Smoothie Basics : Build a Better Smoothie

There are many benefits of choosing smoothies for a refreshing snack or beverage. Often, smoothies have multiple food groups, which provide a variety of nutrients and energy. Depending on the ingredients, smoothies may serve as a meal, snack, or even dessert. Most smoothies have at least two fruits or vegetables. So, they are a great way to reach the recommended intake of five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Smoothies are often higher in calories, which is a great way to help individuals add calories to their diet if they are sick or have difficulty chewing or swallowing. You can easily change smoothies based on available foods, taste preferences, and nutrients. They are typically prepared in a blender, but you could also make one in a food processor.

Smoothies typically start with a base or liquid, such as water, any type of milk or juice, or yogurt. For a more balanced smoothie, add at least one fruit and one vegetable. Common fruits and vegetables to include are bananas, berries, peaches, melons, spinach, avocado, cucumber, and carrots. The great thing about smoothies is they allow you to be creative and use whatever produce you have on hand whether it’s canned, fresh, or frozen. You can add more nutrients and flavor by incorporating other items such as nut butters, oatmeal, nuts, seeds, or cinnamon. Adding ice or using frozen produce will thicken the smoothie. Blend until your desired thickness and texture. If the smoothie is too thick, simply add more base or liquid. Harder raw fruits and vegetables may require more time blending.

Compared to juices, smoothies use the entire product which leaves the fiber and all the nutrients. It also allows you to add other food groups to the smoothie. For example, a smoothie made with yogurt, peanut butter, bananas, and spinach provides a serving of fruit, vegetable, dairy, and protein which helps you feel full longer. Because of the ingredients used in smoothies and the entire fruit and vegetable, smoothies give you more nutrition bang for your buck.

Get inspired to make your own smoothies with these recipes:

Resource: FS1245: Build a Better Smoothie (Rutgers NJAES). (2022). Retrieved 29 September 2022, from
Source: Heather Norman-Burgdolf, PhD, Extension Specialist for Nutrition and Health