How to Build the Perfect Smoothie

Tasty blends

For a healthy energy boost, and a hearty dose of vitamins and minerals, try a freshly blended smoothie. We’ve put together a magic formula, as well as three creative recipes to take the guesswork out of whipping up the perfect beverage. All you need to do is choose your smoothie adventure, and pack your blender with antioxidant-rich berries, chia seeds, and fresh herbs such as basil and rosemary leaves. Then, give it a whirl and enjoy.

The Formula

Follow this road map for smart sips:

Produce: 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups
Fruit: Berries, banana (half a medium one equals 1/2 cup), melon, pitted cherries, avocado or pineapple
Vegetables: Cucumber, mashed pumpkin, mashed squash, spinach or kale
Ice and/or frozen fruit: 1/2 to 1 cup
Liquid: 1/2 to 1 cup juice, iced tea, coconut water, H2O or unsweetened nut milk (such as almond)
Protein: 2 Tbsp. nut butter, hemp seeds, chia seeds or protein powder

Want to add protein powder?

A few pointers on powering up your beverage:

Think whey
Whey protein powder dissolves well and lends a creamy texture. Plus, it’s a complete protein—that is, it contains all nine essential amino acids. Choose organic to avoid the growth hormone rBGH.

Watch out for sugar
Look for the lowest-sugar options you can find (there are several with as little as 1 to 2 grams per serving). Add your own sweetener as needed. Also, be sure there are no artificial sweeteners in the ingredients list.

Beware of the jitters
If a product promises to up your energy, check the label for mate or coffee extract; the powder may contain caffeine.

Master your blender

Know your power
If your blender is an older model, with dull blades or a weak motor, stick to fresh fruit instead of frozen, and blend in ice cubes gradually at the end.

Dry goes last
Add protein powder, chia seeds or hulled hemp seeds after all other ingredients to keep them from sticking to the bottom. (Ice may go last if your blender is older.)

Take a break
If you have trouble blending, stop the machine and let the ingredients sit for a few minutes to soften. Or add a little more liquid, a tablespoon at a time.

Basil-Melon Cooler

Ingredients: Fresh basil, pomegranate juice, frozen pineapple chunks, watermelon chunks, frozen raspberries, green tea ice cubes, chia seeds

Calories: 132

Go Green
Fresh herbs can give smoothies an amazing extra layer of flavor, as well as a nutrient boost. (Basil, featured here, is packed with vitamin K.)


Rainbow Sherbet Smoothie

Ingredients: Peeled grapefruit segments, watermelon chunks, frozen raspberries, pomegranate juice, green tea ice cubes, hulled hemp seeds

Calories: 133


Berry and Rosemary Sorbet

Ingredients: Frozen wild blueberries, orange juice, green tea ice cubes, fresh rosemary leaves, chia seeds

Calories: 196



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