Whip Up a Better Smoothie

Use our mix-and-match options for a satisfying, healthy treat that’s anything but boring.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with a strawberry-banana or mixed-berry smoothie—two classics that have reached Hall of Smoothie Fame status. But admit it: Those combos are a bit ho-hum. On a hunt for flavors that would shake up our taste buds, we set out to find some new ingredients to toss into our blenders. We knew we needed to hit on the nutrition trio of fiber, protein, and vitamins so that we’d wind up with a treat that would fill us up and reboot our energy—but from there we simply let our flavor cravings be our guide. Take your pick from our top choices, and whir away.

 THE SMOOTHIE BASICS

For each serving you’ll need about 1 cup of fruit, a handful of ice cubes, 1/2 cup liquid (juice, water, nonfat kefir, or low-fat milk), and 1 to 2 tablespoons each of the protein and fiber options. 

PROTEIN: Provides lasting energy and protects muscle mass

Whey Protein Powder: A by-product of the cheese-making process, whey protein is a nutrient-rich source of protein that is also a good option if you’re lactose intolerant. (Whey’s lactose is removed in the process of isolating whey protein.) You can find it in the health section of supermarkets and many big-box retailers.

Nutrition: 1 scoop: 75 calories; 13g protein; 4g carbs; 1g fat; 0.5g sat. fat; 75mg sodium; 0g fiber

Low-Fat Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt isn’t just thicker than regular yogurt; it also contains roughly double the protein, along with nutrients like B6, B12, and zinc.

Nutrition: 1/4 cup plain: 50 calories; 5g protein; 2.5g carbs; 2g fat; 1g sat. fat; 25mg sodium; 0g fiber 

Peanut Butter: Studies have shown that people who regularly eat peanut butter have higher levels of nutrients like folate and iron, compared with those who don’t or who rarely open a jar; peanuts also contain cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fats.

Nutrition: 1 tablespoon: 96 calories; 4g protein; 4g carbs; 8g fat; 1.6g sat. fat; 68mg sodium; 1g fiber

Low-Fat Milk: Along with other vitamins and minerals, milk contains bone-building calcium as well as potassium, a nutrient that helps regulate blood pressure.

Nutrition: 1/2 cup: 51 calories; 4g protein; 6g carbs; 1g fat; 0.7g sat. fat; 54mg sodium; 0g fiber

Hemp Seeds: Found in health food stores and in the health food section of larger supermarkets, hemp seeds may help fight inflammation and high blood pressure.

Nutrition: 1 tablespoon:  45 calories; 2.5g protein; 1.5g carbs; 3g fat; 0.5g sat. fat; 0mg sodium; 1g fiber

Kefir: Non-fat kefir (a cultured milk product with a mild, tangy taste) is a great low-calorie protein source. Plus, it’s loaded with several B vitamins, which help your nervous system and are important for overall good health. You’ll find it near the yogurt section of your grocery store. Just double-check the label to make sure you’re buying a bottle without added sugars.

Nutrition: 1/2 cup for non-fat plain: 45 calories; 5.5g protein; 6g carbs; 0g fat; 0g sat. fat; 60mg sodium; 0g fiber 

FIBER: Helps fill you up and curb snack attacks later on

Chia Seeds: Offering a high antioxidant concentration, chia seeds are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for several body functions. Look for them in the health food section of your grocery store (often near oatmeal and flaxseed).

Nutrition: 1 tablespoon: 69 calories; 2g protein; 6g carbs; 4g fat; 0.4g sat. fat; 2mg sodium; 5g fiber

Flaxseeds: Another seed boasting heart-healthy omega-3s, flaxseeds also provide calcium.

Nutrition: 1 tablespoon, whole: 55 calories; 2g protein; 3g carbs; 4g fat; 0.4g sat. fat; 3mg sodium; 3g fiber

Avocado: Chock-full of healthy monounsaturated fat, avocados also contain folate and lutein.

Nutrition: 1/4 avocado: 80 calories; 1g protein; 4g carbs; 7g fat; 1g sat. fat; 4mg sodium; 3g fiber

Prunes: Loaded with iron, prunes are also high in soluble fiber, which promotes healthy blood sugar.

Nutrition: 1/4 cup: 66 calories; 1g protein; 17g carbs; 0.1g fat; 0g sat. fat; 1mg sodium; 2g fiber

Old-Fashioned Oats: Oats have been shown to help lower cholesterol.

Nutrition: 3 tablespoons (dry):  57 calories; 2g protein; 10g carbs; 1g fat; 0.2g sat. fat; 1mg sodium; 1.5g fiber 

FRUIT: Delivers that sweet taste you’re after, along with a dose of vitamins and nutrients that help support good health

Mango: This tropical fruit is high in vitamin A and beta-carotene to protect your peepers as you get older.

Nutrition: 1 cup, pieces: 99 calories; 1g protein; 25g carbs; 0.6g fat; 0.1g sat. fat; 2mg sodium; 3g fiber

Blueberries: These antioxidant-rich berries also contain memory-improving flavonoids.

Nutrition: 1 cup: 84 calories; 1g protein; 21g carbs; 0.5g fat; 0g sat. fat; 1mg sodium; 4g fiber

Peaches: This juicy fruit is rich in several antioxidants, as well as potassium and iron, both of which are key for proper cell function.

Nutrition: 1 cup, slices: 60 calories; 1g protein; 15g carbs; 0.4g fat; 0g sat. fat; 0mg sodium; 2g fiber

Pineapple: This sweet fruit is a good source of manganese, which promotes bone health.

Nutrition: 1 cup, chunks: 82 calories; 1g protein; 22g carbs; 0.2g fat; 0g sat. fat; 2mg sodium; 2g fiber

Green grapes: These little gems contain a type of flavonoid called catechins that serve as a cell protector. When making smoothies, it’s nice to toss frozen grapes into the blender.

Nutrition: 1 cup: 104 calories; 1 g protein; 27g carbs; 0.2g fat; 0g sat. fat; 3mg sodium; 1g fiber

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