A Basic Guide To Making Smoothies
The biggest misconception is that smoothies are easy to make and super healthy since they include fruit, vegetables and some protein powder.
And I get it. Having access to an easy, tasty way to eat something better than Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits — don’t judge me, I don’t judge you — for breakfast is quite liberating. There’s a certain feeling of pride that washes over you as you dump a million things into a blender and pulverize it in the name of your health. But when you put everything accept the dishwashing liquid into your smoothie, you’re more likely to do your health goals an injustice.
I’m a smoothie connoisseur due to many days spent fucking up so many recipes that it’s not even funny. My first green smoothie was a complete disaster — a chunky, runny mess — as was my first run-in with cauliflower rice.
But I love smoothies enough to eat them at least 4 times a week. I find them simple to make, which saves me a lot of time in the mornings. This love of saving time has motivated me to try all kinds of recipes and, let me tell you, most of what’s out there in the world of #Smoothie is absolutely disgusting — or it’s full of fruit and no veggies, which is fine but all that sugar can hurt your health goals.
So here’s a very basic guide to making good smoothies — not subjectively good smoothies, but ones that could be featured in the Louvre next to Mona Lisa.
1: For a fruit smoothie, Pick one or two fruits and a creamy base. If you’re going for a more savory smoothie — think chocolate peanut butter — pick a good base or two.
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mango. If you pick a fruit that has a more muted flavor, like dragonfruit or mango, I'd suggest adding a second more prominent fruit to help your smoothie taste like something. But mostly you can do whatever you want for a fruit smoothie.
Great bases include bananas, avocados, steamed then frozen zucchini, steamed then cauliflower rice or Greek yogurt. And don't worry. If you stick to 1/2 cup of steamed then frozen cauliflower rice or zucchini, you shouldn't be able to taste it.
2: Pick some leafy greens to throw in.
Choose a leafy green that can easily be covered up by the taste of the fruit or the savory. I go for chopped spinach or kale. How much you add is up to you. I always add at least 1 cup but sometimes I’ll add 2 cups. It depends on if I’m going for a green smoothie or a smoothie with greens in it. If your base is a vegetable though, eliminate the leafy greens altogether. It could work, or it could not. (It probably won't.)
3: Pick a liquid.
Water, almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, regular milk. Choose whatever works for you! Just remember: the more liquid you add, the runnier your smoothie will be. (8 to 12 oz tends to be a sweet spot for most recipes.)
4: Choose some lit add-ins that will help keep you full and energized!
This is the fun part.
Protein powder is a must for me. I lift heavy and the protein helps repair my muscle tissue while making the smoothie more filling. I loveeeeeeee adding chia seed, hemp seed and matcha into my smoothies. It increases the protein further without drenching the smoothie in calories, boosts the fiber which also helps fill me up and provides me with a lot of sustainable energy throughout the day.
I would love it if smoothies filled me the way other meals do but, truthfully, I haven't found a way to get one to satisfy me longer than 3 hours. (But if I do, I will let y'all know). It's a small serving of fruit, veggies and seeds so it's only going to go so far. But increasing the protein and fiber has helped me significantly.
I usually play around with the add-ins and their different benefits depending on what my goals are for the week. You can throw in ground flaxseed, rolled oats, goji berries, maca powder, spirulina, acai powder, aloe vera, bee pollen, matcha powder — the list is nearly infinite. So, if you can, experiment with different things to really figure out what you like. Just be cautious of adding ingredients that do the same thing. For example, spirulina, maca powder and matcha all boost energy. So you probably won't need all three of those things in one smoothie.
5: Measure out your portions.
Again, it’s very easy to overdo it. Your Strawberry Mango Protein Smoothie can easily be 800 calories and short on the protein and fiber — which I assume isn’t what many people are aiming for.
Here’s a general idea of portions:
Fruit — 1 to 2 cups
Veggies — 1 to 2 cups
Protein powder — 1 serving (based on packaging suggestions)
Yogurt — up to 1 cup (depending on type of yogurt, protein goals, etc.)
Seeds — 1 tbsp per seed type
Oats — up to ½ cup
6: Be open to fucking up your smoothie.
The other week, I was trying to make a chocolate coconut smoothie and I could not pin the recipe down. It was always too gritty and it never had enough coconut flavor. I ended up ditching it altogether and going back to what I know works.
Remember, it’s all about being kind to yourself, your ingredient ratio, what boosters you want to add and being mindful of the fact that you can easily make an 800 calorie smoothie.
Check out my incredibly basic, go-to smoothie recipe below.
Julia's Basic Breffus Smoothie
1 cup blueberries
1 cup plain 0% fat greek yogurt
1 cup spinach
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 serving protein powder
1 tsp matcha powder
1 ashwagandha capsule
Place your ingredients into the blender, spinach first. Blend and enjoy!