On a hot summer day a thirst quenching, icy, sweet drink describes the qualities of a delicious smoothie. Amazingly, three basic steps are all it takes to make a nutritional smoothie personalized to an individuals liking. To begin with you need to decide what kind of smoothie you are in the mood for and what fruits juices and vegies you have on hand. There is a plethora of different types of smoothies that can be made in your own home. You can turn one into a healthy snack, a delicious desert, or a balanced meal. The process of making a smoothie begins with a few simple steps. First to begin with you will need to gather the ingredients and set up your blender of choice. Appliances in the kitchen have changed throughout the years, so depending on your preference you can use many different types to create a smoothie. You can use a blender, food processor, or a magic bullet.
In my case here I am going to use the easy and fast way with a magic bullet. Take about measuring cups. Next you will need to gather all your essentials to make your smoothie. Depending on what kind of smoothie you want to prepare, you will need different ingredients. Fresh or frozen fruit will be the main component of your smoothie drink. Delicious smoothies can be produced using fresh, canned, or dried fruit. When using fresh fruit it is important to wash it thoroughly in order to remove any pesticides and cut it up into small pieces before placing it into the blender. Then add liquid. The liquid is the main ingredient in this process. Adding milk is always a popular choice in making a smoothie.
There are many other possibilities of what kind of liquids you want to use as the base of your drink. These choices include orange juice or even lemonade for a citrusy taste or other fruit juices. For other additives could be soymilk for people that are lactose intolerant, almond milk or Greek yogurt for a healthier choice. Yogurt would make it a thicker consistency. Adding ice cream or sherbet or even frozen yogurt adds spice to the drink and could be use in place of ice. Or you could add water if you don’t have anything else.
Adding powder to your smoothie is always a good option to boost it up the nutritional value. There are many different vitamin and protein powders that can be added for healthy benefits. Protein powders can be added to make your smoothie an actual drink. And other choices are displayed for your viewing.
One way to make your smoothie healthier, try sneaking some greens in it. By adding kale or spinach into your drink, you would get a serving of vegetables into your diet by barely even noticing the taste.
If using fresh fruit you will always want to add a few ice cubes in this process to make it thick and give it that nice smoothie texture. If using frozen fruit that will substitute that ice cubes so you don’t even need them you can freeze your own fruit to leave out the ice cubes.
Finally, after putting all your ingredients into the blender plug it in, put the lid on it and twist it to turn the device on. Turn it onto medium and let it blend. Once the blender ‘digests’ the fruit turn it up a notch to pulse or let it blend for a little over a minute to break up all the chunks. After about a minute or so turn it off give it a nice shake if it feels like there are still chunks of ice or fruits left, let it pulse for about 20-30 seconds longer if you like the way it looks, pour it into a nice big glass and here you have yourself a delicious smoothie. Sip and enjoy
Smoothies have many positive qualities. They can be very nutritious depending on what ingredients you put in them. Also, this drink can be a convenient enhancement, meal replacement or snack. They are a fun way to satisfy your love of fruit, a sweet tooth, and cool you down on hot summer days. It’s amazing that with only a few ingredients and three easy steps a satisfying drink can be created with or without frozen fruit. These are fun to create because you can individualize each ingredient to your own personal liking.
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Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, UNL Extension in Lancaster County
Cool, refreshing, quick! Smoothies and shakes are great for a healthy snack, light meal, or split one for a dessert! Here are some tips for super sippers:
- Using frozen fruit helps thicken beverages without diluting the flavor. To freeze fruit, such as fresh berries, wash the fruit thoroughly under running tap water, pat dry with clean paper towels and freeze in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. Transfer to a freezer bag when frozen. Pour out as needed. NOTE: Use smaller pieces of fruit, such as berries or sliced pieces of larger fruits or your blender may be unable to process them.
- Whether using fresh or frozen fruit, use fruit at its peak of ripeness to capture the most natural sweetness for smoothies and shakes. Add up to one teaspoon of sweetener (sugar or honey) or the equivalent in sweetening power of a no calorie sweetener if fruit is at less than peak ripeness for the following recipes.
