voila, you've got a healthy drink in about five minutes time.
Say you find a recipe that you love. It's a strawberry banana smoothie, but something's missing. You want more of a protein kick, or you want whole grains to make this smoothie a meal. That's fine. Add a scoop of protein powder, extra almond milk and some ground up oatmeal.
The nutrients in your healthy smoothie recipe are as varied as the smoothies themselves. A berry recipe with a base of almond milk will be high in Vitamin C, calcium and protein. A green smoothie with lots of spinach and a green tea base will be high in iron, antioxidants, folate, and potassium. You are the driver of your nutrition when it comes to smoothies and the health benefits you'll receive by drinking one.
By picking a smoothie recipe to fit your nutritional needs, you can add a level to your diet you may not have been able to achieve without the addition of your healthy smoothie recipe. The breakdown of nutrients in your smoothie in entirely in your hands and your blender.
When Did We Start Drinking Smoothies?
Different cultures have consumed fruit blends for a long time. In the 1930s, with the invention of the blender, smoothies started making their way into yours and my households. People began buying blenders and throwing all kinds of ingredients in there to see what their blends would yield. In the 1970s, the first Smoothie King shop opened, and the smoothie popularity exploded.
In 1973, Steve Kuhnau opened the first Smoothie King in Louisiana and experimented with lots of different ingredients to make the perfect smoothie for everyone. People realized they could drink a milkshake-like creation and fill their bodies with much-needed nutrients. It used to be difficult to fill the nutritional pyramid, but not anymore.
From that time, companies took notice and came up with their smoothie drinks for mass consumption. Now smoothies are not only available to you if you have a blender, but in every grocery store around the world since.
Smoothie Supplement or Smoothie Meal
Some might see smoothies as a treat or a supplement to your overall daily eating plan, and it can be. Smoothies that include fruits, vegetables, can fill in nutritional gaps and fit into your day as a snack or a drink with a meal. Your healthy smoothie can also serve another purpose, though. You don't have to confine your drink to a snack or a supplement. Your smoothie can be bumped up to a full blown meal.
It's easy to make your smoothie into a meal by adding a whole grain. As mentioned above in the Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie, add the grain to your blender first and turn it into a powder. When you start with the powder base, the grain will easily blend and disappear into the other ingredients. Another way to ramp up your smoothie into a meal is to add more protein, which keeps you fuller longer. Try adding a scoop of protein powder or a spoonful of your favorite nut butter. The addition may slightly change the flavor but can be tweaked to suit your tastes.
A Healthy Smoothie Recipe for Everyone
There are plenty of healthy smoothie recipes on the internet and in cookbooks for you to try. The yummy factor of these recipes depends entirely upon your taste preferences. If you hate strawberries, you're not going to like the strawberry smoothie recipe that has everybody raving. But if blueberries are your thing, you might love a healthy smoothie recipe with blueberry and banana.
The trick is to pick a healthy smoothie recipe that's built around the ingredients that you like and see how you like the different combinations. If the method includes a couple of components you're not too crazy about, don't dismiss the recipe off-hand. You might not be able to taste those ingredients once they're blended up, but you're still consuming the healthy nutrients. Bonus!
Here are five healthy smoothie recipes that people seem to love. Try one or all of them and see what you think.
Pineapple green smoothie
This healthy smoothie recipe from Eating Well packs a nutritional boost. The drink fills you with loads of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium and folate. Don't be fooled by its color; the raving reviews say it tastes mostly like a banana.
Add almond milk and yogurt to your blender. Add spinach, banana, pineapple, chia and sweetener (if using.) Blend until smooth.
Strawberry banana oatmeal smoothies
This healthy smoothie recipe from What the Fork incorporates oatmeal to thicken the drink, making it the perfect breakfast drink on the go. You get your whole grains, fruit, and protein in one glass of deliciousness.
Add oatmeal to your blender and blend until it becomes a fine powder. Add remaining ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Pro tip: Prep the fruit ahead of time and freeze in baggies. When you're ready to drink a smoothie, grab a fruit bag from the freezer and pop it in the blender.
Cocoa almond protein smoothie
For those of you chocoholics who want to incorporate chocolate into your drink, Kristine's Kitchen has one for you. The cocoa, almond, and banana combination make this smooth smoothie extra delicious. It also packs 25 grams of protein in one drink.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Sneaky green smoothie recipe
This healthy smoothie recipe from Creative Green Living has such a vibrant color; you would never guess the recipe contains so much spinach. Blending the spinach until no green bits are remaining is the sneaky part of this healthy drink. Use frozen fruit for a nice thick smoothie, and it will fill you with high amounts of Vitamin A, C, calcium, and protein. Sneaky.
Add two large handfuls of fresh organic baby spinach to your blender with 1/2 cup of orange juice and blend very well. Make sure you keep mixing until all of the green pieces are gone. Add the remaining ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth.
"The Elvis" peanut butter banana smoothie
Besides having an adorable name, "The Elvis" smoothie from Two Healthy Kitchens proves once again that peanut butter and banana are a delicious and nutritious combination. The peanut butter gives this healthy smoothie recipe its smoothness, and the maple syrup adds just the right amount of sweetness.
Put all ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides if necessary.
Turn Your Kitchen into a Smoothie Lab
There is no shortage of healthy smoothie recipes for you to try. The good news is you don't have to make them yourself if you don't want to. There are plenty of choices available in the grocery stores to experiment with and see which ones suit your taste. The only downside is smoothies at the store are expensive and can add up quickly, especially if you pick one you don't like. That stinks.
A better way to experiment with smoothies is to pull your blender out from under your counter and give it a proud spot on top. Pick a healthy smoothie recipe to start with, play with it until it fits your needs, and enjoy. Your imagination is the only thing limiting your smoothie combinations, so get creative. You never know what deliciousness you can make until you get started and try.