Ever since blenders became a widely available consumer product in the 1950s, smoothies have been a fixture of American food culture. Though early on blenders were often popularly used to make ice cream into milkshakes, there is a long history of using pureed fresh fruit or frozen fruit for a healthier result. In more recent decades, smoothies have become synonymous with health and wellbeing because of the countless combinations of favorite fruits, veggies, and various add-ins that allow people to customize their own favorite smoothie. For the healthiest and most delicious smoothie recipe, though, some ingredients are better than others.
Healthy Fruits and Veggies for Smoothies
A smoothie is a blended beverage typically made by combining a variety of ingredients with a liquid like water, juice, or milk. The mixture is then pureed in a blender until smooth, creating a thick and creamy end product. Because they are an unprocessed mixture of whole foods, though, they can be a great vehicle for healthy ingredients. From breakfast smoothies to smoothie bowls, here are some of the best fruits and veggies for health:
- Bananas: Besides providing an even creamier texture, bananas are one of the healthiest options for a smoothie; the fruit is a good source of potassium, manganese, and vitamin B6. Bananas are also great for pairing with other flavors, as in a strawberry banana smoothie.
- Berries: Berry smoothies are one of the healthiest choices because they are naturally low in carbohydrates, yet their natural sweetness means no added sugars are necessary. Berries are also a good natural source of pigments that can introduce different colors. Examples include blueberries, red raspberries, and blackberries.
- Mango: Mango smoothies have a unique fruity tropical flavor at the same time as a particularly smooth and velvety texture. Mangoes are also known for being high in antioxidants and vitamins like A and C.
- Pineapple: Pineapple is one of the most beloved flavors because of its unique mix of sweetness and tartness. Pineapples also have loads of nutrients and compounds that can positively impact health.
- Kiwi: Kiwifruit adds a zesty and tart flavor to fruit smoothie recipes, but it can also add color and nutritional density.
- Melon: Melons like watermelon and cantaloupe have higher than average water content than other fruits, which can fit better with some fruits than others. Because of their refreshing flavor and color, for instance, watermelon goes well with strawberries or cherries.
- Leafy greens: Many popular green smoothie recipes get their color from the incorporation of leafy greens like kale, spinach, or swiss chard. In addition to having a vibrant green color, a kale smoothie is low in carbs and rich in antioxidants and important nutrients.
Add-ins For a Healthy Smoothie
For the best smoothie, the primary ingredients will dominate the flavor and texture. Selecting the best fruits and vegetables will be the most important factor in terms of healthiness, but there are also a wide variety of liquid and solid add-ins that can contribute:
- Milk: Cow’s milk is a classic option that is high in calcium, protein, and vitamin D; however, depending on the type, milk can also be high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Yogurt: Another dairy-based liquid that can be used in smoothies is plain yogurt or Greek yogurt. In addition to creating a thick and creamy texture, Greek yogurt in particular has healthy fats and antioxidants.
- Plant-based milk: To get healthier fats but still maintain a creamy texture, there are numerous alternative plant-based milks. Examples include almond milk, oat milk, and soy milk. Some of these same ingredients can also be used to make nut butters like almond butter or peanut butter that also work well for smoothies.
- Coconut: Coconut water is a clear liquid naturally found in young coconuts that contains nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Additionally, the white inner flesh of the coconut can be grated and made into coconut milk.
- Fruit juice: Any fruit juice can be used as a sweetener for a smoothie, but orange juice and apple juice are two of the most common.
- Seeds: Chia seeds and flax seeds are two examples of smoothie add-ins that add a significant amount of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They also add a distinctive flavor.
- Powders: Virtually any kind of powder can be added to a smoothie to thicken the mixture or to add nutritional value. Protein powder is popular among weightlifters, but vegetable powders like turmeric or paprika can offer a different flavor profile and a variety of potential health benefits.
Smoothie Ingredients from FruitSmart
As with all recipes, the best smoothie requires the best ingredients. At FruitSmart, we are dedicated to always providing the highest quality fruit ingredients in the industry. From juices and concentrates to seed oils and powders, we offer a wide selection of products that can be used in smoothies and various other applications. To learn more about any of our products or processes, please contact us today.