- Most smoothies and shakes should be consumed immediately. They may change color if they are allowed to stand for very long.
- If you have a larger blender jar that is fairly wide at the bottom, you may find it harder to blend single-serving smoothies. A blender jar forces food up against the blender walls where it is then redirected back on the blades and blended until the desired consistency. A blender that is wider at the bottom will send smaller volumes of food out toward the sides rather than up and then down toward the center and the blades. The new "smoothie" blenders on the market are narrow on the bottom.
- As a variation, make smaller smoothies and serve them as a dessert "drink." As an extra goodie, pass a plate of small, luscious chocolates as an accompaniment.
Enjoy the following eight recipes!
Quick links to these recipes:
(NOTE: All nutrition analysis comes from the organizations that are the source of the recipes.)
Recipe provided by Jennifer Meyer, RD, LMNT, Director of Nutrition Education, American Dairy Association and Dairy Council of Nebraska.
Yield: 2 servings Serving Size: 10 oz. Prep time: 5 minutes
- 8 oz (1 cup) nonfat plain yogurt
- 1 cup 1% low fat or nonfat milk
- 1-3/4 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled
- 1 fresh peach, peeled and sliced, or 3/4 cup frozen peach slices (see Note)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 2 whole strawberries (optional)
- Place first 5 ingredients in a blender. Purée mixture for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Pour into two tall glasses and top each with 1 tablespoon chopped nuts.
- Garnish glass with strawberry, if desired.
Note: If you prefer a thicker smoothie, replace the peach with 1 small sliced banana.
Nutritional Information for individual food recipe: Calories: 210; Fat: 6 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 10 mg; Sodium: 135 mg; Calcium: 30% Daily Value; Protein: 12 g; Carbohydrates: 29 g
Alice's Notes: The vanilla in this recipe adds sweetness, making any additional sweetener unnecessary.
Recipe courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov)
Preparation time: 5 minutes Number of servings: 1
- 1 cup unsweetened frozen raspberries
- 3/4 cup 100% orange juice (if you use frozen juice, don't forget to dilute first )
- 1/2 cup fruit-flavored, low-fat yogurt (try peach)
Blend all ingredients well in a blender, and drink!
- Frozen strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries, mango, or peaches
- Pineapple juice, orange-tangerine juice, and other 100 percent juice blends
- Different yogurt flavors
Alice's Notes: This recipe is extremely versatile and can serve as a master recipe for many flavors of smoothies. To quickly vary the type of juice, keep on hand different types of 6 oz. (equals 3/4 cup) cans of fruit juice. Try pineapple juice for a change.
Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Shake
Recipe provided by Jennifer Meyer, RD, LMNT, Director of Nutrition Education, American Dairy Association and Dairy Council of Nebraska.
Makes 1 serving
- 1 cup fat free or low fat milk
- 1/2 cup frozen banana slices
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sweet cocoa powder (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with a sprinkle of cocoa powder, if desired.
Nutritional Facts Per Serving for individual food recipe: Calories: 270; Total Fat: 9 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 5 mg; Sodium: 220 mg; Calcium: 35% Daily Value; Protein: 15 g; Carbohydrates: 35 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Alice's Notes: Freeze banana slices by slicing banana(s) and placing the slices in a single layer in a shallow metal pan (such as a cake pan) or on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Freeze overnight for a smoothie in the morning or slice in the morning for a smoothie later in the day.
One large banana yields about 1 cup of banana slices and a smaller banana about 1/2 cup of slices; don't worry about being exact -- a little extra banana simply makes a thicker smoothie.
Both vanilla and cinnamon are used as sweeteners -- no sugar is needed.
Fresh Mango Shake
Recipe courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "Fruits & Veggies Matter."
Preparation time: 10 minutes Number of servings: 1 Cups of Fruits and Vegetables per Person: 1
- 1 small mango (8 oz) quartered, pitted, and peeled
- 3/4 cup non-fat plain yogurt
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 2 ice cubes
In a blender, combine all the ingredients until thick and smooth.
