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What’s in your smoothie? How to make the perfect smoothie: 


A woman pours spirulina power into a blender atop various fruits and vegetables, how to make the perfect smoothie

Healthy Smoothies Can Be Critical for Nutrition

It’s summertime and the temperature change often impacts our food cravings and preferences. This is the perfect time to dust off your blender and start making smoothies. Smoothies are a quick way to:

  • Hydrate your body

  • Boost fiber intake

  • Meet protein needs

  • Consume fruits and vegetables 

  • Give your body a healthy dose of fats


Can you believe that you can meet all those needs in one cup? If that isn’t enough of an incentive, these nutrients may improve memory, promote detoxification, stabilize mood, boost energy and clear out the brain fog and trigger the brain to focus.


How do you make a smoothie healthy?


A strawberry smoothie in a glass topped with basil, fresh strawberry slices and chia seeds

1. Include a variety of ingredients.

This strategy supplies the body with macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).


2. Establish a balance of ingredients.

Without the proper balance of protein and fat the smoothie will not satisfy the body for long.


3. Support the taste buds with consistency.

The texture of the smoothie can make a difference in palatability and is largely dependent on the ratio of nutrients.


Birds-eye-view into a blender with spinach, apple and banana, how to make the perfect smoothie

Now you’re probably wondering how you achieve these three things… That’s why I created a checklist of all the elements of a perfect healthy smoothie.


Emily’s Healthy Smoothie Checklist

  • 1 cup liquid

  • 1-2 cups fresh or frozen vegetables

  • 1/2-1 cup frozen fruit

  • 1-2 Tbsp fat

  • 1-2 Tbsp protein

  • 1/2 tsp superfood

  • Spices to taste


Now that you understand the basics of making a healthy smoothie, let’s go over some awesome options to use for this checklist.


A green smoothie with spinach, hemp powder, apple and lemon next to it, how to make the perfect smoothie

Emily’s Healthy Smoothie Ingredient Options


1 Cup Liquid:

  • Plant-based milk including oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk or macadamia nut milk


1-2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Vegetables:

  • Spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, arugula, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potato


1/2-1 Cup Phytonutrient-Rich Fruits:

  • Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, pomegranate


1-2 TBSP Fat:

Remember, fat is your friend!

  • Avocado, coconut oil, nut butter, medium chain triglyceride oil


1-2 TBSP Protein:

  • Hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, nut butters, tofu, lentils, protein powder


1/2 tsp Superfood:

  • Spirulina, goji berries, cacao nibs, maca powder, acai powder


Herbs or Spices to Taste:

  • Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, turmeric, black pepper, fresh mint


A berry smoothie topped with blueberries and an apple in the background

Emily’s Tips On How to Make the Perfect Smoothie Healthy and Delicious

  1. Choose milk over water for a creamy texture.

  2. Add the liquid first, especially when using a Vitamix.

  3. Use frozen fruit and/or vegetables to lower the temperature and produce a creamy texture. Note: Frozen fruits and vegetables are often downgraded as a lesser plant source. However, this claim is largely false. Fruits and vegetables are frozen at their peak point of freshness. This means they are loaded with nutrients and often taste their best. Watch out for hidden added ingredients including sugar. The key is to purchase frozen fruits and vegetables that consist primarily of the star ingredient. 

  4. If smoothies are not your cup of tea, these recipes can also be converted to popsicles. My son used to love my smoothies until he was about 2 years old. If you have a child with specific food preferences, you will understand the dilemma. Now, he enjoys the smoothie in popsicle form. Popsicle molds are easy to find and affordable. Blend the smoothie and pour it into the popsicle mold. Freeze for about 8 hours or overnight. Run the popsicle mold under warm water for about 30 seconds. This allows for an easy and clean release of the popsicle. You can enjoy the popsicles immediately or store for about 3 months. This frozen treat is a favorite of all ages.


Now let’s put it all together:


A smoothie in a glass with a straw sticking out of it, how to make the perfect smoothie

Can't Taste the Greens Smoothie Recipe


INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened vanilla

  • 2 cups spinach

  • 1 cup frozen berry blend

  • 1 Tbsp sunflower seed butter

  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • Pinch of black pepper


INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!


Overall, I hope these tips can help you come up with the perfect smoothie and make it healthy too. If you need more advice on meeting your daily nutrient needs, feel free to reach out to Emily


 

This article was guest-written by:


Emily Luxford, autoimmune and general dietitian nutritionist
Emily Luxford, MS, RD, IFNCP, CLT

Emily Luxford is a functional dietitian nutritionist helping patients navigate gut health, diabetes, obesity, malabsorption disorders, and autoimmune diseases, along with complex illnesses such as immune dysfunction syndromes, myofascial pain, depression, vertigo, headaches, and cancer. Learn more about her and her services at www.luxfordnutrition.com.

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