Smoothie Basics

One of the most frequent questions I get as a dietitian who provides constant meal planning recommendations is: are smoothies good for you and what do you put in you smoothie?

To answer the first question, yes! Smoothies can be good for you and make a great meal or snack. However, there are ones that are loaded with sugars which will leave  you left looking for something else in no time.

My go-to base recipe is  a simple and flexible combination of protein, fiber, and fat all rolled into one. It’s contains only naturally occurring sugars and is packed with protein and fiber to keep you full, energized, and ready to take on the day (or rest of the day, depending on when you choose to make it).


Basic Smoothie 

Serves: 1

6 ounces plain Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sweetener of choice (optional)
3/4 – 1 cup unsweetened fruit
1/4 to 1/2  cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon nut butter
2 tablespoons flax seed
1 cup fresh spinach
3 ice cubes

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth & combined.

I like to use plain Greek yogurt because it is a staple in my house. It’s loaded with protein and probiotics plus calcium. To keep the sugar down and limit it to just naturally occurring sugars, I opt for the plain varieties. To add more flavor without sugars, I add a splash of good quality vanilla. It’s truly my secret weapon for added flavor without adding any extra sweetness {except from naturally occurring sugars like in the yogurt and fruit}.

For the fruit, you can use any fruit you’d like. Frozen or fresh! I prefer frozen just because then I can omit the ice cubes and it’s one tiny step less.

I tend to go with a mixture of fruits from 1/4 banana {the remaining banana gets chopped and frozen for later} + a few berries + few peaches or cherries.

For the milk, you could use any sort: low fat or skim milk, plain soy, flax, unsweetened nut or coconut milk. I like to keep the calories and carbs a bit lower by using an unsweetened vanilla almond milk.

To really make this into a nutritious and substantial meal, I like to add peanut butter. It provides a nice rich creaminess, but it could be omitted, if you like.  You could also replace it with any nut butter, of course, or swapped with PB2 powder for a slightly lower calorie version.  Another healthy fat source is coming from the flax seeds which are also helping to boost the fiber content.

The spinach is a neutral flavor additive, but really punches in the nutrients, especially for breakfast.

SO there you have it. My everyday perfectly nutritious and absolutely delicious smoothie recipe. The only variety I really ever add to change out the fruits.

Do you have a favorite smoothie base?



2 responses to “Smoothie Basics”

  1. I love your Smoothie 101! Since moving to FL, we make smoothies all year round so having tons of different options is key to keeping them fresh and fun! Aside from the occasional “green” smoothie, I don’t tend to think of adding spinach but I really should use it more often 🙂


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