Smoothies are, in essence, a wonderful and tasty alternative to meals for busy people that provide the nutrients they need to start the day off fresh.
Over the past decade, smoothies have become increasingly popular among Americans. And it’s understandable: they are versatile, quick, delicious, and rich in vitamins. In this blog, you’ll read about some deliciously good smoothie combinations!
What do you need to make a smoothie?
In order to make a perfect smoothie, you need two things: ingredients and equipment.
We’ll cover ingredients more in-depth in the next chapter of the blog, but in short - ingredients can be whatever fruits, veggies and (potentially) milk or water you have in your fridge.
As for the equipment, what you’ll need is:
- A knife to cut up the fruits and veggies;
- A blender or food processor to combine the ingredients.
A note: while a food processor is a decent solution for a smoothie, blenders are made specifically to combine “dry” ingredients with liquids. So, while you can make a fine smoothie with a food processor, you could probably make an even better one if you have a blender.
Healthy smoothie ingredients
Wondering what to put in smoothies and what are the best ingredients for smoothies?
Include around 1 cup of fresh or frozen fruit. Some awesome fruit bases are strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, bananas, pineapple, cherries and peaches.
Don’t let that green color distract you from all the amazing antioxidants spinach or kale can add to your drink! You won’t even notice the flavor if you add a small serving and pair it with fruit.
You can use Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, tofu, or legumes, as a dairy-free alternative - or you can simply use protein powder to up your protein intake.
Nut butters, seeds (like chia or flax seeds), and avocados can make your smoothie extra filling, and may help with the foam that might appear on your smoothie. This also adds more calories, so if you’re trying to lose weight, don't over-do it. Stick to about a tablespoon of seeds or nut butters or about a quarter of an avocado.
You can add cocoa powder, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, or unsweetened matcha powder. These are great additions that may also add healthy goods to your smoothie.
You may want to add some oats or other fiber-rich grains in the smoothies you’re making. In addition to providing more density, you get all the benefits of whole grains when you add them to your smoothie.
Smoothie 101: Q&A
Why is my smoothie Fluffy?
Sometimes, foam may develop at the top of a smoothie. This foam is made out of insoluble fibers found in the skin of vegetables or fruits.
Here is what you can do:
- Blend your smoothie at a very low speed for 10 to 20 seconds longer after you first notice the foam forming.
- Stir the foam back into your smoothie with a long spoon;
- Pour the smoothie slowly into the cup, while using a spatula to hold back the foam that’s in the blender.
If you don’t want to deal with foam, you can use fruits and vegetables with soluble fibers, like bananas, peaches, pears, and mangoes. You can also use frozen fruits and vegetables as their icy consistency helps them from causing foam in your smoothie.
Another solution is adding in a healthy fat before blending that will bond with the insoluble fibers and combine better and more easily into the smoothie. For example, you can put coconut oil, avocado, or any nut butter.
The foam is not unhealthy, just not as pleasant to drink - so don’t worry if some still slips by.
Are smoothies better with milk or water?
This question seems simple, but the answer is a bit longer.
Health-wise, if you’re lactose intolerant, you should make your smoothies without milk. You can also use lactose-free milk, or some of the plant-based milks on the market.
If you’re looking to lose weight, keep in mind that making your smoothie with milk instead of water will add more calories to your calorie intake. This might not seem like a big deal, but it all depends on the amount of milk you use in preparation of your smoothies.
If you want a creamy smoothie, adding milk will be a perfect solution. Again, you don’t have to use dairy, you can supplement with some other type of plant and dairy-free milk alternatives.
Milk is also a good solution if you want to “mask” the flavors of your ingredients a bit. Adding water will just make you more aware of all the goodies you put inside.
What are the most popular smoothie flavors?
According to Infor, the top 10 smoothie flavors in North America for the year 2020 were:
- Tropical Fruit (smoothies with a combination of pineapples, coconut, etc),
- Mixed Berry (smoothies with a combination strawberry, blueberry, cranberries etc)
- Green Tea
Do you agree with this list? What is your favorite flavor?
Can I live on smoothies?
You can live on pizza as well.
But would you want to?
