Choose an ingredient from each category and blend for a fresh, healthy start to the day.

By Lisa Butterworth
March 05, 2021
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Refreshing, filling, and oh-so-sippable, a smoothie is the page-turner of breakfast foods. To blend something novel every day of the week, pick an ingredient from each section below, then mix and match to your heart's content. Living assistant food editor Riley Wofford and nutritionist Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN, collaborated on this list of winning ingredients. No matter which options you pick, we guarantee you'll love the ending.

leafy green vegetables
types of berries
Left: Credit: Débora Islas
Right: Credit: Débora Islas

Produce

Leafy greens are great in smoothies. Grab some spinach or romaine, as both are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals but have a subtler taste than other greens. Then, go for berries. They burst with flavor and antioxidants—especially wild blueberries. We love frozen ones for the icy texture and ease.

banana
cut melon
Left: Credit: Débora Islas
Right: Credit: Débora Islas

Bananas are great for smoothies, so we suggest freezing your browning ones with the peels on, then thaw slightly and peel to use. They thicken and sweeten any combo. We also like to round out our smoothies with melon. It's sweet and fiber-rich, but tends to clash with nuts, so use it wisely. Try cantaloupe or honeydew with labneh or kefir, turmeric, and honey.

cow dairy products
bowl of labneh
Left: Credit: Débora Islas
Right: Credit: Débora Islas

Dairy

Cow's milk and yogurt are two good sources of calcium and vitamin D, which makes either a winning choice for a satiating smoothie. Opt for fuller-fat varieties to help you stay full until lunchtime. Labneh, a soft, tart, ultra-rich yogurt cheese, is a great alternative thickener to bananas

alt milk
bottle of kefir
Left: Credit: Débora Islas
Right: Credit: Débora Islas

Alternative milks are also great in smoothies. Pour your go-to, as long as it's unsweetened. Riley likes Oatly oat milk ($5, target.com). Another option is kefir: This tangy, savory fermented-milk drink is packed with gut-health-supporting probiotics.

almond nut butter
nut varieties
Left: Credit: Débora Islas
Right: Credit: Débora Islas

Protein

A tablespoon or two of your favorite nut butter has all the nutritional benefits of whole nuts, but it's nice and smooth. It's a great way to add protein and flavor to your smoothie. For more texture, go with skin-on nuts. Pistachios, almonds, and hazelnuts contain healthy fats and protein that'll help keep you full.

protein powder
silken tofu
Left: Credit: Débora Islas
Right: Credit: Débora Islas

A scoop of protein powder helps counter-act fruits' natural sugars by stabilizing insulin levels. Retelny likes Vega brand. Silk tofu is another great source of protein. A few spoonfuls can add calcium and boost creaminess—plus, it tastes so mild you won't notice the addition.

honey
bags of seeds
Left: Credit: Débora Islas
Right: Credit: Débora Islas

Extras

Drizzle in raw honey or pure maple syrup; they have a lower glycemic index than refined sugar. We also like to add a tablespoon of chia, ground flax, or hemp. It's an undetectable way to sneak in loads of fiber.

types of spices
cocoa powder
Left: Credit: Débora Islas
Right: Credit: Débora Islas

A hefty pinch of anti-inflammatory cinnamon or turmeric, or fresh ginger to taste, will provide a big dose of flavor. And if you're a chocolate lover, go for a little cocoa powder. Antioxidants make the unsweetened kind good for you. Blend with a banana, peanut butter, and any milk (or tofu!).

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