Green smoothie with fruitsAnatomy of a smoothie

Posted on October 7, 2013

There are countless ways to make a smoothie. Basically, smoothies have fruits and vegetables and something to make it as thick or thin as you’d like—a liquid or semi-liquid base.

Start with a liquid

For a one-serving smoothie, start with a half cup of a milk (dairy or non-dairy), sugar-free or low-sugar juice or water. Ideas:

  • Coconut, soy, almond, hemp or rice milk are dairy-free alternatives that are great starters for your concoction.
  • Fresh squeeze fruit juice. If you’re not making your own juice, choose one with as few ingredients as possible
  • Kefir, which I’d describe as a soupier yogurt, is also a great starter and provides 7 grams of protein.
  • Greek yogurt is thick, creamy and less than a cup of it can have about 30% of your daily value in protein!

Add fruits and vegetables (preferably fresh)

Have you tried a green smoothie (like this one)?

You don’t need much more than a hand-full of dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach or chard to make one. The bitter taste of these vitamin-rich veggies is surprisingly masked when mixed with fruit, like pineapples, mangos and blueberries.

A 3-to-1 ratio of fruit to veggies in a smoothie is a good place to start. I usually fill my blender one quarter of the way full with kale and spinach, then three quarters of the way with frozen fresh fruit.

What else can I add?

Part of my love for making smoothies, I admit, is in using the blender. It must be the little kid in me that loves to see whole food get pulverized into a liquid! Like a mad scientist, I often want to add more to the cup and blend away!  

  • Ice (if you’re not already using frozen fruit) to make an ice-cold drink
  • Spices like cinnamon or fresh ginger for a kick
  • Agave nectar or honey to sweeten it up

Reviewed by Patricia McHugh, RN. Hannah Macek contributed to this story.

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The information written about in this blog is not intended to be medical advice. Please seek care from a medical professional when you have a health concern.