Getting Started with Smoothies
The recipes and tips below make up what I like to call Smoothies 101. If you can remember these basics, you can make the perfect smoothie, and then you can branch out and get even more creative. I can't remember ever having a major smoothie disaster - they are really easy to make.
Let us show you how to make a good smoothie
First, add your liquid base to the blender (~1/2 cup - 1 cup). This can be milk, water, coconut water, or juice - it really depends on your personal preference and your dietary/nutrition goals. Juice and certain sweetened alternative kinds of milk can be very high in calories and sugar so not always the best option.
For my daughter, we always use some sort of milk (I like coconut milk or almond milk for dairy-free blends) or juice as she needs extra vitamins and calories. For myself, I will usually use 1/2 water and 1/2 milk or all water.
If you have a really good blender you can even make your own nut milk using raw nuts and water. See easy-to-follow instructions from Vitamix for Non-Dairy Milk.
I also like to use coffee for my liquid base but this isn't for everyone - if you like the taste of coffee try adding some cold coffee (can be decaf) or some instant coffee granules to your smoothie. Try this Peppermint Chocolate Coffee Smoothie.
Next, add your soft or fresh fruits and/or veggies (2-3 cups), followed by leafy greens. If using leafy greens with a less powerful blender then I recommend that you blend your greens with the liquid base before adding anything else to the blender. This helps break down the greens and ensures you get a texture that is drinkable.
I'm often asked about my preference - fresh or frozen fruits? If using fruit, I am a big fan of using frozen fruit since it eliminates the need to add any ice cubes. I like my smoothies icy and cold. Ice goes in after all your main ingredients but is purely optional.
Consider adding protein powder, collagen, yogurt, flax seeds, chia seeds, oats, peanut butter, or other nut butter. I personally like adding greek yogurt as it adds protein, and it makes the smoothie creamy making it seem like even more of a treat. I will often add flaxseed since it is a great source of dietary fiber and omega-3.
Frequently Asked Questions about Blending Smoothies
You really only need three ingredients to make a smoothie: a fruit, a protein, and a liquid but we recommend two to three fruits and veggies for the best smoothies. To keep it simple, try a smoothie with spinach and fruit, such as blueberries, greek yogurt, and a little bit of milk or water for a delicious smoothie.
If you are just starting out and not quite ready for a spinach smoothie recipe, then a strawberry and banana smoothie is one of the best fruit smoothies for beginners. It is a family favorite and protein powder can be added for a complete meal or snack.
There are a couple of options that work really well. One, use frozen fruit in your smoothie to get a thicker consistency. Two, if you don't have frozen fruit, try adding ice. I like to add ice to the blender jar last to get the best blend.
Put your ingredients in the jar in the correct order. Start with liquid, soft fruit, and leafy greens followed by frozen fruit or more solid ingredients. Add ice last (if desired).
Then, start your blender on the lowest setting and increase slowly to the highest setting if you don't have a smoothie setting on your blender.
Add more liquid if you are having trouble getting the blend started. If your blender has a tamper then you can also use this to help get the ingredients pushed down into the blades and blend until smooth.
Not all blenders are the same. Be patient and figure out what works best for your blender.
It is easy to fall into a smoothie rut by simply following the same exact recipe day after day. There are many ways to keep it interesting:
1. Try adding flavor boosters like cinnamon, cocoa, mint, vanilla extract, lemon, or lime juice to jazz up your smoothie.
2. Add nut butter to increase the protein content, add healthy fat and give a new flavor or texture.
3. Mix up the fruits and vegetables that you are building your smoothie around. You don't have to stick to the traditional ones; try adding carrots (like this Orange Grapefruit Smoothie with Carrots), beets, cranberries (like this Cranberry Apple Smoothie), and more. The options are endless.
4. Try different leafy greens. Spinach is great but there are many options. We love arugula - it provides a peppery compliment to a strawberry and kiwi smoothie. Kale can also be a winner - Try the Kale Berry Smoothie as a good starter recipe.
5. Change up your liquid - there are so many options: water, coconut water, dairy milk, nut milk, soy milk, or oat milk to name just a few. Be careful with fruit juice, and use it in moderation. It can add a lot of calories and heaps of sugar.
Absolutely you can make a smoothie ahead of time. Blend and store in a sealed jar or container in the fridge overnight. I prefer freshly blended smoothies as the texture is the best but give your prepared smoothie a shake or stir and enjoy.
We also like to prep our frozen smoothie ingredients ahead of time in freezer-safe containers to make your own smoothie packs. Then, when in a hurry we can just dump the prepped serving into the blender jar, add liquid, and blend. It can help save time when in a hurry.
You do not need a premium blender. While I do prefer my Vitamix for its power, I've also had a great experience blending smoothies in a Magic Bullet or my Cuisinart Blender. Just make sure you put the ingredients in the correct order and use the appropriate amount of liquid.
Some of our Favourite Smoothie Recipes
If you are looking for a little inspiration, check out our Smoothies Recipe page. Our absolute favorite smoothie is the Vanilla Strawberry Beet Smoothie and we also love the Spinach Berry Beet Smoothie. Visit Vitamix Smoothie recipes for more ideas.