July 22, 2024

Is Your Smoothie Nutritious? by Laura Maydak

How to Make a Nutritionally Balanced Smoothie

Smoothies are delicious, fast, and nutritious meals on the go – when made correctly.  It’s important to remember that meals, whether served on a plate or in a glass, should be nutritionally balanced.  So, while an all-fruit smoothie may make your taste buds happy, the lack of protein and fat will leave your stomach unsatisfied.

Luckily, making a nutritionally balanced smoothie is simple – just follow these six steps, and you’ll have a healthy and satisfying meal on the go:

1. Choose a Base (1 – 2 cups):
100% Fruit juice, almond milk, brewed tea, coconut water, milk, rice beverage, soy milk, water

2. Choose a Fruit (1 – 2 cups):
Apple, banana, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, grapes, kiwi, mango, melon, oranges, papaya, peach, pear, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries

3. Choose a Vegetable (1 – 2 cups):
Beet greens, butternut squash, carrots, celery, collard greens, cucumbers, kale, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato

4. Choose a Protein (Amount varies):
Cottage cheese, greek yogurt, protein powder, silken tofu

5. Choose a Healthy Fat (Amount varies):
Avocado (¼ avocado), chia seeds (1–2 Tbsp), chopped nuts (1/8 cup), ground flax seeds (1–2 Tbsp), hemp seeds (1–2 Tbsp), nut butter (1 Tbsp)

6. Give it a Boost (Amount varies):
Cocoa powder, fish oil, flavor extracts (vanilla, almond, mint, etc), herbs and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, mint, etc.), ice, wheat germ

Extra Tips:
- If you’re making a post-workout smoothie, aim for a ratio of 3:1 to 4:1 carbohydrates to protein – this is optimal for recovery.
- If you use frozen fruit, purchase varieties with no added sugar.

- Be aware of the fat content of your liquid base and protein – try to choose low fat or no fat varieties.
- You can adjust the consistency of the smoothie by adding more liquid or using less dense fruits and vegetables.

Be creative!  This formula guarantees a nutritionally balanced smoothie – so throw your taste buds some (delicious) curve balls!

Laura is currently a graduate student in the University of Pittsburgh’s Coordinated Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics program on her way to become a registered dietitian.  Connect with Laura on LinkedIn or on twitter (@lmaydak) for motivation and tips to live your healthiest, happiest life – all given with a healthy dose of humor.