By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN
Love smoothies? Here are 25 of the best healthy smoothies! These fruit and veggie smoothie recipes make super easy meals and are delicious.
might sound a little crazy, but there are two blenders in my kitchen. Yup, my fiancé and I love drinking
smoothies so much that we don't want to risk there not being a clean blender at the ready!
Smoothies are the ultimate meal. They're easy, since you can blend them up in mere minutes. And they can provide all the nutrition you need for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack time (you can eat them any time of the day!). That is, if you include plenty of good-for-you ingredients.
One of the reasons I love smoothies because they’re an easy way to get in a few fruit and veggie servings. Getting that produce is important, since a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that eating your greens and other colors can significantly lower your cancer risk.
Fruits and veggies may decrease your risk of colorectal cancer, and fruit may lessen your chance of gastrointestinal and lung cancers (for the latter, the benefit was only for
So I'm here to give you a quick rundown of not only the best ingredients to blend up but also the best healthy smoothies to try this week. Plus, smoothies make great cooking projects for kids. Ready?!
The Formula for Making a Nutritious Smoothie
When it comes to blending up nutritious and delicious smoothies, there's a little bit of a science to the whole thing. But don't worry, the "recipe" is super simple. Here's my go-to formula for whipping up a healthy smoothie recipe:
I'm always busy, so smoothies are a lifesaver! From a lot of trial and error, I now have a go-to list of ingredients that I simply mix and match to create yummy meals that keep me full for hours.
So yes, it's completely possible to make a fueling, delicious meal without a recipe, and I'm about to tell you how. You just need to stock a handful of fiber-rich and protein-packed ingredients in your kitchen.
And then follow a few important pointers, of course (read on!). If you feel more comfortable using a recipe, that's absolutely fine, too. But read the tips that follow anyway so you can get ideas for out-of-the-box, delicious ingredients to add to your smoothie. Espresso-flavored smoothie, anyone?
And yes, you can make a smoothie without a recipe! The first step to blending a delicious smoothie is having the right kitchen tool, aka a high-speed blender to break down hearty ingredients like canned chickpeas and white beans (yes, these are ingredients I recommend you put in your smoothies!).
1. Fruit or Veggies (or Both!)
Veggie or fruit smoothies are fantastic. What would a smoothie be without fruit or vegetables? They provide hydrating water, satiating fiber, vitamins and minerals. I always make sure to include at least a cup of produce in my smoothie recipes.
In a typical day, each of us make an estimated 227 food decisions. Water-rich produce is filling and helps me stay full—and of course, fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are good for my health.
My go-to fruit is a frozen banana, which takes away the need for adding ice. I also love blending up frozen fruit, such as berries and cherries, and I've found that cauliflower is a really neutral veggie to add in. And don't be shy about adding 100% juice to a smoothie, such as orange juice.
The nutrients in produce may also help me live longer, shows a review study in BMJ. The researchers, from the U.S. and China, analyzed 16 studies, finding that the more fruits and veggies subjects ate, the lower their risk of dying.
There was a big benefit when people increased their produce intake to five daily servings (about 2 ½ cups)—but the benefit didn't significantly continue past that amount.
Going from five to, say, seven or more servings a day may not be as big a change for your body as increasing from a
little or no produce to five daily servings. More research is needed to fully explain this finding.
While a handful of other studies suggest aiming for seven daily servings of produce, the important thing to remember is that science hasn’t found any negative effects of eating a little extra produce. So try for five, seven—or even more—servings, and you’ll be helping your health. A banana smoothie with lemon juice is really delicious!
For a smoothie to stick with you for awhile, it needs protein. There are many ingredient options for whipping up a protein shake, and my faves include plain Greek yogurt (I love the blueberry Greek yogurt combo!), kefir, and even frozen shelled edamame.
If you use kefir, you probably won't need to add any additional liquid. With the other options, you might—and that liquid could be water, milk, plant milk, or even 100% juice. You can add a 1/2 cup or so to a smoothie.
It turns out protein can have more benefits than providing fuel! I have a pretty strong family history of heart disease, so I’m always seeking out new ways to make my diet heart healthy. I’ve always been a big dairy fan. And now a new study shows how this food group may be able to help keep our tickers healthy.
Researchers looked at the dairy intake of more than 37,000 middle- to older-age Chinese adults who didn't have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, or cancer, in a study in The Journal of Nutrition.
The findings: Regular intake of dairy, especially milk, was connected with a lower risk of high blood pressure. People who drank milk daily had about an 80% lower risk of hypertension, versus the non-milk drinkers. High blood pressure may cause damage to your circulatory system that may lead to a heart attack, stroke, or other health problems.
Milk offers many important nutrients, such as filling protein, bone-building calcium, and blood-pressure-helping potassium. Plus, most milk is fortified with vitamin D, a nutrient of concern to the general U.S. population. Vitamin D helps promote calcium absorption to help keep your bones strong—and research suggests it may play a role in better heart health.
When you’re watching your weight, milk is an especially great addition to your diet because it provides a lot of nutrients for a smallish amount of calories. Also, just a note that many smoothies contain coconut milk. This ingredient is delish but doesn't provide as much protein as many other non-dairy and nut milk options, such as soy and almond milk.
There are so many ways you can add mega protein to your smoothie without pricey protein powders. Can you guess what my go-to protein-rich ingredients are? Get all the ways to make a high-protein smoothie (including my favorite hacks!) in this TasteofHome.com article.
