Beginners Guide To Making Fruit And Green Healthy Smoothies

Beginners Guide To Making Fruit And Green Healthy Smoothies

If you google the internet about healthy eating, you will find that dieticians, nutritionists and health experts often disagree about what’s good and what’s bad for you. However, most, if not all, agree that we should all eat more fruit and vegetables in their natural state. Particularly green leafy vegetables deliver the highest number of micronutrients and phytonutrients to our bodies, helping us to gain more energy, lose weight, stay younger and healthier for longer.

Smoothies are an easy way to consume a good quantity of healthy fruits and vegetables. It is rather quick and simple to throw a few ingredients into a blender and reap the health benefits that all the fresh fruit and vegetables have to offer. If you are new to making fruit and green healthy smoothies or find yourself cycling through the same handful of recipes, you may be wondering how you can make your own and have them full of nutrition and have a pleasant taste.

Making smoothies is easy, but it can be tricky to figure out the right ingredients and quantities to use. Below is a beginner’s guide to making better smoothies, from basic tips to the use of nutrition-boosting add-ins.

You will learn how to:

  • Build a Basic Smoothie.
  • Choose the Right Ingredients.
  • Add Extras for More Nutrients.
  • Get More Variety.

​Follow these guidelines to learn about the wide variety of ingredients and start making your own nutritious smoothies. Remember to keep your portion sizes and ingredients in check. Even healthy ingredients can quickly add up to create a calorie-heavy drink with more calories, fat and sugar than some desserts.

​Video - How to Make a Smoothie Recipe Guide

How to Build a Basic Smoothie

While you don’t need a recipe to make a good smoothie, adhering to a few general rules will help you achieve better results. When you are just starting out with making your own smoothies, it can be overwhelming, even when starting from recipes.

Some people prefer to have very strict recipes that tells them exactly what to put in their smoothies, while others want to build their own, but need a good place to start.

If you are the latter, the following ratios are going to be very useful to you.

Consider these guidelines as a starting point for making great-tasting, nutritious smoothies. Feel free to experiment to find the perfect combination for your smoothie.

Use Ratios

Using ratios takes the guesswork out of building smoothies. These ratios will allow you to scale your smoothies, making it easier to make a smaller or larger amount as needed. You can use these basic ratios with any combination of ingredients to create a smoothie that is flavorful, nutritious and filling.

The amount of liquid listed will yield a smoothie with a drinkable, but thicker, consistency. Add more liquid if you prefer a thinner smoothie.

Basic Fruit Smoothie Ratio

2 parts frozen fruit : 1 part liquid

​Green Smoothie Ratio

​1.5 parts frozen fruit : 1 part leafy greens : 1 part liquid

​Note: If you are not using a high-powered blender like Vitamix or Blendtec, you may find you always need to add more liquid to get your smoothie to blend well.

Video - How to Make a Basic Fruit Smoothie

Choose Your Ingredients

After understanding proper ratios for a fruit or green smoothie (one with vegetables), you will want to then select your ingredients. You will learn a little more about the ingredients in the next couple sections, but here are some quick tips:

Choose at least one liquid and one type of produce – As you learned in the ratio section, the two basic things you need are a liquid and a solid. You need at least one type of produce for a fruit smoothie, but you will often add in others. You will then need to choose a liquid that goes good for the type of smoothie you want.

Making a thicker smoothie – You can definitely just blend up fruit and juice if you want, but it will be more like a juice instead of a smoothie. For a smoothie to be thicker, consider bananas as well as yogurt, honey, or other extra ingredients to really thicken it up.

Make sure you use enough liquid – This is absolutely essential! You need enough liquid for your other ingredients to blend properly, whether you are using a personal-sized blender like a Ninja, or a large blender like a Vitamix. Start small, then add more liquid if the frozen fruit is having trouble blending properly.

​Don’t forget about added ingredients – Another thing you will learn later on in this resource is that not only can you go basic with liquid and produce, but there are a lot of extras you can add. These are for flavor, nutrition, and a denser smoothie that keeps you fuller for longer.

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Aim for Proper Nutrition

Smoothies taste delicious, but for most people, that isn’t the only reason to drink one. Whether you are making one to replace a meal or have as an added snack, it should also provide adequate nutrition.

This is when you don’t just add whatever you have available, but really focus on vitamins and minerals in the ingredients you are using. For example:

Add both fruits and vegetables – The easiest way to make sure you are making a nutritious smoothie every time is to add both fruits and vegetables. This helps cut back a little on the overall sugar from fruits, and allows you to get even more vitamins and minerals from the vegetables. This is also going to help you turn it into a nutrient-dense green smoothie full of superfoods.

