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Basic Guide to Making Smoothies

April 2, 2012

I’m not sure how long I’ve been making smoothies regularly, probably at least a year or so. In the past I made them for my husband and myself, and sometimes he’d whip up our then-favorite “recipe” for both of us too. But, since that time, he’s moved more toward oatmeal or toast for breakfast, or really just something other than a lukewarm, partially melted smoothie waiting for him when he gets home from the gym after I’ve already left for work.

Recently though, he’s watched me load up my smoothies with spinach and other healthy ingredients, and he thinks he might like to get back into the drinkable breakfast game. I know that really anyone can put together a smoothie with millions of combinations of ingredients, but I wanted him to know exactly what we have available, and have sort of a “Smoothie-Making 101″ general framework to follow. So, here’s the notebook page that I wrote up and magnetized to our refrigerator for him, with a few additions. Thought some of you might find it helpful/inspiring as well!

Basic Guide to Making Smoothies

First, I realized as I wrote this that there is LOTS of flexibility and room for personal preference when it comes to smoothies. I have six categories of ingredients below, but basically all you need is enough liquid to allow your blender to run smoothly, and something to give the smoothie texture and body (fresh or frozen fruit/vegetables of almost any type, yogurt, nuts, beans, etc.)

One basic ratio I use often is:

1 banana

1/2 – 1 cup frozen fruit/berries

1/2 – 3/4 cup water or juice

1 Tbsp nut butter, 1/4 avocado, or other healthy fat

3 big handfuls spinach


Of course, besides liquid and something to blend into it, any of those ingredients are optional. You can adjust them according to your liking and dietary needs, and get creative with countless combinations of the good stuff listed below or anything else you think of.

1/2 – 1 cup LIQUIDS:

  • water
  • juice (orange, apple, pomegranate, pineapple, cranberry, grapefruit, etc.)
  • milk (almond, soy, rice, hemp, dairy, etc.)
  • coconut water
  • coffee or espresso
  • tea (green, chai, fruit-flavored, chamomile, mint, etc.)
  • coconut milk


  • 1/2 – 1 frozen banana, sliced before it is frozen for at least 2 hours on a cookie sheet or plate
  • 1/4 – 1 cup frozen fruit (blueberries, cherries, mango, pineapple, strawberries, etc.)
  • ice cubes
  • ice cubes made from any liquid (coconut water, juice, tea, etc.) or pumpkin puree


  • 1/2 – 1 fresh banana
  • 1/4 – 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • dairy or non-dairy yogurt
  • cooked sweet potato or pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
  • any vegetable that your blender can handle (cooked beets, fresh carrots, romaine lettuce, etc.)
  • 1 – 4 Tbsp. raw nuts
  • any fresh fruits (berries, melon, peaches, pineapple, pears, etc.)
  • canned fruits packed in water (pineapple, peaches, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup cooked beans, drained and rinsed if from a can


  • 2 – 3 big handfuls of spinach
  • smaller amounts of kale, cooked beets, carrots, or any other vegetable
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. hemp, rice, or pea protein powder
  • 1 tsp. gelatinized maca root
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. hemp seeds
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • acai berry powder
  • greens superfood powder


  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. nut butter
  • 1 – 4 Tbsp. raw nuts
  • 1/4 – 1/2 avocado
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. hemp seeds
  • unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. flax seed oil or coconut oil


  • 1/2 – 1 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
  • cacao nibs or pieces of dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp. matcha green tea powder
  • espresso or instant coffee powder
  • 1 – 2 dried dates
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 – 1 Tbsp. peanut flour
  • vanilla, almond, mint, or other extracts
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or other spices
  • herbs (mint, basil, parsley, cilantro, etc.)
  • ginger, fresh or powdered

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