Healthy Smoothies: Best Smoothie Ingredients & 10 To Ditch

By: Breana Killeen, EatingWell Test Kitchen Manager

Depending on what you blend up, a smoothie can quickly turn into more of a milkshake. Find out the healthiest smoothie ingredients to use and 10 to ditch.

Smoothie

Whether you enjoy smoothies for breakfast, a snack or even dessert, they're a great way to increase your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. But depending on the ingredients they're made with, smoothies can quickly turn into unhealthy calorie-bombs filled with sugar. The healthiest way to enjoy a smoothie is to make your own so you know how much of and what foods you are getting. Wondering how to make a smoothie? A good smoothie should contain a blend of ingredients with protein and fiber to help keep you full and provide antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Best High-Protein Smoothie Ingredients

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Pictured Recipe: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Adding protein helps make your smoothie more satisfying. Protein helps fill you up and there are plenty of ways to add it to your smoothie without using protein powder.

• Plain yogurt (unsweetened)
• Plain milk (unsweetened)
• Plain kefir (unsweetened)
• Tofu
• Natural peanut butter
• Natural almond butter
• Plain soymilk (unsweetened)
• Plain high-protein almond milk (unsweetened)
• Lentils

Best Fruits for Smoothies

Raspberry-Peach-Mango Smoothie Bowl

Pictured Recipe: Raspberry-Peach-Mango Smoothie Bowl

Pretty much any fruit is great for smoothies. Use fresh fruit, frozen fruit or fruit canned in water or its own juice.

• Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)
• Mango
• Pineapple
• Peach
• Banana
• Apple
• Melon
• Cherries
• Apricot

Best Vegetables for Smoothies

Pineapple Green Smoothie

Pictured Recipe: Pineapple Green Smoothie

Use raw or frozen vegetables. Usually, the sweetness of the fruit masks the vegetable flavor but you may need play around with combinations and amounts to find what works for you.

• Carrot
• Kale
• Spinach
• Avocado
• Cucumber
• Cauliflower
• Pumpkin

Healthy Smoothie Additions for Flavor and Additional Nutrition

Berry & Flax Smoothie

Pictured Recipe: Berry & Flax Smoothie

Add these to boost up the nutrition even more or add to the flavor of your smoothie. Flax and chia seeds add omega-3s and protein, oats deliver healthy fiber. Spices and extracts, like vanilla, add fun flavor.

• Flaxseed
• Chia seed
• Old-fashioned oats
• Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)
• Vanilla extract
• Coconut water
• Unsweetened cocoa powder

Smoothie Ingredients to Ditch

To keep your smoothie as healthy as possible, avoid adding these ingredients, which provide more calories in the form of added sugar, in some cases without many nutrients.

• Sugar-sweetened fruit juice or concentrate
• Flavored yogurt
• Flavored kefir
• Whipped cream
• Ice cream
• Sorbet
• Sherbet
• Chocolate syrup
• Chocolate milk
• Canned fruit in syrup

Watch: How to Make a Healthy Smoothie Bowl

Related Links:
Healthy Smoothie Recipes
The Ultimate Green Smoothie Recipe