How to Make a Healthy Smoothie

Easy ways to cut down on sugar and add protein, vitamins, and fiber.

A smoothie can be a filling and good-for-you snack or breakfast, or the caloric equivalent of a milkshake, depending on what goes into it. Choose your ingredients wisely and create your own custom healthy smoothie just the way you like it. Here are some ways to do it:

Strawberry-Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothie
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Cut Down on Sugar

A smoothie should be a little sweet—otherwise, it's like drinking frozen soup. But you don't want to go overboard and make it taste sugary. Fresh fruit usually isn't the culprit here. Watch out for flavored yogurt and fruit juice, which are both full of sugar. Instead, use small amounts of juice or yogurt combined with small amounts of water and milk to make the mixture smooth without adding a ton of extra sugar.

Make It Dairy-Free

If you're lactose intolerant or just trying to cut back on dairy, replace traditional yogurt and cow's milk with plant-based yogurts made with coconut, almond, or soy milk. A frozen banana or two can also make a smoothie taste rich, sweet, and creamy without dairy. Or you can use cubes of silken tofu for a smooth consistency and added protein.

Add Veggies

If you're a fan of green juice, why not try a green smoothie? If you have a high-powered blender, you can process all sorts of fresh vegetables into a smoothie, like baby spinach leaves, kale, cucumbers, canned pumpkin (make sure it's plain, not the pie filling), avocados, or grated carrots. Add some fruit for sweetness and you've got a vitamin-packed drink on your hands.

Pump Up the Protein

Give your smoothie staying power by adding a spoonful or two of your favorite nut butter or plain Greek yogurt, or a handful of spinach leaves or raw old-fashioned rolled oats (not Irish or steel-cut oats). These ingredients can work well together or in any combination.

Don't Forget the Fiber

Berries, bananas, chia seeds, nuts, ground flaxseed, and nut butters are all good sources of fiber, which will help you feel fuller longer.

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