Think about added nutrients – There are also other ways to make your smoothie more nutrient-dense. Think about the added ingredients you often add for flavor, but also add in nutrients your body needs.

For example, for calcium and vitamin D, think about adding a milk, nut milk, or yogurt.

You can add in some nut butter if you want more protein in your smoothie.

For sweetness without a bunch of fruit, think about maple syrup or raw honey instead.

Chia seeds, hemp seeds, and coconut oil all add in more nutrients as well.

​Focus on proper balance – You can also get better balance by combining these ingredients instead of focusing on more simplistic approaches. But it doesn’t need to be complicated. Choose a green, a berry, a liquid, and any extra ingredients for easy balance that doesn’t make it difficult to put your smoothie together.

​Video - How To Make A Green Smoothie Tasty Every Time

Blending Your Smoothie

How do you blend your smoothie? It is easier than you might think! It truly is as simple as adding all the ingredients to your blender and turning it on, but here are some tips to make it go more smoothly.

Use frozen bananas instead of ice – Is your smoothie too watery? Try using more dense fruits and vegetables, and less fruits with a high water content. Another way to thicken it up is to ditch the ice and use frozen bananas instead. Cut them up before you freeze them, and then you can just grab however you want for each smoothie.

Add yogurt to make it smooth – Get a smoothie that is thick and smooth just how you like it with yogurt. If you are dairy-free, you can get a soy or other dairy-free yogurt and will accomplish the same effect.

Thicken it up with nut butter – Nut butter is a great addition to any smoothie. It helps you to thicken up your smoothie, add more protein, and just add more nutrients in general.

Selecting Your Smoothie Ingredients

Your smoothie will contain at least a liquid and a fruit. Add fresh leafy green vegetables to really amp up the nutrition of your smoothie. Below are some details on the various liquid, fruit and vegetable ingredients you can use.

Smoothie Liquids

Water - Water is the easiest choice for a light smoothie. It makes a great liquid for beginning smoothies because you don’t have to worry about how it tastes in combination with your other ingredients.

Water won’t add unnecessary calories and will help keep you hydrated. Water-based smoothies can be bland, so you will want to focus on using other flavorful ingredients in your smoothie.

Coconut Water - Coconut water is another great choice for a light smoothie. The mild coconut flavor will add a tropical twist to you smoothie and works well with most fruits. Coconut water also delivers electrolytes, making it a great choice for a post workout recovery smoothie.

Milk - Various milks are tasty additions for making creamier smoothies. If you eat dairy, regular milk is fairly neutral and adds calcium and protein to your smoothie. Nut and seed milks are excellent choices for making dairy-free smoothies.

They add a mild nutty taste and a creamy consistency. You can use any nut or seed milk you like, but almond, cashew or hemp seed milks are all good choices. Make your own or buy unsweetened nut milks to avoid unwanted sugar and calories.

Coconut Milk - Coconut milk is another dairy-free option for making creamier smoothies. Purchase the kind sold in cartons next to the other nondairy milks. You can use canned coconut milk, but you will probably want to thin it with some water.

Yogurt - Plain unsweetened yogurt, either dairy or nondairy, can also be used to create a creamy smoothie with added nutrition. Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein, making it ideal for an easy meal replacement smoothie. Yogurt-based smoothies will be thicker than those made with liquid. Try thinning your yogurt with an equal part of water first.

Coffee or Tea - Try using coffee or tea for a unique and flavorful smoothie. You may want to dilute the coffee or tea with water for a less overpowering taste. The stronger flavors of these liquids will not pair well with all fruits, but coffee in particular can be quite good with bananas, nuts and cocoa.

​Avoid using undiluted fruit juices in your smoothies. Your smoothie is already packed with fruit, and you do not need the added calories and sugar from the juice. If you want to add some juice to flavor your smoothie, try using a small amount of juice with one of the other liquids.

Smoothie ​Fruits

Use any fruit you like in your smoothie. Use a single fruit, or experiment with different combinations for more variety and nutrition. Many fruits taste great together, and you may find yourself enjoying some surprising combinations. Try to include berries in your smoothies. Not only are berries packed with antioxidants, but they typically pair well with other fruits.

You can use fresh fruit, but frozen has several advantages. Frozen fruit is convenient and can be added to your smoothie without any prep work. Frozen fruit is typically more economical, especially if you are able to purchase large bags in bulk at Costco or Sam’s. Using frozen fruit allows you to skip the ice, resulting in a better-tasting smoothie.