Smoothies are certainly healthier than pizza, but that doesn’t mean your diet should only consist of smoothies. Your focus should be on eating a balanced diet that consists of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Smoothies included - of course.
Why does my smoothie change color?
The main reason smoothies change color the slower you drink them is oxidation.
Oxygen reacts with the natural color-giving ingredients like chlorophyll, and the result is browning. Some fruits like bananas or strawberries have more sugar in them and this natural sugar and air create an enzyme that then turns the smoothie brown.
Should I put ice in my smoothie?
When it comes to shoulds and shouldn’ts of ice in smoothies, there is no wrong or right answer!
If you want your smoothie to be cold, you can use frozen fruits, you can use ice - or you can use both! Make sure, though, that your smoothie won’t be too watery in case you use all three: frozen fruits, water & ice.
Is it OK to blend frozen fruit?
Short answer: It depends. But, yes.
Long answer: It depends on multiple factors.
Is your blender strong?
If yes, then you can blend frozen fruit in it.
Will you add water to your frozen fruit?
If yes, your smoothie might come out too watery in the end.
Is frozen fruit just as good as fresh ones?
Yes! Numerous studies have shown that frozen fruits and vegetables not only retain the vitamins and minerals from when they were harvested, but they also seem to have higher levels of antioxidants and nutrients than their fresh “peers”, as less time has passed from harvest to freezing, than harvest to selling them fresh to you cooking them fresh.
Do smoothies make you gain weight?
Too many calories make us gain weight. The best way to control your weight is to calculate your daily calorie intake to match your goals.
If you want to lose weight, you should be caloric deficit - include your smoothies into that caloric deficit and you’ll lose weight.
If you want to gain weight, you should be in a calorie surplus. Include your smoothie into that caloric surplus and you’ll gain weight.
Will replacing a meal with a smoothie help me lose weight?
This question is kinda similar to the previous one: if you want to lose weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit.
You can calculate your caloric deficit with a number of TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) calculators you can find online. Calculate your TDEE minus (give or take) 500 kcal daily and you’ll lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.
As for replacing a meal with a smoothie, we say: why not? If you’re replacing a meal that might not be as healthy as a smoothie, it might be a better solution.
Bonus: 2 of our favorite smoothie recipes!
How can we write about smoothies without sharing some of our favorite recipes and combinations we personally think are the best smoothie combinations? If you decide to make them, don’t forget to tag us on social media and let us know which one is your favorite!
#1 Smoothie: Berry delight
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the most popular smoothie flavor is strawberry. This delicious fruit is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and provides a useful dose of fiber too. Roughly 21% of consumers prefer strawberry flavor, followed by other berries such as blueberries, and cranberries.
1 ½ cup almond milk or coconut milk;
1 ripe banana;
½ cup frozen berries;
½ cup frozen strawberries
All you need to do now is add the almond milk, frozen fruits, and banana to your blender. Blend until you reach your desired consistency. Add more fruit to thicken or add more milk to thin it out. Customize your drink by adding your favorite toppings such as bits of fruits or nuts and whipped cream.
#2 Smoothie: The Black Smoothie
This yummy beverage is not only a detox supplement but a teeth-whitener and skin purifier, as well. You read that correctly. It’s loaded with fiber, tropical flavors, and activated charcoal. The Black Smoothie is also a dairy-free alternative to the usual fruit mix.
All you need is:
1 cup mango;
1 tablespoon chia seeds;
2 teaspoons granulated activated charcoal;
1/2 cup of coconut water;
Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. As trivial as this may sound, don’t forget to put the lid on, otherwise, you’ll end up having a blackout and not just a black smoothie.
*Psst! We almost forgot! Here’s the secret to getting the most out of your smoothies: top everything up with a few drops of delicious Elderberry Hill Organics syrup. This supplement will give you a powerful boost of energy, strengthen your immunity, and support respiratory health.
Made from carefully harvested elderberries, this syrup can help you get all the useful nutrients you wouldn’t be able to get from food alone. Vegan, non-GMO and with no added sugar, Elderberry benefits people of all ages and can safely be mixed with food and drinks. Unlike pills, liquid vitamins are easy to swallow and have a faster absorption rate.
Voilà! You’re now ready to start your day fresh.