How to Make a Healthy Smoothie

My smoothie obsession is no secret. I love making cold, creamy smoothies for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Smoothies are sweet, voluminous and, if made the right way, full of healthy vitamins and minerals.

I headed home for lunch today to hang out with Sadie and make myself a smoothie. (Side note: I think all office break rooms should have a Vitamix on hand so employees can make smoothies anytime! When I open up my blogger office, you better believe I’ll have one… or five.)

As I made my smoothie this afternoon, I snapped pictures along the way to hopefully answer some of the questions I’ve received from you guys about how I create healthy – but yummy – smoothies off the top of my head.

  • Start with 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cup liquid. My liquid of choice is almond milk, but any kind of liquid (orange juice, water, milk, soy milk, etc.) will work. Obviously creamier beverages like almond or regular milk will produce creamier smoothies. I play around with the amount of liquid I add based on how thick I want my smoothie. I always start with less than I think I’ll need and add more to get things moving in the blender if needed.

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I eat my extra-thick smoothies in a bowl with a spoon!

  • Add 1 cup of frozen fruit or 1 frozen banana. Of course fresh fruit will also work, but I prefer to use frozen fruit because it makes the smoothie colder and creamier than regular fruit. In my experience, frozen bananas produce the creamiest smoothies.

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  • Add protein. I always add some kind of protein to my smoothies so they have more staying power. A scoop of protein powder or a cup of Greek yogurt not only ups the flavor of the smoothie, but increases the protein content by a ton.

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  • Add spinach. This is obviously just my personal preference, but I almost always add a handful of fresh spinach to my smoothies. You cannot even taste it and the spinach adds an extra punch of nutrition!

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  • Add more flavor and thickness. This step is optional, but I almost always add a little something extra to my smoothies to amp up the flavor. My favorite ways to add more flavor include adding a tablespoon of peanut butter or cocoa powder or a teaspoon of a flavored extract, like coconut, vanilla or almond extract. I also add a pinch or two of xanthan gum for thickening.

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Of course the above bullets are just guidelines for how I make my smoothies. The beauty of smoothies is that you can usually throw almost any kind of fruit and milk or juice into a blender and get something delicious. I love to experiment and play around with tons of different flavor combinations.

Some of my favorite smoothies include:

"I'm a Smoothie Love-ah!"

Question of the Day

What smoothie flavor is your favorite?

P.S. The Fashion page was updated today!

Comments

  1. Kayleigh says

    Definitely peanut butter banana (with spinach!)

    I also put in spirulina (can’t taste it) and some cinnamon for more flavor. Delicious=] I wish I had a vitamix!!

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  2. says

    Smoothies are my breakfast of choice every morning – love them! Mine usually include almond milk (I’m not a milk fan either), PB2 (love it in my smoothies!), 1 Tbsp. of fat-free, sugar free jello powder (like butterscotch or pistachio) and Shakeology.
    I love seeing how other people make their smoothies – it’s fun to change it up!!

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  3. Jany says

    Julie, could you please post your mom’s recipe for homemade red velvet cake (and icing too). It looks so delicious!

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  4. says

    I love adding almond milk or yogurt to my smoothies. My all time fav though is just simple chocolate protein powder, chocolate almond milk, and peanut butter. I am not a HUGE fan of adding in fruit or spinach. Your smoothies always look super awesome!!
    Lately I have been freezing peanut flour and making peanut flour candy (Julie Go Lean) and topping my shakes with it. Taste like cookie dough from a blizzard.

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  5. says

    Love the pb cup smoothie and the chocolate covered strawberry. I’m convincing my friends to throw in spinach. It’s such a great addition! Thanks for all your recipes!!

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  6. says

    I love the whole smoothie idea going round the blogosphere at the moment! Really want to try it, but not sure my little hand held blender can take it, and I can’t afford a fancy posh one right now :-( One day!

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  7. says

    Thanks for the breakdown. I’ve been stuck on smoothies for the last week and can’t get enough of them! I don’t like protein powder so I usually add yogurt or peanut butter for some protein which stays pretty well and makes it super tasty!