3. Healthy Fat
This is another key ingredient for blending up a smoothie that'll fill you up. My favorite healthy fats to include are nut butter (i.e. almond butter) and avocado. You can also blend in hemp seeds, chia seeds, or flax seeds.
If you love peanut butter, the good news is you can do so much more with peanuts than eat them at ballgames and make PB&J sandwiches. Peanuts are a good source of both protein and fiber—a combination of ingredients that helps to keep you fuller for longer.
You also get healthy monounsaturated fats from peanut butter, which help with that filling factor, plus an array of vitamins minerals in each peanut. This includes vitamin E, folate, magnesium, and potassium. So go ahead and add a scoop of peanut butter to your smoothie!
4. Whole Grains
I usually say to include a whole grain (hello, extra fiber!) with every meal. With a smoothie, that isn't the easiest thing to accomplish. So this ingredient is optional, but I've found that rolled oats make a surprisingly awesome smoothie ingredient. Are oats good for weight loss?
Preliminary research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that eating whole grains may help give metabolism (energy required by your body to process the food you eat and perform basic bodily functions such as breathing) a minor boost.
In the small study, scientists asked 49 men and 32 post-menopausal women to eat a weight-maintenance diet that was either rich or low in whole grains for six weeks.
Turns out the people in the whole grains group burned about 92 extra calories daily from a higher resting metabolic rate and extra energy lost in stool!
Easy Smoothie Recipes When You're in a Time Crunch
I recently chatted with TheZoeReport about the best healthy smoothie recipes. There are five featured in the article, but I also think you deserve a bigger list than that. So I'm giving you 25 fruit and veggie smoothie recipes in total!
1. Healthy Coffee Smoothie from my own kitchen
3. Tropical Creamsicle Post-Workout Smoothie from Sarah Schlichter, RD, nutrition blogger at Bucket List Tummy
4. Vegan Wild Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie from my own kitchen
5. Vegan Berry Smoothie from Margaux Gabrielle, RD, nutrition blogger at Off the Vine Nutrition
6. Lemon Blueberry Smoothie from Cassidy Reeser, RD, nutrition blogger at Cozy Peach Kitchen
7. Mama and Me Nourish Smoothie from Heather Steele, RD, nutrition blogger at Nurture and Nourish
8. Chia Peach Green Smoothie from Shahzadi Uzma Devje, RD, owner of Desi-Licious RD
9. Cherry Superfood Smoothie from Mary Ellen Phipps, RD, nutrition blogger at Milk & Honey Nutrition
10. Immunity Green Smoothie from Jeanette Kimszal, RD, owner of Jeanette Kimszal Nutrition
11. Wild Blueberry and Rose Water Smoothie from Lindsey Pine, RD, owner of Tasty Balance Nutrition
12. Very Berry Pistachio Crunch Smoothie Bowl from my own kitchen
13. Healthy Avocado Smoothie from my own kitchen
14. Chocolate Berry Protein Smoothie from my own kitchen
15. Summer Peach Smoothie from Stephanie Van't Zelfden, RD, nutrition blogger at Nutrition Hungry
16. Orange Strawberry Smoothie from my own kitchen
18. Green Pea Smoothie with Mint from Lizzie Streit, MS, RD, nutrition blogger at It's a Veg World After All
19. Vegan Mandarin Orange Creamy Coconut Smoothie Bowl from my own kitchen
24. - 25.: Get five more recipes in my interview with The Zoe Report!
This content was updated in June 2020. A version of this article originally appeared on WeightWatchers.com.
- Fruit, Vegetable, and Fiber Intake in Relation to Cancer Risk: Findings From the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- How to Make a Smoothie Without a Recipe, Self.com
- Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer: Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies, BMJ
- Dairy Food Intake Is Inversely Associated With Risk of Hypertension: The Singapore Chinese Health Study, The Journal of Nutrition
- Vitamin D Deficiency and Risk for Cardiovascular Disease, The American Journal of the Medical Sciences
- 15 Easy Ways to Pack More Protein into Your Smoothie,
- Substituting Whole Grains for Refined Grains in a 6-wk Randomized Trial Favorably Affects Energy-Balance Metrics in Healthy Men and Postmenopausal Women, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- Jenna Braddock, RD, co-author of 200 Surefire Ways to Eat Well and Feel Better
- Sarah Schlichter, RD, nutrition blogger at Bucket List Tummy
- Margaux Gabrielle, RD, nutrition blogger at Off the Vine Nutrition
- Cassidy Reeser, RD, nutrition blogger at Cozy Peach Kitchen
- Heather Steele, RD, nutrition blogger at Nurture and Nourish
- Shahzadi Uzma Devje, RD, owner of Desi-Licious RD
- Mary Ellen Phipps, RD, nutrition blogger at Milk & Honey Nutrition
- Jeanette Kimszal, RD, owner of Jeanette Kimszal Nutrition
- Lindsey Pine, RD, owner of Tasty Balance Nutrition
- Stephanie Van't Zelfden, RD, nutrition blogger at Nutrition Hungry
- Faith Gorsky, author of An Edible Mosaic
- Lizzie Streit, MS, RD, nutrition blogger at It's a Veg World After All
- Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies
- 5 Easy & Healthy Smoothie Recipes You Can Make When You’re In A Time Crunch, TheZoeReport.com
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I'd love your thoughts! Which of these best smoothies do you want to try first?