Excellent Fruits for Smoothies

While you can use any type of fresh or frozen fruit, here are some that tend to work very well in smoothies:

Bananas

​Apples

​Pears

​Peaches

​Nectarines

Bananas
Apples
Pears
Peaches
Nectarines

​Strawberries

​Raspberries

Blueberries

​Cherries

Watermelon

Strawberries
Raspberries
Blueberries
Cherries
Watermelon

​Bananas

A lot of smoothie recipes use bananas as a base. They pair well with most fruits and add sweetness and creaminess to the smoothie. Try freezing your bananas for best results. Simply peel the banana, cut into chunks and freeze in bags. They will keep in the freezer for at least a few weeks.

​Video - How to Make a Banana Smoothie - Easy Banana Smoothie Recipe

Alternatives to Bananas

You can make a good smoothie without using bananas. Many of these options have tremendous health benefits, although they will be less sweet than a banana-based smoothie. Try avocado for creaminess and a dose of healthy fats. Chia seeds or flaxseed can both be used to thicken a smoothie and are great sources of Omega-3 fats.

You can also try yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese or nuts to get the right consistency. Mango can add sweetness and is fairly dense, and it can be used alone or in combination with other thickening ingredients.

​Leafy Greens

​Try adding a handful of leafy greens to your fruit smoothie for an easy way to increase your vegetable intake. If you are new to green smoothies, start with milder tasting greens such as spinach or lettuce. Try adding kale, chard or any other dark leafy green to your smoothie.

Paired with the sweetness of the fruit, even these more assertive greens will not be overpowering. Use freshly washed greens, and simply cut or tear them into large pieces. Some people like to blend the greens and liquid for a bit before adding the fruit, but this step is probably unnecessary if you are using a high-powered blender.

How to Boost Your Smoothies Nutrition

Once you’ve learned how to make a basic fruit or green smoothie, you can start adding various ingredients to turn your smoothie into a superfood powerhouse. The ingredients below are merely suggestions; there is no limit to the healthy boosters you can add to your smoothies.

Choose One or Two Superfoods: These add-ins can add up quickly, so always keep you portions and nutrition in check. Try choosing just one or two to avoid overwhelming flavors.

Protein Powder: While they are high in nutrition, smoothies are typically fairly low in protein. Milk or yogurt can provide protein, but most other fruit and green smoothie ingredients do not add much in the way of protein. Try adding a scoop of an unflavored and unsweetened protein powder to your smoothie, especially if you are drinking it as a meal replacement.

Greens Powders: Try adding a green supplement powder to your smoothie for a nutritional boost. These whole food powders blend well and taste good in combination with the other fruit and vegetable ingredients.

Nuts and Seeds: Nuts, seeds and their butters are great smoothie add-ins. These ingredients are high in fat, so be mindful of your portion sizes to avoid putting too many calories in your smoothie. Almonds, cashews and other nuts add healthy fats and thickness to your smoothie.

Try adding a small handful to your blender to give your smoothie more substance. A tablespoon or two of any seed is also a great addition. There are many nutritious seeds to choose from; try chia, hemp or flax if you are new to seeds.

Nut and seed butters are another good choice for adding staying power and nutrition to your smoothie. The healthy fats will help balance out the sugar from the fruit. Try adding a tablespoon or two of peanut, almond, cashew or sunflower butter. Always opt for unsweetened nut and seed butters.

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Coconut Oil: Used sparingly, coconut oil is a tasty way to increase the nutritional profile of your smoothie if you don’t mind consuming some saturated fat. Even a small amount will give your smoothie a slight tropical twist from the coconut.

Avocado: Avocados are a great source of many vitamins and minerals. These nutrient dense foods are high in good fats and will deliver creaminess to your smoothie. Avocados do pack a lot of calories into a small package. Try adding just one-fourth or one-half of an avocado.

Cacao Powder or Nibs: Unsweetened cocoa is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is quite low in calories and may even help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Try adding a tablespoon or two of raw cacao powder or nibs to your next smoothie. It typically pairs well with bananas, other fruits and nuts.

Oats: Oats are high in fiber and can help control blood sugar and cholesterol. Add a quarter cup of oats to increase the consistency and staying power of your smoothie. Oats are not overpowering but may give your smoothie a slight nutty taste.

Spices: You can add any spices to your smoothie, and many have impressive antioxidant levels. Try adding a teaspoon of turmeric or ginger to boost the anti-inflammatory properties of your smoothie. Cinnamon is another healthful spice, and can be added to help fight inflammation. Spices can quickly overpower a smoothie, so stick to small amounts of a single spice.

