For the last 6 years, smoothies have become a staple in our household. It isn’t normal if you don’t hear the blender going as everyone is getting ready to get out the door. However, over the years I’ve had to cater our smoothies to different tastes (picky), diets (low fructose) and need (filling).
One thing I noticed is that my personal green smoothie tastes were changing throughout the year. In the Summer I prefer a more tropical smoothie (vanilla with pineapple, peach, mango, etc) but in the Winter I like going down the chocolate strawberry route.
Throughout many years of testing and trying I’ve come to find that everyone just has their own preference when it comes to smoothies. So instead of sharing with you my perfect smoothie recipe, I built out a guide of all of our different ingredients for making green smoothies.
Why are there so many ingredients?
A common misconception about smoothies is that all smoothies are healthy. Wrong. Many smoothies from restaurants and fast food places (hi, dairy queen) are made with ice cream, sugar filled yogurt and flavored syrups that are basically high fructose corn syrup. In our house, most of that stuff doesn’t fly with anyone’s digestive systems.
However, green smoothies can be healthy, delicious AND filling by including the right ingredients. Let’s break down each category.
The cornerstone of a smoothie. No smoothie is complete without a fruit but be careful how much you add into your smoothie. We keep it to about 1 cup of fruit at the most since fruit is good but also fairly high in sugar.
I love talking to new smoothie makers about this category of smoothie ingredients. It is actually fairly important usually the most skipped category. Not only are they packed with some good vitamins and minerals, (good) fats will help fill you up and keep you full longer. If you’re going to make a smoothie for breakfast, this is key to staying full until the next meal!
Another important ingredient when it comes to staying full is protein. Not only will it help keep you full but protein is an important part of building up bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Protein powder is usually the easiest way to get it in, we love Garden of Life as its high in protein and not filled with sugar like some we’ve tried in the past!
Parents take note, this is BY FAR the easiest way to sneak spinach into your child’s diet. For a long time my kids thought it was AWESOME that their smoothies turned green. The hulk is green so it must be a good thing. Load up all of the vitamins with your favorite greens as you usually can’t taste them!
There’s nothing I play around with more in smoothies than liquids. We’ve tried all different kinds of milk, water, yogurt, etc. Truthfully, it comes down to personal taste. My family prefers heavy on the yogurt while I prefer heavy on the almond milk. There is no wrong way to do this category.
Here’s where the magic happens. This list could go on for pages and pages. There are so many other things you can mix into your smoothies. To me it all depends on the need. Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, high in fatty acids and stocked with fiber. Flax seed can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Cocoa can help mood and lessen depression symptoms.
The. list. goes. on.
What are your favorite smoothie ingredients? I can’t wait to hear about them below!