The saying, “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” may be a cliché, but it’s accurate. Starting your day with a healthy meal that fills you up can make the difference between completing your to-do list and falling into an afternoon slump.
A morning smoothie gets you fresh produce, healthy fats, fiber and protein — and making one at home is easier than you might think. A daily homemade smoothie can offer some impressive benefits:
The fruits and vegetables in smoothies increase the overall intake of essential nutrients, including fiber and plant-based antioxidants. Choose several colors of produce to maximize the range of nutrients in the smoothie.
Smoothies are naturally hydrating. Not only are smoothies made with added liquid, but the fruits and vegetables are full of water. Staying hydrated is necessary for healthy digestion and metabolic functioning.
You can design your own, while limiting refined sugars and other additives common in store-bought drinks. Follow the simple smoothie framework below and get mixing.
The smoothie formula
- 1 cup frozen chopped fruit
- 1 cup fresh or frozen vegetables
- Up to ½ cup of protein
- 1-2 tablespoons healthy fats
- ½-1 cup of liquid or ice
Fruit adds natural sweetness and refreshing flavor to smoothies. To avoid a sugar crash, opt for these fruits with a lower glycemic index:
- Strawberries, blueberries or raspberries
- Stone fruits, like cherries, peaches and plums
- Citrus, like oranges, grapefruit and lemon
- Pome fruits, like apples and pears
A daily smoothie is the perfect opportunity to sneak in veggies that you won’t even taste — other add-ins overshadow them. The best vegetables for smoothies include:
- Leafy greens like spinach, kale and arugula
- Hydrating vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower, cucumbers and celery
- Naturally sweet carrots or sweet potato
To ensure that a smoothie is filling and keeps you full, include some protein in the blend. Great smoothie protein sources are:
- Protein powders, either plant-based or whey-derived
- Sugar-free yogurt (either dairy or plant-based)
- Silken tofu
Omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats increase satiety and heart health, but are high in calories, so add these fat sources in moderation:
- Sugar-free nut butter
- Seeds, like pumpkin, chia, sunflower and flax
- MCT oil
Use plain water if preferable, or one of these hydrating liquid options that will increase creaminess and flavor:
- Sugar-free nut milk
- Coconut water
- Regular milk or buttermilk
If desired, add extra flavor and nutrient-boosters with:
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Dried spices
- Extracts, like vanilla, peppermint or coconut
- Fiber supplements
Lizzy Briskin is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.