Healthy Smoothies: Recipes & Tips

How to Sip a Rainbow

Aren't smoothies just so pretty?! And delicious too?! All the luscious colors, all that sweet fruit, all that creaminess! (Looking for all my smoothie recipes? This page is your go-to for smoothies!)

Healthy Smoothies: Recipes & Tips ♥, green smoothies, make-ahead smoothies and more.

But let's take a closer look at the (many) pros and a (few but important) cons of smoothies, then how to concoct a healthy (or healthier) smoothie. And yes, whether you're looking for how to make Green Smoothies with fresh leafy greens such as spinach or chard or wondering whether there's really such a thing as Make-Ahead Smoothies, I've got you covered with all my favorite smoothie recipes, now all collected here in a single source of smoothie inspiration.

Whole Food, Fresh & Summery. Quick 'n' Easy Family Favorites. How to Eat More Fruits & Vegetables.

What Is a "Smoothie," Anyway?

Ha, I remember my 90-something year-old father asking this basic question some years back. Doesn't everybody know what a smoothie is?

THE SHORT VERSION Little did Dad know, a smoothie is a simple slightly thick and substantial cold drink made with fruits, vegetables and liquids that are all mixed together in a blender until "smooth".

THE LONGER ANSWER But life is rarely simple and the same holds true for smoothies. Let's take a look at the tradeoffs, the good news and sorry, the bad news too, about smoothies.

Cantaloupe Smoothie ♥, how to make a 100% cantaloupe smoothie, either creamy or frosty.

The Pros & Cons of Smoothies

On the plus side, smoothies are so quick, so fast and sooo delicious!

Smoothies are:

  • endlessly variable, based on what's on hand and what tastes good
  • blended in combinations that make impromptu smoothies a breeze, no recipe required
  • can be made ahead or made-in-minutes
  • a good way to use up leftover fruit that's slightly past its prime or partial packages of frozen fruit from the freezer
  • often naturally sweetened with fruit, especially bananas, often frozen bananas that turn out especially creamy smoothies
  • a clever way to increase fruit, vegetable and even liquid consumption for kids, seniors and even adults who don't consume enough fresh produce or drink enough water
  • made without a fancy and expensive high-powered blender, just a regular, inexpensive household blender works beautifully

But on the downside, if you're not careful, a healthy looking "smoothie" can also:

  • be packed with sugar, even when naturally sweetened only with fruit
  • cause an unexpected spike in blood sugar
  • add up to a huge calorie bomb

Here's an example.

I'll never forget the day when a bunch of oranges sat on the counter before we were heading out of town for a few days. I didn't want them to go to waste so decided to turn oranges into ... voila ... orange juice.

Actually, I didn't really "juice" the oranges at all. Instead I cut off the peels and then blended the whole oranges, keeping all the pulp and fiber, in the blender. It took a dozen oranges to make modest glasses of orange juice for just two people, a small cup for me and a larger one for my husband.

Whoa! The juice was delicious but in just a few seconds, we gulped down the equivalent of twelve oranges! Usually? We share an orange for breakfast, at most, we each eat our own.

Make-Ahead Smoothies, more Meal Prep ♥

Rethinking Smoothies

Here are some ideas on how to work smoothies into our diets, with an understanding of the pros and cons.

  • Keep the serving size small, my own standard is a half cup, yeah, it feels minuscule unless I drink it really slowly, really appreciating the texture and flavor
  • Serve it in a small glass, maybe with a small spoon
  • Make a smoothie part of a meal instead of a meal replacement
  • Consider a smoothie a "dessert" instead of the main course
  • Make a smoothie a "treat" or an "occasional" food instead of an every-day event
How to Make Green Smoothies with Leafy Greens ♥ 14 Tips & 5 Sample Recipes.

Choose Healthy or Healthy-er Ingredients

  • Avoid (or over time, slowly decrease) the use of processed sugars and even other sweeteners like maple syrup and honey.
  • Use natural sweeteners like bananas and ripe fruit to sweeten smoothies.
  • Make sure to Include something green, even a few snips of fresh herbs (hello, parsley and cilantro!) can add lovely color and a pleasing liveliness.
  • Fill smoothie blenders with no-cal, no-sugar ingredients like ice cubes and fresh herbs.
  • Choose lower-calorie liquids such low-fat buttermilk or skim milk or whey leftover from making Homemade Ricotta.
  • Choose ingredients that add protein like unsweetened yogurt or Greek yogurt or peanut butter or chia seeds.
Mango & Beet Smoothies ♥, sweetened with unrefined sugar from beets, gorgeous color!

Weight Watchers & Smoothies

Weight Watchers designates certain foods as "free". Since the idea is to encourage us to eat more healthy foods, no surprise that the no-point foods are mostly vegetables and fruits. (Want to know more about the list of current free foods? See Weight Watchers Zero Point "Free" Food Lists For the Green, Blue & Purple Plans.)

The big exception? Smoothies. Even when a smoothie is packed with fresh vegetables and fruit that would be "free" in any other dish, the smoothie isn't "free".

So sorry, Weight Watchers followers. Pack all the vegetables and fruits you want into a smoothie. In the official Weight Watchers plan, the smoothie points will completely add up.

But did you know? You can make smoothies that start with a tablespoon or two of a packet of Weight Watchers smoothie mix?! I haven't made these in way too long but see Weight Watchers Pumpkin Smoothie & Weight Watchers Mocha Smoothie.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothies ♥ Childhood's favorite PB&J sandwich in a glass.

How About You?

How do smoothies fit into your diet? your family's diet? Do you employ some tricks to make smoothies both pleasurable and healthy? Please do share your ideas, I'd love to hear!

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Smoothie How To's
How to make Green Smoothies
How to make Make-Ahead Smoothies
Thinking about Smoothies for Seniors

Fruit Smoothies
Banana Mango Smoothie
Cantaloupe Smoothie
Mango Lassi
Old-Fashioned Banana Floats
Orange Julius Drinks
Peanut Butter & Jelly Smoothies

Vegetable Smoothies
Beet Smoothies
Pumpkin Smoothies
Tomato Smoothie
Weight Watchers Pumpkin Smoothie & Weight Watchers Mocha Smoothie

Fruit & Vegetable Smoothies
Cucumber Smoothies
Green Smoothies
Mango & Beet Smoothies
Strawberry Rhubarb Smoothies

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How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If healthy smoothies inspire you, please do save and share! I'd be honored ...

Healthy Smoothies: Recipes & Tips ♥, green smoothies, make-ahead smoothies and more.

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.