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  8. Liz says

    I tried the chia seed pudding that you posted a few weeks ago and it wasn’t sweet enough for me, but then today I used Funfetti cake mix instead of the cocoa powder and sugar and it was FABULOUS. You should definitely check it out!!

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  9. says

    Thanks for the tips. I’m going to need to purchase some of that Xanthan gum. Now that the weather is getting warmer- it’s time for smoothies. I’m jealous of your blender. Maybe once my Magic Bullet bites the dust……. Oh, and I am IN LOVE with the same cocoa powder. Isn’t it amazing??? :)

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  10. Nathan says

    1 cup unsweetened almond breeze milk or skim non-fat milk

    1 tablespoon unsweetened coco powder or raw cacao powder

    1 large frozen banana

    1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries

    1 teaspoon Splenda or honey, if desired

    Well not to toot my own horn, but I recently won a contest where I won $75 Bucks, a spot in the Indianapolis Star, and a spot on the local morning show to show off my smoothie. Here are the links to the article and also the TV spot!

    http://www.indystar.com/article/20110424/LIVING01/104240310/Nutritional-Nosh-Chocolate-Berry-Monkey-Smoothie

    http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/indy_style/kitchen/make-your-own-smoothie-challege-2011

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  11. Trisha says

    You should try freezing your spinach so you always have some on hand! I buy a fresh bag of spinach and stick it in the freezer :) it doesn’t freeze solid!

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    • Genee says

      This is amazing news to me!!! I always add spinach to my smoothies because…well why not?! You cant taste it and its so good for you! However I end up throwing so much away because I dont use it all and it goes bad so fast. I never thought it would freeze well so I never even tried. Great to know it does!

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  12. Annmarie says

    I also like to add frozen broccoli or other frozen veggies instead of spinach to my smoothies sometimes…works the same! Can’t even taste it and I can get all kinds of veggies into my body that way!

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  13. Amy D says

    SO I love your blog and it has truly inspired me on my weight loss journey…down over 70 lbs. I cannot tell you how perfect it is that you wrote a how to make a smoothie blog today because I live in Texas and it is hot and humid so my usual hot breakfast sounds awful in this heat and a smoothies sound perfect. So I have been using your recipes for the past week but the smoothies are not holding me over and I think it is due to the lack of protein. So I know you have suggested All the Whey before, but I think they are not making the protein blend anymore, which mean is am at a loss. I am way too intimated to go into a store and try to purchase protein powder so I was hoping you could suggest another brand or two. I tried looking stuff up on the internet, but I do not even know where to begin. Any help you can give would be much appreciated!!!

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  14. says

    I just made myself a frozen raspberry chocolate smoothie for lunch. you’re so timely! :)

    p.s. do you notice a big difference between room temp ‘nanas and frozen bananas? I never freeze mine!

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  15. courtney says

    so i just added nestles peppermint mocha coffee creamer to my smoothie and its delicious! i always drink peppermint mocha coffee so i decided to add some in! i put:

    choc protein powder
    xanthan gum
    water
    ice
    starbucks via coffee
    peppermint creamer
    dash of cinnamon

    yummy !

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  16. says

    I’ve never really been a huge fan of smoothies. I feel like I would have to have something to eat with it to feel full.

    And where do you get your spinach? It looks so fresh and green compared to what I’ve seen in my supermarket.

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  17. Tricia says

    I’m also smoothie obsessed! The usual for me is almond milk, frozen banana, frozen strawberries, spinach, scoop of protein powder and 1/3 to 1/2 cup of raw oatmeal! The oatmeal gives it extra staying power and makes it taste soooo good :-)

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  18. says

    I love all your recipes and ideas :) After reading your blog for months I finally started my own. Keep the adorable pictures of Sadie coming. They NEVER get old!

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  19. says

    My favorite smoothie combination currently is almond milk, spinach, chia seeds, banana, and peanut butter. I just renewed my stock of cocoa powder so I may be adding this to the mix as well. Chocolate/banana/peanut butter is a love of mine.

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  20. Vanessa F says

    My favorite smoothie was inspired by your chocolate covered strawberry but with a little twist of my own: Frozen strawberries, spinach, milk, chocolate protein powder, ice, and a spoonful of Nutella :D

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  21. says

    Great post- I’ve started having smoothies a lot much now that the weather has become so hot! I love mango smoothies, pb& banana, and peach&banana! A lot of the time I just chuck in any fruit I have on hand and this ‘method’ hasnt failed me yet!

