Smoothies are a delicious and convenient way to pack a ton of nutrition into an easy, portable meal. While I share many incredible smoothie recipes on this site, in this post, we will be discussing the health benefits of smoothies and ways you can blend up recipes that are low in sugar, high in protein, and keep you feeling your best.
Are Smoothies Good for You?
Made with the right ingredients like fresh fruits, vegetables, yogurt, milk, and a few superfood ingredients, smoothies can be good for you and a nutritious snack option or as a meal replacement.
Most store-bought smoothies or from the smoothie shop often have added sugars and come in super-sized portions. While sugars from fruit are beneficial and all-natural, portions still matter.
Many convenient smoothie options have added amounts of sweeteners in the form of sweetened yogurts, ice-cream, sweetened dairy-free milk, syrups, and more. These add unnecessary calories and quite frankly, they aren’t needed.
Of course, you’ll still be getting vitamins and nutrients, but the high calorie content could derail any health goals you have set.
The best way to make sure your smoothies deliver all the nutritional benefits and meet your health goals is by making them at home so you have full control of what goes into the recipe and how much.
Are Smoothies Good for Weight Loss?
If you’re on a weight loss journey, you’ve likely read that smoothies are great for weight loss because they can replace entire meals.
Smoothies are considered good for weight loss when they are relatively low in calories, provide protein, vitamins and minerals, and meet your nutritional goals.
A smoothie made with only fruit, fruit juice, and added sweeteners can be high in calories and added sugars. That said, with added protein powder and flax meal to provide fiber, for example, the macronutrients can still meet your dietary needs in most areas.
For smoothies to be used as a meal supplement for weight loss, I recommend:
- Skip recipes with fruit juice
- Keep fruit servings to 1 cup
- Include protein powder that is low in sugars
- Use unsweetened dairy-free milk or water
- Add flax or chia seeds for fiber
- Include a veggie for added nutrition
If you want to make smoothies that fill you up and won’t hurt the waistline, try making them with a balance of each macronutrient: fat, protein, and carbs.
A balanced “meal” even when sipped through a straw, will prevent your blood sugar from spiking and help keep you satiated and cravings at bay.
A good nutritional smoothie should have:
- 1 to 2 servings of fruit
- 1 veggie such as spinach or kale
- 1 serving of protein from Greek yogurt or protein powder
- healthy fats from flax meal, chia seeds, or nut butter
Is it Healthy to Have a Fruit Smoothie Every Day?
As long as the ingredients come from whole-foods and are in-line with your dietary needs, the health benefits of smoothies every day are super beneficial.
In fact, it’s my favorite way to pack veggies into my family’s’ diet without them realizing it. The best part about smoothies is that you can modify the ingredients based on your needs.
Also, keep in mind to switch up the ingredients so you can get a full variety of nutrients. Thanks to the plethora of kid-friendly smoothie recipes around here, there’s no shortage of delicious and easy options for every day of the week.
Is It Better to Drink a Smoothie or Eat Fruit?
Research says that it is better to eat your food rather than drink it since whole fruits and vegetables provide a lot of fiber that is very beneficial for your health. That said, nutritionally, you’ll be getting the same vitamins and minerals when blended in a smoothie.
If you don’t always have the time to sit down and eat a meal and need a portable option, smoothies are a great way to get your daily nutrition since the fruit is blended whole.
In this case, it’s 100% better to drink a smoothie than skip eating the fruit or veggies. If it means you’ll get the nutrients your body needs, grab your blender and blend blend blend!
Ultimately, munching on a whole apple or fresh berries will provide more satisfaction, but on busy days, sipping those antioxidants and vitamins can be a great alternative in addition to a protein powder and other add-ins you choose to add.
Healthiest Smoothie Ingredients
The healthiest smoothie ingredients are whole foods that provide the most nutritional benefits without adding unnecessary sugar or calories.
My base smoothie formula:
- ¾ cup liquid
- ¾ cup frozen fruit
- a handful of spinach or leafy greens
- ice cubes if using fresh fruit
- add-ins below
For the most amazing flavors and ultimate health benefits, try adding some of the ingredients listed below.
Protein powder is an easy way to add nutrition to a smoothie and turn it into a meal. Many protein powders also provide essential vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and vitamin B12, that may be lacking in your diet.
Many powders come in delicious flavors like vanilla, chocolate, or peanut butter, which makes any smoothie even tastier!
I have an entire post on the health benefits of protein powders and which ones are my favorite for nutrition and overall health.
Tiny but mighty, chia seeds are full of vitamins and nutrients such as iron and calcium.
They’re also a great source of fiber and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, a necessary fat our bodies need and can only be derived from food sources.
I usually add one teaspoon to three per serving, depending on how thick you want your smoothie. Chia seeds will also absorb water ad thicken your smoothie.
Similar to chia seeds, flax seeds or ground flax seeds (flax meal) are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and each tablespoon includes 3 grams of fiber, at only 50 calories.
They have been shown to lower the risk of cancer, lower cholesterol, and more. Plus, they add a yummy nutty flavor to your smoothies and make them thicker.
I usually add one to two teaspoons of flax meal per serving into my blender.
All-natural nut and seed butter are a great source of unsaturated fats minerals like folic acid, potassium, zinc, and magnesium, depending on which nut butter you choose.
Adding a healthy fat to your smoothie, like from nut butters, also helps the body absorption of vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Adding them to smoothies also adds a delicious flavor and helps to bulk up the texture and calories to keep you fuller longer.
The best options are made without added sugar and preservatives such as hydrogenated oil, which increases the trans fat count, a very unhealthy fat.
Add a tablespoon of nut butter per serving into your blender.
There is no better way to sneak in those dark leafy greens like kale and spinach into your day than a smoothie.
Whether leafy greens aren’t your favorite or you don’t have time to cook them, by adding them into your smoothie they are masked by the fruit and other add-ins. A perfect example is my Blueberry Muffin Smoothie– even the kids love this one!
Avocados are full of healthy vitamins such as vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, B vitamins, and vitamin E. They contain more potassium than bananas and add monounsaturated fats and fiber to your smoothie. Did I mention they give chocolate smoothies the most velvety, rich texture? It’s a must!
Adding ¼ of an avocado into your smoothie will also provide those healthy fats everyone talks about as well as helping absorb other vitmanins and minerals just like adding nut butters to a smoothie.
Bonus: did you know that you can freeze ripe avocados? Yup! you can freeze your avocados after you peel them and remove the pit and throw them frozen in your smoothie! I simply throw avocado pieces in a large zip bag and freeze. You can keep them in the freezer for up to three months!
Healthy Smoothie Recipes
The best healthy smoothie recipes are made with real food, free from unnecessary sweeteners, and include a balance of carbs, fats, and protein so you know you are sipping on something good for yourself.
Whether you’re looking for a healthy dessert alternative, easy breakfasts to meal prep, a delicious post-workout snack, or just want to get more nutrients into your diet, I’ve got you covered.
Use these recipes as a guideline, but feel free to adjust portion sizes and swap ingredients to fit your taste.
- Chocolate Protein Smoothie Bowl
- Strawberries & Cream Smoothie Bowl
- Blueberry & Spinach Smoothie
- Easy Peach Cobbler Smoothie
- Pineapple Green Smoothie