Bee Pollen: Natural health enthusiasts like bee pollen for its high antioxidant, vitamin and mineral content. A teaspoon of bee pollen could help you reduce inflammation along with many other possible health benefits. If you have pollen allergies, use bee pollen with caution because it could result in an allergic reaction.

Honey and Maple Syrup: Smoothies are typically sweet from the fruit and do not need any additional sweeteners to taste good. You can add a small amount of honey or maple syrup to provide sweetness along with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Avoid turning your healthy smoothie into a dessert. A tablespoon or less of added sweeteners is usually sufficient.

Other Powders: There are many other supplemental powders that can be added to your smoothie to provide a nutrient boost. These powders are readily available online or at most local health foods stores. Try adding a teaspoon of one of these superfood powders to your smoothie. Matcha is a green tea powder that is very high in amino acids and antioxidants.

Matcha may even boost your energy and brain health. Spirulina, an algae, is extremely high in iron and essential amino acids. It is considered a nutrient dense food and is high in protein. Peruvian maca root powder is derived from a relative of the radish and may help balance several hormones and increase energy. Maca root is very high in vitamin C, copper and iron.

Matcha may even boost your energy and brain health. Spirulina, an algae, is extremely high in iron and essential amino acids. It is considered a nutrient dense food and is high in protein. Peruvian maca root powder is derived from a relative of the radish and may help balance several hormones and increase energy. Maca root is very high in vitamin C, copper and iron.

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Aim for Smoothie Variety

Rather than always using the same two ingredients, try to regularly switch up your add-ins. This variety will help keep your smoothies interesting and will provide the greatest nutritional diversity.

Benefits of Going for Variety

While you can definitely make the same smoothie every day if it is one you enjoy, there are also some unique benefits to using more variety. Here are some reasons to go this route:

You won’t get bored – Having the same thing every single day can get old pretty fast. Regardless of your reason for drinking smoothies, you might not want to keep having the exact same one every day with the same ingredients. This can get boring and often discourage you from continuing to make them.

You can switch it up really easily just by choosing different fruits, switching up your liquid, or occasionally adding some greens for more of a green smoothie.

It helps add more nutrients – Using more variety with your smoothies will also ensure you are adding as many vitamins and minerals as you can. If you have your same strawberry banana smoothie daily, you get lots of potassium, antioxidants, and vitamin C, but what about nutrients from greens, other fruits, nut butter, or herbs?

Mix it up every once in a while to get more superfoods and nutrients in your smoothie.

​You can experiment – You can also experiment with your smoothies by switching up the ingredients you add to them. If you love berries, why not try raspberries or blackberries, instead of strawberries or blueberries? Try more exotic fruits, and add in more veggies to see what other combinations you can create.

​Smoothie Making Tips

GREENS: Try Spinach, Kale, Chard

By adding leaves first, larger chunks won’t get stuck in the blades and everything will blend more easily. You can trust your smoothie won’t taste like salad with a packed cup.

OTHER VEGGIES: Try Beet, Celery, Carrots

Tailor these nutrient boosters to your liking and cut into chunks (about cup per serving) but keep the skins on everything—more fiber!

FRESH FRUITS: Try Apple, Orange, Cucumber

A small layer of fruit can add a fresh dimension. Cucumber doesn’t add a lot of flavor, but it’s a great low-calorie filler if you really want other flavors to shine. Use cup.

FROZEN FRUITS: Try Tart Cherries, Blueberries, Strawberries

Instead of ice, use frozen fruit and you won’t dilute the taste. You can buy a bag in the grocery store or freeze your own when your favorites are in season. Add 1 cup per serving.

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SMOOTH MAKER: Try Avocado, Coconut Butter, Banana

You need something with a smooth texture to help the consistency go from a little gritty to creamy goodness. Just banana or a slice of avocado (both can be peeled and frozen in advance) is enough but use more if you want to add flavor.

LIQUID: Try Organic Milk, Coconut Water, Almond Milk, Water

Keep it simple with a slosh from your tap! If you have other liquids you feel like using, go for it. Add about 1 cup depending on how thick you like it.

GIVE IT A MIX: After adding everything to your blender (measurements are for 1 serving), start on a low speed and work your way higher. As the frozen chunks break down, run on high for up to 1 minute to get everything smooth. Taste and serve. When in doubt, add more fruit!

DO I HAVE TO ADD EVERYTHING: No! If you include too many ingredients, your smoothie may be more science experiment than tasty concoction. Start slowly by adding one ingredient per layer (we used the bold ones). As you gain more confidence in the process, you can get more creative.

​Follow these simple tips to learn how to make smoothies, and make sure you have nutritious, superfood-filled, and delicious smoothies for a healthy lifestyle.