Build a Balanced Smoothie

Smoothies can be a balanced meal with the right components. Keep in mind the following major parts to a balanced smoothie:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Liquid
  • Flavor add ins

Tip: As a simple meal prep, pre-portion the following frozen ingredients into single serving containers to add to the blender on busy mornings. Add your liquids/refrigerated foods right to the blender.

FRUITS: When most of us think smoothie, we think fruity flavors! Choose a couple of your favorite fruits totaling about 1 cup per serving. That might look like…

~Half a frozen banana + handful berries

~Peaches and strawberries

~Mixed frozen fruit: tropical blends, berry blends…

Tip: Peel/wash and freeze ready to eat bananas, oranges, berries, mango, etc. to build a budget friendly stock

VEGETABLES: This is where some of us may be unsure about what to add in for that boost of vegetable nutrition. Luckily, even spinach blends up nicely and adds very little flavor, blending in to whatever else is in your smoothie. Aim for about 1-2 cups of non-starchy veggies. Some vegetables that blend up nicely…

~Kale

~Spinach

~Carrots

~Pureed pumpkin

Tip: Transfer fresh greens ‘on their last legs’ to the freezer & add directly to smoothies later on

PROTEIN: Add protein to your smoothie to stay satisfied for hours. While many people like to use a protein powder here, there are so many whole food options for creating a high protein smoothie! To increase the protein content, you could add in…

~2/3 cup plain, Greek yogurt

~1/2 cup cottage cheese

~Silken tofu

~1/4 cup unsalted nuts

~2 Tbsp natural nut/seed butter (almond, peanut, sunflower…)

~Cow’s or soy milk as your liquid will add about 8 g protein per cup

FAT: If you’re using a protein food that already contains fat (2% or whole milk dairy, nuts/nut butter, etc.) you can skip this step. If your smoothie is looking lean, add in some healthy fats to round out this meal…

~A couple tablespoons of nuts or seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, chia, flax…)

~Natural nut or seed butter (1-2 Tbsp)

LIQUID: Add in 1-2 cups of liquid, depending on how thick you like your smoothies. Your choice here may depend on what else is already in your smoothie.

Have plenty of protein and want to keep it low carb? Choose an unsweetened plant-based milk for a lower calorie option. In need of some extra protein? Cow’s milk or unsweetened soy are both fitting options. Here are some ideas to consider…

~Cow’s milk

~Unsweetened plant based milks (almond, soy, cashew, etc.)

~Coconut water (unsweetened)

~Cooled herbal tea (green, fruity, white…)

~Plain or infused water

FLAVOR: Lastly, if your smoothie needs some extra pizzaz, consider these add ins for extra flavor…

~Vanilla extract

~Cinnamon

~Pumpkin pie spice

~Turmeric

~Cacao nibs

~Ginger

For more ideas for building high protein smoothies from whole foods, check out these delicious recipes from SELF.com

Valerie Koschnick RDN, CD

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