7 Energy-Packed Smoothies That Taste Just Like Milkshakes (We Swear)
When a craving for a milkshake hits, nothing will satisfy other than a frosty, delicious blended beverage. But sometimes those pesky cravings don't cooperate with your health goals—or your desire to keep your kids off a sugar high. The only thing better than a thick, luscious milkshake is one that actually happens to be a healthy smoothie, totally appropriate for breakfast, a midday snack, or a light dessert.
In case you're wondering, the actual difference between a milkshake and a smoothie (because you might not know once you try some of these recipes!) is that milkshakes are generally dairy-based, relying on ice cream and sugar to give them flavor. Smoothies are the healthful cousin of the milkshake, using frozen fruit, seeds, milk—either dairy or nondairy—and other generally nutritious ingredients to create more of a meal substitute.
When done right, smoothies can be just as satisfying and indulgent as a traditional milkshake, without the sugar crash.
1 Tropical Creamsicle Smoothie
This smoothie is so creamy and thick, no one will suspect that it’s packed with an entire cup (!) of fiber-rich carrots. Coconut milk is balanced out by lime juice and a touch of gut-friendly apple cider vinegar and honey, which adds sweetness without the addition of any refined sugars. The bottom line? This recipe is the ultimate dessert-for-breakfast situation that will keep the whole family fueled until lunch.
2 Coffee-Tahini Smoothie
Some days call for a creamy breakfast, and that’s where this caffeinated concoction truly shines. It's 100 percent plant-based and even packs half of an avocado (so you know you'll stay satisfied until lunch). The addition of tahini and banana makes this more of a meal than a latté—sub out any nut butter for tahini if you don’t have it on hand—and any nut milk will stand in for the oat. Not looking for an energy jolt? Swap in decaf to enjoy this rich treat any time of day or night.
3 Choco-Coco Smoothie
For all the chocolate lovers out there, this healthy smoothie will hit the spot. Light coconut milk adds all the creamy richness that you expect from a chocolate-y shake without having to add actual cream, and yogurt adds another layer of thickness with just the right amount of tart. And of course, you’ve got your dose of chocolate. Feel free to sub in dark chocolate chips if you are scratching a serious chocolate itch.
4 Creamy Date Shake
Dates are full of natural sweetness, essential nutrients, and fiber, making them nature’s candy that you can feel truly good about eating. They also give this icy treat a naturally caramel-like flavor, and the addition of hemp seeds adds more fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Whether you serve this smoothie for breakfast or dessert, you can feel good knowing that each ingredient is fueling your body.
5 Creamy Mango Smoothie
A pinch of ground ginger gives this refreshing and velvety smoothie a subtle spice. The recipe, which is quite similar to the Indian milkshake known as a mango lassi, also calls for yogurt, agave, and a tiny bit of salt—which all add up to be the most refreshing bevvie you could ask for on a warm day. Try this recipe as a light dessert after a spicy meal as a delicious way to cool down your taste buds.
6 Strawberry Buttermilk Smoothie
If you’re wondering what to do with that leftover half carton of buttermilk you bought for a recipe, consider incorporating into your smoothie to create something similar to a slightly tangy strawberry milkshake. A touch of agave balances out the acidity of the buttermilk, and chia or flax add some thickness for the mouthfeel you’re looking for, with the additional benefit of fill-you-up fiber.
7 Banana Cashew Smoothie
Keep things super simple without sacrificing any of the decadence with this frothy and velvety smoothie. Soaking the cashews overnight before blending turns them into a creamy non-dairy base. Freezing the banana in advance would eliminate the need for ice and makes for an even thicker shake.
8 Pumpkin Rice Pudding Smoothie
This smoothie recipe is for when you’re craving the ultimate healthy-but-decadent treat. Pumpkin puree gets jazzed up with cream cheese, cooked rice, milk, and honey for a smooth, frosty version of classic rice pudding that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.