Recently I found myself typing the words “how to build a better smoothie” into a search engine while sipping on a watered down, brown beverage that I tried to convince myself was a smoothie. After coming home from the Saratoga wedding, I found myself wanting to kick my nutrition up a notch. I decided an easy way to do this would be to add a smoothie a day into my routine for a week or so.
Since I’m not usually a smoothie gal, I made the common mistake of throwing a bunch of healthy items into the blender and hitting go. I suppose I figured the Blendtec had the ability to magically transform any combination into a delicious smoothie. I mean, it has a special smoothie button and everything.
Shocker; I was wrong.
I asked for advice on my Instagram stories and was flooded with great tips and tricks for building a better smoothie and just as many responses asking me to share what I learned. Ask and ye shall receive!
Over the past week, I’ve implemented these pearls of smoothie wisdom and tried several recommended recipe. I’m happy to announce that I’ve had seriously tasty success.
How to Build a Better Smoothie
To determine the amount of liquid, fill up the cup you want to drink out of with your liquid of choice. How many times have I made a smoothie only to fill my cup up halfway? Or end up with double the amount I need. Such a simple, helpful tip!
Add the liquids to the blender first. This allows the blender to create the liquid vortex that will easily pull down the other ingredients to blend.
Powders and seeds should be poured directly into the liquid before any other ingredients. This is so the powders can fully dissolve into the liquid so you won’t be left with a chalky texture. Seeds (like chia seeds) are good to add now (and let them sit for a few minutes) so they can absorb some of the liquid in order to plump up and better blend into the smoothie.
Frozen ingredients should go in last. Whether you are using frozen fruit, frozen veggies, or ice cubes, the weight of those ingredients will help weigh all the other ingredients down.
Similar to a meal, consider your mix of macro-nutrients. Fruit is great, however it can be high in sugar, so a fruit-heavy smoothie without fat and protein to balance it out will result in a sugar high, followed by a crash.
Some great add-ins to add some staying power to your smoothie include nut butters, avocado, full fat Greek yogurt, coconut oil, or flaxseed oil.
Don’t overload the healthy. I tend to get excited about packing nutrients in, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that trying to cram maca powder, spirulina, acai powder, goji berries, and bone broth protein into a single smoothie is a recipe for a gag-worthy result. Pick a super nutrient powder or two at the max, and use in small increments until you know how you tolerate the taste. Spirulina is not for the weak!
Invest in a quality blender. Of course there is always the Vitamix or Blendtec, but if you aren’t wanting to invest that much, the Ninja Professional Blender is an incredible blender at a price that makes sense.
Consider the ratio of ingredients. A good breakdown is typically:
- 1 cup fruit
- 1-2 cups of veggies
- 1 Tbsp fat (nut butter, avocado oil, etc)
- 3/4 cup liquid of choice
Of course, there are endless ways to doctor it up! Weelicious has a great smoothie add-in chart here. And apparently she shares a new smoothie recipe every morning in her Instastories, I was told.
Add spices. Cinnamon and nutmeg can add some serious flavor to a banana-based smoothie. Cocoa powder tossed in with peanut butter is going to be delicious. Cayenne or ginger will add some pizzazz to a lemon and coconut water blend. Have fun with it!
Don’t be too bold with the greens. There is a reason baby spinach got such a reputation; you really can’t taste it! But dandelion greens? Arugula? They’re going to be recognizable, and not in a good way!
Switch up your liquids to add variety. Almond milk and coconut water are fairly common, but branching out and trying tea, kefir, kombucha, juice, or coffee as a base can really shake things up.
To make it extra thick, freeze the fruit and some of your liquid of choice too. Freezing coconut water or almond milk into cubes will thicken up your result. Just add a few cubes in with the liquid portion.
Start at a low speed and work your way up to high. If you increase the speed too quickly an air pocket will form and the blades will just spin around without actually blending the ingredients.
And a final note on smoothie color! Berries are often then culprit behind brown smoothies. If you’re after a bright green color, don’t add berries of any kind, or at the very least stick to strawberries (just a couple!) or blueberries on their own (will end up being dark purple). However, berries can be delicious so if you’re pouring into an opaque cup- who cares?!
Tested and Approved Recipes:
Ok smoothie lovers, help a girl out!
Which tips did I miss?
Which tips have proven to be the most important in your smoothie making?
What is your favorite smoothie recipe or combination?