The best thing about smoothies is their capacity for infinite experimentation. And like many subjective tastes, only you can determine the best combination of smoothie ingredients for you.
But how do you go about preparing a smoothie without botching it up?
There are some key considerations to bear in mind when going about the process, which should speed up the learning curve and get you preparing smoothies like a guru yourself.
Please keep reading as we break down how to make a smoothie great the first time by adhering to 9 simple rules.
- 1 1) Estimate The Proper Amount of Liquid to Add
- 2 2) Plan Around The Most Dominant Flavor(s)
- 3 3) Choose Your Supporting Cast of Ingredients
- 4 4) Choose Your Sweetener(s) Wisely
- 5 5) Give it an Added Health Boost!
- 6 6) Determine How Icy You Like It
- 7 7) Use a High Quality Blender For Best Results
- 8 8) Make Smoothies a Regular Part of Your Day
- 9 9) Have Fun With It!
1) Estimate The Proper Amount of Liquid to Add
All we are mean here is to ensure that you have enough liquid relative to the other ingredients so that you don’t end up making a glass full of paste, or a smoothie with a runny, watery texture. Of course, everyone has different opinions, but I like my smoothies thick but still able to be sucked up with a large-diameter straw.
Most smoothie recipes will attempt to achieve a proper consistency by starting with a cup or two of liquid. This can be regular (cow’s) milk, soy milk, almond milk, coffee/tea/alcohol, fruit juice and/or simply water. The amount of liquid needed will increase as you increase the amount of dry ingredients added.
Things like ground seeds, peanut butter, dryer fruits (e.g., banana), protein powders, and similar ingredients will soak up quite a bit of liquid. Consequently, you should start with a cup of your chosen liquid and add more as needed to get the mixture to blend. And if it becomes too watery, you can thicken it with more ingredients. No science here, just blend and taste – and repeat till perfect!
2) Plan Around The Most Dominant Flavor(s)
Although this is the #2 consideration, this is really the first decision that should be made. So, is this going to be a pineapple strawberry smoothie? Or perhaps you are leaning more towards an avocado yogurt smoothie?
Whatever floats your boat, think about how you want the resulting smoothie to taste – should one or more ingredients stand out? I like to think about it in movie terms – who’s the lead? For example, if you love blueberry and like the potent antioxidants they contain, you might make them your “star” ingredient and ensure you are adding at least a cup of them to your mixture. Once that decision is made, you can pick your liquid(s) of choice.
Yes, we know that some of the best smoothies are created by a random jumble of ingredients, but randomness will happen either way. We think it’s always best to start with some kind of vision for a smoothie, regardless whether you reach it, or end up with something very different, and perhaps even better instead!
3) Choose Your Supporting Cast of Ingredients
Whatever primary flavors you are aiming for with your smoothie, you have a plethora of options in terms of a supporting cast. For example, for virtually any kind of fruit and even vegetable smoothie, bananas are a great addition since they add some sweetness as well as bulk to the mixture.
Further, they can easily be peeled and frozen (in that order!) before addition to give the smoothie the desired slushy feel. Yogurt is another ingredient that complements so many kinds of smoothies by adding density and creaminess. And the great thing about yogurt is that it comes in its own myriad of flavors. For a very rich and thick smoothie, we like Greek yogurt best.
4) Choose Your Sweetener(s) Wisely
While it’s always convenient to reach for white sugar to add sweetness to your smoothie, think bigger.
Some of the best choices for sweetening up your smoothie are honey, agave, maple syrup, chopped dates, and raw brown (or coconut) sugar.
Corn syrup is another option for those looking for a liquid substitute for table sugar that more easily mixes at cold temperatures.
5) Give it an Added Health Boost!
Each time you make a smoothie it’s a good idea to try and add something special, something that packs lots of vitamins or nutrients. There are so many things that can be added to a smoothie that can turn it from being merely healthy to health super-charged.
For example, chia seeds are one of the new superfoods that can make almost any smoothie nutritious; and best of all, chia itself has no flavor, so it doesn’t alter the vision of the smoothie you planned to create. Other popular additions are flax seed or flax seed oil, wheat germ, oatmeal, algae (spirulina and chlorella), vitamin and protein powders/liquids.
The sky is really the limit here. Just add and taste and see what you can include while keeping things tasty. Just keep in mind that protein powders and flax/chia seeds will soak up lots of water, so keep some extra liquid on hand to add to the mixture as needed.
6) Determine How Icy You Like It
For many people, myself included, a smoothie is not a smoothie without some iciness to it. You can easily add the necessary ice factor by simply freezing any fruit or veggies that you add, or you can simply add ice cubes until the proper slushiness is achieved. Just remember that by adding ice cubes, you are watering down the mixture, so where possible it’s always advisable to freeze some/all of your main ingredients instead.
7) Use a High Quality Blender For Best Results
If you plan on making healthy smoothies a part of your lifestyle, then there is no substitute for purchasing a high-quality blender. By this we generally don’t mean the kind you are likely to find in your local department store. Achieving the velvety smooth texture that you’ll find at smoothie shops is something that requires a blender with lots of power so that very high blade rotational speeds can be obtained.
We are talking about blenders with motors typically over 1,000 watts. All other things being equal, faster blades means a smoother blend. This is particularly important when using lots of ice, seed material, and green leafy foods. In short, don’t skimp on your blender!
8) Make Smoothies a Regular Part of Your Day
One of the most important benefits of drinking smoothies is the huge does of vitamins and minerals they can provide, when consumed regularly. As such, we strongly encourage you to drink at least one healthy smoothie each day. Whether it is your own version of a breakfast smoothie, or a refreshing fruit smoothie you treat yourself to after dinner, make it good for you and drink them often.
9) Have Fun With It!
As we discussed at the outset, the best thing about smoothies is the endless creative possibilities they afford. Take advantage of this and experiment and have fun with the processes. We are certain that the more often you make smoothies, the more unique and interesting concoctions you will create. Also, when you’ve stumbled onto a real “winner,” make sure to share it with others who may be looking for some inspiration – and perhaps use your experience to help teach them how to make a smoothie for themselves!