7 Smoothie Ingredients Nutrition Experts Love
We asked nutritionists for their go-to, satisfying smoothie picks—and how to use them.
Fresh Sweet Cherries
Why they’re good for you: Cherries contain vitamin C, as well as the nutrients anthocyanins, a compound that has been linked with fighting inflammation. That means sipping a cherry smoothie after a workout may help your body heal.
Nutrition expert: Megan Roosevelt, R.D., founder of HealthyGroceryGirl.com
Recipe: Sweet and Creamy Cherry Smoothie
- 1 cup fresh sweet cherries, pitted
- 1 ripe and fresh avocado, seeded, peeled, and sliced
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1/2 fresh lime, juiced
- 1 cup non-dairy milk beverage (like coconut or almond milk)
- 1 cup of ice
Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend for 15 to 20 seconds. Pour into two glasses.
Note: If you want to boost the smoothie’s protein quota, add a plant-based protein powder such as brown rice, hemp or pea protein, or Chia seeds.
Why they’re good for you: Wild blueberries have more fiber and antioxidants than their cultivated cousins, and they’re an excellent source of manganese, a mineral that’s important for bone health. Wild blueberries are also rich in anthocyanin, which contributes to their nutritional profile and adds to their dark blue color. And although they are tiny, wild blueberries deliver big in the taste department; they actually have a more intense blueberry flavor than the larger, regular blueberries. (Look for true wild blueberries—which are only grown in Maine and Canada—in your freezer section.)
Nutrition expert: Kit Broihier, R.D.
Recipe: Morning in Maine Wild Blueberry Smoothie
- 1/3 cup skim milk (or unsweetened almond, coconut, or soy milk)
- 1/3 cup fat free or low fat cottage cheese
- 1 handful baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries (do not thaw)
- 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup (or more, to taste)
- Dash cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Note: This smoothie is the blender version of Broihier’s favorite summer breakfast of cottage cheese topped with fruit and a shake of cinnamon. She prefers blueberries and syrup from Maine, but you can use your favorite local wild blueberries and syrup.
Why it’s good for you: Ginger adds a nice “zing” to your smoothie, while also calming the stomach. Ginger may also help to decrease inflammation and soreness after resistance exercise. One study showed that consuming 2 grams of fresh ginger or ginger spice daily for 11 days before a bout of eccentric exercise reduced muscle pain over the 24-hour period following the exercise session. And other research has linked ginger to reduced osteoarthritis pain.
Nutrition expert: Marie Spano, R.D.
Recipe: Lime Ginger Smoothie
- 8 ounces vanilla soymilk
- 1 scoop unflavored or vanilla whey protein
- 2 teaspoon (or more if desired) fresh cut ginger
- Zest from one lime
- Ice as desired
Toss all of the ingredients in a blender and let it run until beverage is smooth.
Why it’s good for you: Just one kiwi packs more than 100 percent of your daily-recommended value of vitamin C, a crucial antioxidant that helps with collagen formation. Added bonus for this smoothie: mint has high antioxidant content.
Nutrition expert: Sarah-Jane Bedwell, R.D.
Recipe: Kiwi-Mint Smoothie
- 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 medium banana
- 1 cup loosely packed spinach
- 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 small kiwi, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup ice cubes
In a blender, combine almond milk, banana, spinach, mint, lime juice, kiwi. Blend until smooth. Add the Greek yogurt and ice cubes and blend again until smooth.
Why it’s good for you: The almonds provide a combination of healthy fat, fiber, protein and nutrition. Bonus healthy ingredients in this recipe include the cacao powder that provides antioxidants and the whey powder that packs protein to help keep your energy constant throughout the day.
Nutrition expert: Christopher Mohr, Ph.D., R.D.
Recipe: Chocolate Almond Butter Protein Shooter
- 1 tablespoon natural almond butter
- 1 scoop serving chocolate whey protein powder
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- 1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
- 1 cup ice cubes
Toss all of the ingredients into the blender and let the blades whir until your beverage is smooth and creamy.
Why they’re good for you: Carrots make a great smoothie ingredient—they are a wonderful source of fiber and vitamin A. Vitamin A is important not only for healthy skin and eyes, but also for the immune system. They’re a good smoothie add-in for someone who doesn’t like their drink too sweet.
Nutrition expert: Kristi L. King, R.D.
Recipe: Carrot Tropical Fruit Smoothie
- 1/2-3/4 cup frozen pineapple
- 1/4 cup ice
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1/3 cup 100 percent orange juice
- 1/4-1/2 cup Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
- 1/4 cup chopped carrots (cooked will be softer and easier to blend)
- 1/2 banana
Blend the ingredients up until frothy and smooth.
Why it’s good for you: Pitaya dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that’s rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and can be paired with any combination of fruit. Its bright purple color will brighten up any smoothie, too!
Nutrition expert: Kelly Sloan, dietetics student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, blogger at www.kellyfoodparadise.com
Recipe: Summer Pitaya Smoothie
- 1 3.5-ounce Pitaya PLUS Dragon fruit smoothie pack, frozen (or you can use fresh pitaya/dragon fruit, chopped)
- 2 large bananas, frozen
- 1/2 cup pineapple, frozen
- 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup water or juice
- 2 tablespoons trail mix or granola
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water for a thinner consistency.
2. Top with trail mix or granola for crunch and presentation.