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How to Make Healthy Homemade Smoothies

Clean Plates Team
June 17, 2021
Photo Credit: Nadine Greef

Here’s the thing about most store-bought smoothies: They’re often loaded with sugar. And when we say loaded, we mean a 16-ounce bottle can contain 50 grams of sugar — or more. And while a lot of that sugar comes from fruit, it’s still sugar. But before you decide to ditch your morning smoothie, you should know that homemade smoothies are an easy and healthy option.

Armed with a blender and a little imagination, you can have a different healthy smoothie every morning. Or make the same one day after day! It’s up to you.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Choose your fruit.

You can use fresh fruit, but we prefer to use frozen fruit for a thicker, frostier smoothie. If you have fresh fruit on hand, especially if it’s getting a little overripe, cut it up and freeze it for future smoothies. Organic is ideal, especially when it comes to the EWG’s dirty dozen, and it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on sugar, as some fruits are naturally higher in sugar than others.

Tropical fruits like mangos, guava, and passionfruit tend to have more sugar per cup. Berries — raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries — are low-sugar fruits. That doesn’t mean you can’t make a mango smoothie! Just be mindful of how much you’re using: Start with a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of higher-sugar fruits, rather than a full cup.

2. And your veggies.

Greens like kale, chard, collard or spinach give homemade smoothies an extra shot of nutrients and a gorgeous green hue. You can also add other veggies, like carrots, cauliflower, or even cabbage!

3. Add some liquid.

You can go any direction you like here, from water, tea, or coconut water for a fresher, lighter smoothie to full-fat coconut milk for something extra-creamy. When choosing alternative milks, like oat, almond, or hemp, opt for unsweetened versions and check the ingredient list for additives or stabilizers.

Pro tip: Always use more liquid than fruits and veggies for the ideal consistency and to avoid unnecessary strain on your blender.

4. Make it thicker.

Greek yogurt is a great way to thicken up your smoothie and add some protein. Half an avocado will also do the trick and add healthy fats and extra potassium. Other options include chia seeds, coconut oil, and nut butters.

5. Boost the flavor (and the nutrition).

Try adding a scoop of organic raw cacao, goji berries, maca powder, spirulina, blue-green algae, bee pollen, or aloe vera. Spices like vanilla and cinnamon can also be nice. And we love a bit of cardamom in our homemade mango smoothies.

Ready to get blending? Here are some additional recipes and tips to get you started:

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