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The Basics of Building a Tasty Nutritious Smoothie

Posted by Johnson Memorial Health on Apr 21, 2015

Smoothies are are great way to get a quick dose of vitamins and minerals. They are a great choice for a healthy breakfast, snack, or post-workout boost because they are so quick, easy, and nutritious.

Smoothies can take the place of your favorite milkshake which is loaded with sugar, fat, and calories. When you make a delicious smoothie more creamy, you won't even notice the ice cream that is missing.


You won't believe how easy it is to make the perfect smoothie. Once you know the basics, you won't even have to measure or have exact ingredients. Just blend some of the items you have, and you'll be shocked at the nutritious creations you can create. Keep reading to find out how you can make he perfect smoothie that is good and good for you.

Step 1: Liquids

For starters, you'll need some sort of liquid base. You can use milk or the allergy friendly version of milk you prefer. Be careful with your milk substitutes since some can pack in a lot of added sugars. An even healthier base is plain yogurt. Yogurt contains bacteria which is super beneficial and nutritious. Beware of using fruit juice as a base. Even if the juice is 100% juice, the sugar content and added calories can make your snack a meal!

Here are a few liquid ideas to get you started. Some are more indulgent than others, so use those less frequently than healthier options!

  • Creamy liquids: yogurt, silken tofu, ice cream, sherbet, sorbet. Note: you'll have to add a thinner liquid in addition to the creamy liquids to blend well.

  • Thinner liquids: milk, soy milk, fruit juice, vegetable juice, water, green tea, coffee, chai

Use about one cup of base to get your smoothie started.

Step 2: Fruits

Fruit adds sweetness and nutritional fiber to a smoothie. If you use frozen fruit, your smoothie will be thicker and creamy; more like that milkshake you are trying to replace! If you use bananas, the smoothie will be even more creamy. Freezing those almost-too-ripe bananas is a great way to save. Be sure to peel them before you freeze them because they are nearly impossible to peel once frozen. If you use fresh, unfrozen fruit, be sure to add a couple of ice cubes as well.

Here are a few fruit ideas to add to your smoothies:

  • bananas, strawberries, berries, peaches, mangoes

Use about 1 serving of fruit in your smoothie.

Step 3: Protein

To make a smoothie a bit more substantial, add some protein. Some people like to use protein powders, but you can also get added protein from foods. You can boost your protein content by adding tofu or peanut butter to your smoothie. Using milk, soymilk, or yogurt as your liquid base can also add more protein.

Step 4: Add-ins

  • Flavor add-ins: dates, raisins, fruit juice concentrates, peanut butter, honey, maple syrup, stevia, flavor extracts

  • Thickening add-ins: cashews, almonds, avocado, peanut butter, canned pumpkin

  • Nutritional add-ins: wheat germ, flaxseed, chia, hemp, protein powder, cocoa powder, greens, spinach

    • cocoa powder is loaded with flavanols. This is what makes chocolate healthy. Cocoa powder has all that nutrition without the calorie and sugar of chocolate.

    • Greens will turn your smoothie a bright green, but you won't be able to taste them. It's a great way to sneak in an extra serving of vegetables. Greens are particularly good in strawberry and peach flavored smoothies.

Step 5: Blend

Put all of the ingredients in the blender, and blend until smooth.


  • The thickness of your smoothie will depend on the type of fruits you use and whether they are fresh or frozen.

  • If your smoothie is too runny, you can add more base or a thickening addition. If your smoothie is too thick, add more liquid.

  • For cold, thicker smoothies, use frozen fruits.

  • For thinner smoothies, use fresh fruits and more liquid.

  • The average amount of liquid for a smoothie is about one cup. If you prefer thicker or thinner smoothies, adjust this amount to your liking.

  • Put the liquid in the blender first. This helps the fruits blend better.

  • Replace a banana with avocado to cut down on the sugar. Both give smoothies a creamy texture.

  • Blend greens and vegetables with sweeter fruits to balance the flavors. Most of the time, the flavors of the fruits will overpower the flavors of the vegetables.


Now that you know the basics of building the perfect smoothie, here are a couple of recipes for you to try. Soon, you'll be inventing your own nutritious concoctions.

Peanut Butter Banana

  • 1 cup milk (or milk substitute)

  • 2 bananas, peeled and sliced

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

Combine all the ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup ice cubes and blend until smooth.

Banana Berry

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 3 oz vanilla yogurt

  • 1/2 banan?a

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries

Combine all in blender and process until smooth.

Berry Carrot Juicer

  • 1/2 cup apple juice

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 8 baby carrots

  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries

Place all ingredients in a blender with 1 cup of ice cubes. Process until creamy


  • 3/4 cup cooled coffee

  • 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt (or milk)

  • 3 Tbl chocolate syrup

  • 1 Tbl vanilla protein powder

  • 1 Tbl ground flax seed

  • sugar or stevia optional

  • ice, the more you use the thicker it will be


  • 1/4 cup vanilla yogurt

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 Tbl vanilla protein powder

  • 1 tsp ground flax

  • ice

Cheers to your health! We hope you enjoy tinkering with your favorite smoothie recipes.

Johnson Memorial Hospital Weight Loss

Topics: Nutrition, Weight Loss, Wellness