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  22. says

    I love other veggies in there too! I’ll finely slice a carrot or two and puree that before anything else goes in or even celery, but that has a bit more of a taste to it. My mom adds beets to her smoothies, I can’t get past the smell of those to add it in. I also like to add cinnamon to all of my smoothies since it keeps your blood sugar stabilized, which it can peak from all the fruit sugars. After a long run I add tart cherry juice, which controls inflammation. Other than that, almond milk, hemp protein powder, spinach, and all the fruit I want, that’s how I make a yummy smoothie!

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  23. says

    Ah! I am in love with Green Smoothies. So much goodness packed in to something so delicious, it’s hard not to want one every day.

    I love that you eat yours out of a bowl, I’ll have to try that!

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  24. says

    I love vanilla smoothies the best. I use barely 1/2 cup liquid though because I like my smoothies extra thick.

    Although, I have yet to find a GOOD-tasting protein powder that is gluten-free, whey-free, and xanthan-gum free. Life with food intolerances (and my extreme love for them) demands smoothies! But so many things that other people can easily add, I can’t!

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  25. Shayla says

    Great post! I’ve asked you this before but you never answered, about how many calories to you keep your smoothies around? Thanks! :)

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  26. says

    My go-to smoothie is a little less than a cup of almond milk, 1 banana, 1 cup frozen fruit and 1 scoop protein powder. Berry smoothies are my favorite! YUM

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  27. Tara says

    do you have any recommendations for good protein powders? I want to try some but not sure which type to buy. where do you get yours? thanks :)
    also, congrats on quitting your job!!!!! what a great feeling taht must be. i also work from home and it rocks :)

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  28. says

    I just got a blender, and I’m already OBSESSED with making smoothies! Thanks so much for the tips. You’re so adorable :) Love your blog!
    <3

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  29. Caroline Leigh says

    i just made my first smoothie for breakfast via this guideline and it is sooo good! my boyfriend has cake batter protein, which i used, and it masked the flavor of the smoothie but it is still very yummy haha

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  30. Anna says

    I LOVE SMOOTHIES :) And absolutely love your blog! I was wondering, do you use any kind of sweetener in your smoothies such as stevia or honey or do you just drink them as is with the fruit? I find if I use fruit other than a banana (which always sweetens it right up) I need a little more sweet to it due to the unflavored almond milk.

    Enjoy your trip!

    Anna

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  31. Lo says

    i just recently discovered pbfingers and love your blog! i love making smoothies but usually i made mine for snack purposes – blending orange juice with frozen fruit and a banana. i tried your peanut butter cup smoothie for breakfast the other day and its sooo true, protein powder does give it more ‘staying power’. this might make me sound like a total dork but my folks freak out about me using protein powder… they seem to think it’ll mess my whole system. any advice/info for me? i know you aren’t a dietician or anything but if you could direct me somewhere i’d majorly appreciate it. all the best!

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  32. Christa says

    Just ran across your blog googling wedding pictures and now I’m hooked on the fitness/food portion. I don’t feel like reading through all of the responses, but I wanted to know what kind of protein powder do you use for your shakes!

    Thanks!
    Christa

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  33. says

    I see so many people using xanathan gum for their smoothies…can you explain more of what it is or if there is something to substitute for the same effect? I live in a super small town and we dont have it in our grocery stores here, but I will definitely be hunting some down to try; especially to make the peanut butter cup smoothie! Hello, that sounds like a delicious way to start the day!

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  34. Tori says

    Today I made a really good smoothie for after my work out with some chocolate milk, plain chobani greek yogurt with some agave to sweeten it up, a frozen banana, a cup of ice, and some cocoa powder! delicious

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  35. Jessica H says

    What blender do you use or do you have any suggestions? I need to upgrade from my target $30 one that doesnt EVER mix in my kale (chunky smoothies are not my thing). I have seen so many options like Vitamix, Blendtec and Ninja. But each brand has several options. HELP!

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