On most days I start my morning off with a smoothie. I feel like it’s a great way to consume large amounts of raw fruits and vegetables and nourish my body with essential nutrients. Blending has especially been helpful since my husband and I decided to minimize the amount of gluten and grains in our diet.
What’s important to know is that most smoothies can be a meal replacement since you can pack in a lot of calories depending on what you use. On the other hand, the combination possibilities are endless! You can create a variety of smoothies that work for your own diet and lifestyle by making them as light or as rich as you would like.
Smoothies don’t have to be a breakfast food. They can also be made for a midday snack, refreshment or even an evening treat. I suggest investing in a powerful blender if you don’t already have one. My Vitamix Professional 500 Blender is one of my favorite kitchen tools. There are other similar blenders available that you may consider as well. I’ve also used the Magic Bullet to make single serving sized smoothies when I am on the go.
I’ve shared a few of my favorite smoothie recipes on my DRINKS page. I’ll definitely be adding more in the future, but this will help you get started. I have made many variations of these combinations and always add plenty of extra nutrients.
Here are my steps to making a delicious smoothie. Feel free to use this as a guide. You can also omit steps based on your preferences since many of them are optional.
Step 1 LIQUID
You always want to start your smoothie off with a liquid. It should go into the blender first to make blending the solids easier. There are several options you can choose from. You can definitely just use water, but my favorite option and a popular choice today is nut milk. You can buy nut milk at the store, but I find that most store bought nut milks contain added sugars and additives, so I like to make my own. I simply throw a handful of raw nuts into the blender, add water and blend. It’s just that easy! I recommend using sprouted nuts whenever available because they are known to improve mineral absorption and aid in digestion, plus they just taste better...
Nut Milks (Almond and Cashew Milks are the most popular)
Fruit Juice (To avoid added sugars and to gain the most health benefits, it’s best to freshly extract juice from fruits such as oranges or grapefruits. You can also buy or make fresh pressed juice such as carrot juice.)
Step 2 SOLIDS
The second step is to add fresh vegetable and/or fruit solids to your smoothies. Stick with your favorites at first and try to use both fruits and vegetables to balance the flavor and sugar intake. You can choose to peel or not peel certain produce, but be sure to cut them into chunks to make blending easier. I suggest using organic produce as much as possible. If they are not in season or are unavailable, you may also find them frozen. What’s great about frozen produce is that it’s just as nutritious and can even thicken your smoothies and chill them without adding ice. Here are some popular solid fruits and vegetables that you can use…
Berries (Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries)
Step 3 THICKENERS
Smoothies usually have a thick consistency. You can control the texture with the amount of thickener you use and can always add water to dilute and thin them out. You can also skip this step all together to blend a more juice- like drink instead of a smoothie. You also don’t have to stick to one kind of thickener. Several could be added to the same smoothie…
Nut Butters (Almond and Peanut are most popular)
Step 4 SWEETENERS
If you prefer added sweetness to your smoothie, here are some natural options…
Dates (Medjool Dates recommended)
Raw Agave Nectar
Step 5 GREENS
You can sneak in a good amount of greens in smoothies and barely taste them. This is helpful for people that don’t enjoy the taste of raw greens and it works great for kids too. I personally love greens, so I don’t mind packing them in. I categorized them separately from the vegetables because greens take up room in the blender, so I like to add them towards the end just before I add my ice cubes and pack them in tight…
Fresh Herbs (Mint, Basil, Parsley)
Step 6 FLAVOR ENHANCERS
Here are some extra flavor enhancers that you can add to your smoothies that will excite your taste buds…
Raw Vanilla Powder or Pure Vanilla Extract
Raw Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Ground Spices (Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Pumpkin Spice, Red Pepper)
Raw Cacao (powder or nibs can be used)
Fresh Ginger Root
Himalayan Sea Salt
Step 7 ADDED NUTRIENTS
You can pack added nutrients such as plant based proteins, super foods, nuts and seeds in your smoothies. I suggest starting with small amounts and slowly adding them to your diet. Also be sure to educate yourself on the added nutrients you choose to make sure you are using what is best and safest for you…
Cold Milled Ground Flaxseed (Golden variety is more mild in flavor)
Maca Powder (tastes best with Cacao)
Step 8 ICE
I debated adding ice as a step, but unless you are using any frozen fruit or vegetables (I like to add a little ice even if I am), smoothies taste best chilled with ice. Add ice as the last step and blend. If you run out of room in the carafe, just blend all the other ingredients first which will give you more room to then add ice and blend.
I continue to try new ingredients in my smoothies on a weekly basis. I will share my experiences with you as I go along. As always I would love to hear your feedback! Enjoy!