Here are 7 Healthy Smoothies full of protein so they can be enjoyed as meals. They contain minimal ingredients, plus you can meal prep them!
How to Make Healthy Smoothies
Making healthy smoothies is a much simpler process than you would imagine, and this post will show you how to make 7 different kinds of healthy smoothies that you're going to love!
I think many people have misconceptions about what healthy smoothies really are. I know when I was younger, I thought that healthy smoothies were the ones you got at Booster Juice. Sadly, I would order a large smoothie from there or Starbucks after a night of partying and think I was replenishing my body with healthy food. Little did I know these smoothies were often filled with sugary frozen yogurt and can contain up to 460 calories (just take a look at their Acai smoothie).
To make genuinely healthy smoothies, you have to be careful with the ingredients you use. This post will educate you on how to choose the highest-quality ingredients to ensure that you're getting the nutritional benefits you should be getting with fruit-filled smoothies.
As long as you stock your freezer with frozen fruit and keep a few handy base ingredients on hand in the fridge each week, smoothie making is super easy and nutritious.
Now that you know to focus on healthy, whole food ingredients for smoothies, let's talk specifics!
Healthy smoothies usually consist of the ingredients you use to flavour your smoothies, such as the fruit itself, and from there you will add in your base ingredients:
- Liquid for a smooth consistency such as milk (dairy or non-dairy) or water
- A protein source to keep you feeling full for hours
Protein in Smoothies
After you've added your fruit and liquid, you will want to add in some protein, especially if you're looking to enjoy it as a full-on breakfast. Even if you're just looking to drink a smoothie as a healthy snack, you should still be adding a protein source to ensure that it satiates you and keeps you feeling full for a little while.
Here are the best protein sources:
- Greek yogurt (the highest protein yogurt out there)
- Seeds such as flax, hemp hearts and chia seeds – these seeds also help to add omega-3s to your smoothies
- Protein powder such as Kaizen Naturals, which has 30g of protein and just 130 calories per scoop
Not all protein powders are made equal so be sure you do your research before buying. You can choose from a variety of different protein powders such as whey, rice, pea, soy and more so you'll also want to assess which type is right for you. The Cleveland Clinic has a great article to help you choose.
Keeping the ingredients minimal but flavourful
My biggest piece of advice is to keep it simple!
Pick 1-3 fruits to add, maybe a leafy green such as spinach and then your liquid and protein source. That's it!
Don't make it harder on yourself by going out and spending all this money on fish oil, fresh turmeric, etc and then have a smoothie where you don't enjoy the taste very much or you've spent $100 on ingredients and have turned it into a complicated process. Sometimes the healthiest foods are the simplest foods.
What NOT to Add to Healthy Smoothies
There really aren't too many things you shouldn't be adding to smoothies, but I can say with confidence that sugar and ice are the biggest no-nos in my book.
First up, ice will totally water down your smoothies if you don't drink them right away and you need a super high-powered blender to get a smoother consistency.
Second, you can get sweeter smoothies with natural ingredients – don't add calories or reduce the healthiness by adding sugar!
How to make smoothies sweeter
Now, I know you're probably wondering how the heck you make your smoothies sweeter then!
We all have varying levels of taste when it comes to sweetness. For me personally, as I've incorporated less sugar into my diet over time, I've gotten used to things tasting less sweet.
Bananas are great natural sweeteners and they are often more than enough when you're making a smoothie.
Here are some other sweetener ideas below:
- applesauce (I often recommend this in place of bananas)
- real maple syrup (not cheap table syrup)
Alternatives to Bananas
If you're allergic to bananas or otherwise don't like the taste of them, you can substitute a number of ingredients to add the same natural sweetness to your smoothies!
Applesauce and dates are my go-tos, but here are a few other sweet ideas to replace bananas:
- Honeydew or cantaloupe
- Fresh figs
- Medjool dates
- Almond butter
- Avocado (replaces the texture, not the sweetness per se)
Healthy Smoothies and Weight Loss
If you are drinking smoothies in an effort to lose weight, make sure to keep these points in mind:
- Not all smoothies are healthy. Drinking smoothies alone will not help you lose weight. Healthy smoothie recipes can contribute to your weight-loss plans, but only if you’re choosing low-fat, low-calorie, low-sugar ingredients.
