How to blend a better smoothie

It’s still summertime…which means smoothie time. And homemade smoothies are so popular, say market watchers, that they’ve boosted sales of frozen fruit and blenders.

Companies are cashing in on the icy craze with bagged frozen fruit-and-veggie blends. But it’s also a snap to make your own smoothie. Just toss some fruit and low-fat (or non-dairy) milk into a blender. Add greens or other veggies if you like. Done.

Either way, here are a few of our favorite store-bought combos to try:

Frozen smoothie blends

Frozen smoothie blends are mostly frozen fruit. If you want to give ‘em a whirl, shop for brands with no added sugar or juice.

That’s because whole fruit or veggies is healthier than juice. And why bother adding juice to fruit?

If the frozen blend’s label says to mix with juice, use water or milk (dairy or non-dairy) instead. Dairy or soy milk means more protein, calcium, and other nutrients.

For a creamier smoothie, blend in a little plain 0% greek yogurt. If you like it thicker, toss in some sliced banana.

Some of our favorite frozen blends:

Wyman’s of Maine Strawberries, Blueberries & Cherries with Kale. That’s the name and the ingredient list. It’s brimming with sweet berries and cherries.

Dole Fruit & Veggie Blends. Dole’s Orange Medley blend is mostly mangos, oranges, pineapple, & bananas. Mmm. Just keep in mind: despite varieties like “Fruit ‘n Greens,” you’re getting way more fruit than vegetables. Want more veggies? Try Earthbound Farm Organic Smoothie Kickstarts. The first ingredient in the Kale Berry is kale.

Or make your own smoothie

Try one of these simple ideas from Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook. You can use fresh or frozen fruit.

Berry Red, Tropical Yellow, Cool Green.

Berry Red. Blend 1 cup of watermelon with ½ cup of berries and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. (80 calories)

Tropical Yellow. Blend ½ cup each of pineapple and mango with half a banana. Thin with water if needed. (140 calories)

Cool Green. Blend ½ cup each of pineapple and honeydew melon with ¼ cup each of cucumber and baby spinach. (80 calories)

What’s your favorite smoothie? Let us know in the comments.

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17 Replies to “How to blend a better smoothie”

  1. For years I’ve been having a smoothie for breakfast most days. In a bullet blender I blend for 20 or 30 seconds 4 or 5 of the following on any given day: half or whole banana – strawberries – blueberries – spinach – raspberries – skim milk – a teaspoon of chia seed/flaxseed mix – kefir or Greek yogurt – sometimes a few ounces of Naked or Odwalla fruit juice – or just plain water. I’ve used other ingredients, like watermelon, kale, apples, peaches, and mango, but this is my core.

    Fresh blueberries are easy to freeze, which makes them like little ice cubes. I also freeze fresh spinach…makes it easy to just grab a handful of frozen spinach “flakes”. The whole operation takes less than 5 minutes and I get a healthy way to start the day with fruit, vegetables, protein, and some but not too much fat. Then I go to the gym before work!

    On days that I cannot make a shake or go to the gym, say business breakfast meetings, I treat myself to another rock star healthy food, oatmeal.

  2. My favorite combination is banana, mango & blueberries. At least one should be frozen, for texture. It comes out purple, so it would look good in your line-up!

  3. I just noticed that my recipe is your Tropical Yellow, substituting blueberries for the pineapple. Tropical Blue? I’ll keep working on a name!

  4. When will I be contacted re the ongoing problems with accessing my subscription. I receive these weekly notices and subscription renewal reminders by email no problem but STILL can’t access my subscription using my email address despite repeated phone calls and emails to customer service with promises to do something about it since January!! SO DISAPPOINTING!!!
    Valerie

    1. Hi Valerie, I’m sorry to hear about the ongoing problem with your subscription. Please call 1-866-293-2774 for help if you are unable to login at myaccount.nutritionaction.com.

  5. Since cooked kale and spinach have more nutrition than raw, I steam them both in the microwave (separately), then freeze and bag them for future smoothies. Add protein powder, almond milk and frozen fruit (which I cleaned, cut and froze from fresh) and it’s easy to enjoy smoothies anytime, without the cost and sugar from packaged fruit.

      1. Just another reader here, attempting to answer your question since it remains unanswered at this point.

        Both raw and cooked kale and spinach have pluses and minuses. In general, raw vegetables have more available water-soluble nutrients than cooked, and the cooked versions have more available fat-soluble nutrients than raw.

        Spinach specifically has relatively high levels of oxalic acid which can interfere with the absorption of iron and calcium (among other nutrients) . Oxalic acid is broken down with cooking, so that in itself is one advantage of cooking spinach.

  6. Favourite smoothie
    1 cup unsweetened almond milk
    1 small banana
    1 tsp peanut butter
    1 tbsp vytogo powder
    1 & 1/2 cup spring medley lettuce/spinach
    1 pepper
    1/4 cucumber
    1/4 tomato
    4 ice cubes

  7. Favorite smoothie:
    1 c. milk or milk alternative
    Amazing Grass Green Superfood (wheatgrass supplement)
    2 T. ground flaxseed
    1/2 banana
    2 cups kale
    turmeric & pinch of black pepper (optional)

  8. I would love some ideas on how to blend a Delicious Protein smoothie.
    Are there some protein powders you recommend over others. Some are based on soy, or whey, or pea proteins. Or is powdered egg white the way to go? What are the pros and cons?
    Thank you.

  9. 1/3 c diced frozen pineapple
    1/4 c frozen blueberries
    1/2 c frozen raspberries
    1 banana
    2 scoops protein powder
    1 c nonfat Greek yogurt
    1 1/2 c +- iced green tea

    Make up the iced tea in a fridge container. Keep bags of frozen cut up fruit.

  10. I would like to start making smoothies. Do I need to buy a bullet? Please tell me the best machine to use to make these smoothie recipes

  11. When the amount of sugar consumed a day is an issue, what is a good recipe that doesn’t use too much fruit, but is still tasty?

    1. While you await a reply from someone at Nutrition Action (I am, like you, simply a reader and commenter), you could consider using fruits that are naturally low in sugar. Raspberries and strawberries are two, along with blackberries, kiwifruit and watermelon (all have 10 grams of sugar or less per serving).

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