Whether you enjoy smoothies for breakfast, a snack or even dessert, they’re a great way to increase your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. But depending on the ingredients they’re made with and how much you drink, smoothies can quickly turn into unhealthy calorie-bombs filled with too much sugar. Drinking too many high-calorie smoothies could counteract their health benefits and sabotage your efforts to stay—or get—slim.
Making your own smoothie at home allows you to control the ingredients. You know how much of and what foods you are getting. Wondering how to make a smoothie? A good smoothie should contain a blend of ingredients with protein and fiber to help keep you full and provide the nutrition benefit of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
When it comes to smoothies, don’t forget to keep an eye on portion sizes! If you are having a smoothie as a meal, aim for 300-400 calories. If your smoothie is a snack between meals, make it small and aim for less than 300 calories.
Here is a list of the best healthy smoothie ingredients based on their protein, fiber and nutrient contents:
Best High-Protein Smoothie Ingredients:
• Nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
• Nonfat or low-fat plain milk
• Nonfat or low-fat plain kefir
• Natural peanut butter
• Almond butter
• Plain soymilk
• Plain high-protein almond or nut milk
Best Fruits for Smoothies (use fresh fruit, frozen fruit or fruit canned in water or its own juice):
• Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
Best Vegetables for Smoothies (use raw):
Healthy Smoothie Additions for Flavor and Additional Nutrition:
• Chia seed
• Old-fashioned oats
• Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)
• Vanilla extract
• Coconut water
• Unsweetened cocoa powder
Smoothie Ingredients to Ditch
To keep your smoothie as healthy as possible, avoid adding these ingredients, which provide more calories in the form of sugar, in some cases without many nutrients.
• Sugar-sweetened fruit juice or concentrate
• Flavored kefir
• Flavored yogurt
• Whipped cream
• Ice cream
• Chocolate syrup
• Chocolate milk
• Canned fruit in syrup