Nutrition Facts: Amount per serving size of 1/4 of recipe: Calories: 250; Total Fat: 1 g; Saturated Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 5 mg; Sodium: 100 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 58 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 22 g; Protein: 7 g; Vitamin A: 90% DV; Vitamin C: 45% DV; Calcium: 25% DV; Iron: 0% DV (DV = Daily Value, based on a 2,000 calorie diet)
Let's Drink a Banana Split
Recipe courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Preparation time: 15 minutes Number of servings: 4
- 2 bananas, sliced
- 1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
- 2 cups fat free milk
- 1 cup strawberries
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups ice
- 4 maraschinos cherries for garnish
Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts: Amount per serving size of 1/4 of recipe: Calories: 190; Total Fat: 1 g; Saturated Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 75 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 43 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 36 g; Protein: 6 g; Vitamin A: 6% DV; Vitamin C: 60% DV; Calcium: 15% DV; Iron: 4% DV (DV = Daily Value, based on a 2,000 calorie diet)
Alice's Notes: This recipe is easy to cut in half -- transfer the pineapple to a storage container and refrigerate. Enjoy in a salad (or another smoothie!) in a day or two. As an alternative to a maraschino cherry garnish, use a strawberry.
Just Peachy Smoothie
- Frozen peach cubes (recipe below)
- Non-fat or fat-free yogurt: vanilla or any flavor you would enjoy with peaches
- Sprig of mint or fresh strawberry (optional)
Frozen Peach Cubes
- 1 can of peaches in a light or extra-light syrup
- Dash of nutmeg or cinnamon
- Drain canned peaches.
- Puree the peaches in your regular blender or with a handheld immersion blender -- adding a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg -- until smooth. Taste and add more cinnamon or nutmeg if desired. Freshly grated nutmeg is especially nice!
- Freeze the sauce in ice cube trays for about 2 hours or until frozen. Remove from tray and transfer to a plastic freezer bag. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible. The quality of food declines faster when excess air is left in the package. Label the bag with the type of food and date frozen. Plan to use within about 8 months.
- For each smoothie, place 6 to 8 ounces of yogurt in your blender. Add 3 or more frozen peach cubes, depending on size of cubes and how thick you want your smoothie. Blend until smooth.
- For added color, top with a sprig of mint or fruit of a contrasting color, such as a strawberry.
Strawberry Yogurt Shake
Recipe courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "Fruits & Veggies Matter"
Preparation Time: 10 minutes Number of Servings: 2 Cups of Fruits and Vegetables per Person: 2.0
- 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
- 3/4 cup plain low fat yogurt
- 1-1/2 cups frozen, unsweetened strawberries
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Add ingredients, in order listed, to blender container. Puree at medium speed, until thick and smooth.
Nutrition Facts for serving size of 1/2 of recipe: Calories, 140; Total Fat, 2 g; Cholesterol, 5 mg; Sodium, 65 mg; Total Carbohydrate, 27 g; Dietary Fiber, 2 g; Sugars, 22 g; Protein, 6 g; Vitamin A, 2% DV; Vitamin C, 90% DV; Calcium, 20% DV; Iron, 6% DV (DV = Daily Value, based on a 2,000 calorie diet)
Awesome Banana Walnut Shake
Recipe courtesy of Rosemary Mark for the Walnut Marketing Board; Find more great walnut recipes at .
Servings: 2 Prep Time: 5 minutes
- 1 medium very ripe banana, frozen
- 1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
- 1/4 cup chopped California walnuts
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- Place banana, yogurt, walnuts, and 1 tablespoon honey in a blender.
- Blend on low speed until ingredients start to mix together. Then increase to high speed and blend until smooth. For a sweeter smoothie, add another tablespoon of honey. Serve immediately.
TIP: To make a frozen banana, peel and cut the banana into chunks. Wrap in plastic and place in freezer several hours or overnight.
Nutrition Information: Calories, 267; Total Fat, 11 g; Saturated Fat, 2 g; Monounsaturated Fat, 2 g; Polyunsaturated Fat, 7 g; Trans Fat, 0 g; Cholesterol, 3 mg; Sodium, 42 mg; Total Carbohydrate, 41 g; Dietary Fiber, 2.5 g, Protein, 6 g