- Use portion control. Smoothies can contain more vegetables or fruit than you would eat raw and that means you are taking in more calories, carbohydrates and sugar than you think. Keep your smoothie at around 10 oz (most store-bought smoothies are at least 16 oz or more). If you make too much, freeze the extra portion for later.
- Smoothies can leave you feeling hungry. Make sure your smoothie contains the right balance of ingredients. Adding protein and healthy fats will help make you feel full longer. But be careful as these additions can also make the calorie count go up. If you feel the need to add healthy fats or protein, then consider adding a quarter of an avocado (81 calories), half a cup of Greek yogurt (140 calories) or a tablespoon of peanut butter (95 calories).
Yes, you can lose weight drinking smoothies but it needs to be part of an overall diet plan. Read more about meal prep and weight loss here.
Seven Healthy Smoothie Recipes
Below you'll find pictures of each of the seven healthy smoothies you have the option of making along with the recipes below. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Strawberry banana smoothie
Peanut butter banana smoothie
Equipment for Healthy Smoothies
Having the right equipment is key to making healthy smoothies.
- The Vitamix personal series is great for making just one or two smoothies at a time
- So is the Magic Bullet or Nutri Bullet – the only hang up here is that I find I have to replace these models once every couple years or so because the motor eventually burns out
- The Vitamix Ascent series is my fave though – it's self-cleaning so you aren't left with a ton of mess and it's perfect for if you're prepping 3-4 smoothies at a time. It can tear through anything to make the smoothest smoothie, even ice!
You can of course get a mid-range blender too, really any blender will work. But if it takes 3 or more tries to get that smooth texture without all the lumps, it can be a frustrating experience.
See how often you're going to be making smoothies and if it's going to be a consistent thing for you, your best bet is to invest in a high-powered blender that can minimize the time you spend making healthy smoothies.
How to Meal Prep Smoothies
Believe it or not, you can meal prep smoothies in a variety of ways!
The basic premise is that you add all your fillings, then add the milk/Greek yogurt fresh the day you go to make them. You can make a ton of different combos in advance and then you have your smoothies meal prepped and waiting for you without the hassle of getting everything out.
This method is great for when you have to get out the door fast but you still want a freshly blended smoothie.
How Long Will Healthy Smoothies Last in the Fridge?
You can also blend a few smoothies up to 3 days in advance – I find that just like cold-pressed juices, smoothies will last a few days in the fridge. They won't quite be as good as fresh, but nothing in the smoothie is necessarily going to go bad so you can make a few at a time to enjoy later.
I wouldn't recommend leaving them past 3 days because the bananas or other leafy greens can go bad but you do have a couple days to enjoy.
Meal prep tools for this recipe
More healthy breakfast ideas
The Best Healthy Smoothie Recipes
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1/2 green apple, chopped
- 1 banana
Strawberry banana smoothie
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1 banana
- 1/4 cup frozen mango chunks
- 1/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 ripe avocado, mashed
- 1 banana
- 1 cup watermelon
- 1 lime, juiced
Peanut butter banana smoothie
- 1 banana
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 banana
Base ingredients for all smoothies
- 1/2 cup dairy, almond, rice, soy or coconut milk
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (optional)
- 1 tbsp flax, hemp or chia seeds
- 2 tbsp protein powder of choice
- 1 tbsp sweetener of choice (honey, stevia, agave syrup, dates)
- 1/2 cup applesauce (use in place of banana)
- Add in base ingredients and add-ins of choice to a blender or Magic Bullet. Usually almond or coconut milk, Greek yogurt and hemp seeds are my go-to ingredients for any smoothie but you can add in additional natural sweeteners or swap out bananas for applesauce.
- In addition to your base ingredients, add the ingredients for whatever smoothie you want to make. For instance, if you are looking to make the green smoothie, add the spinach, green apple and banana to the blender.
- Blend ingredients on high until a smooth consistency develops. Add more milk as desired if you'd like a thinner smoothie. Serve immediately or enjoy up to 3 days after making your smoothie.
- Tip: If you want to make these smoothies ahead you can assemble little individual-sized plastic bags filled with the fruit-based ingredients and freeze up to 3 months in advance.
NOTE: Nutritional info is an approximate calculation for one smoothie with two different types of fruit, 1/2 cup almond milk and 1/3 cup of Greek yogurt. You can calculate exact calories depending on your unique combo of ingredients on Myfitnesspal