If you’re looking for healthy drinks you’ve got plenty of options.
Keen to cut down on drinks packed with sugar or sugar alternatives? Or maybe you just want something extra summery when the sun is shining 🌞
Whatever you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with a fresh fruit smoothie. In this post we’ve rounded up 8 of the best smoothie recipes to get you started.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Healthy homemade smoothie recipes
- What to use as your base
- What other ingredients to include
- What makes a smoothie healthy
- Healthy store-bought smoothies
Healthy homemade smoothie recipes
Making smoothies is easy: just choose a base and some fruit, and blitz it up.
1. Summer Fruits 🍓
One of the most timeless smoothie recipes has to be summer fruits.
To make this healthy smoothie, just add a mixture of berries to some apple juice and blend.
You can reduce the sweetness by going half juice, half water.
And to make it extra refreshing, why not freeze the berries first?
2. Banana and Peanut Butter 🍌
Earlier we said you just need a base and some fruit to make a smoothie, but you’re not limited to those things.
One of our favourite smoothies is a simple mix of soya milk, ripe banana and peanut butter.
To make it healthy we recommend low-fat milk and low-fat peanut butter.
Feel free to sub out soya for your favourite type of milk, too.
And if you’ve only got unripe bananas, they’ll still work but you won’t get quite as luxurious a flavour.
3. Tropical 🍍
When it’s hot and sunny out, this recipe can transport your mind somewhere exotic.
Add some fresh chopped pineapple to some pineapple juice. Chuck in a banana and a dash of lime, then blend.
If you want to evoke a pina colada, switch out the pineapple juice for low-fat coconut milk (or go for a 50/50 mix).
This recipe is perfect for a cocktail umbrella if you’ve got one laying around.
4. Ginger Peach 🍑
At first glance this may not seem too appealing, but trust us. The earthy burn lifts the tender sweetness of the peach.
For this one you’ll need a banana, the flesh of 1-2 peaches, a small piece of ginger (about a tablespoon) and your base of choice. Apple juice or coconut water would work well.
We recommend leaving the skin on the peaches but taking it off the ginger!
This recipe is proof that thinking outside the box a little can reap huge rewards when you’re making smoothies.
Smoothies Go Great with Leanbean
Healthy drinks are part of healthy lifestyles. If you’re interested in smoothies as a way of eating less and eating healthier, why not check out Leanbean?
Each daily dose of Leanbean contains a proven dose of glucomannan to:
- Reduce cravings
- Help you feel full more quickly
- Support healthy weight loss
Now, back to the smoothies.
5. Green Goddess 🍃
Since we managed to slip ginger past you (definitely not a fruit!) we’re going to delve even deeper into veggies in smoothies.
The first time we tried this smoothie it blew our minds: the texture is so smooth, almost silky.
Grab a handful of spinach, the flesh of a peeled avocado, and half a banana. Add this to a mix of 75% milk and 25% coconut milk (both low-fat).
Blend it up, then take a sip and bask in the smoothness.
6. Raspberry Melon 🍈
Back to safer, fruitier territory now. Here’s a combination which may not seem obvious, but which tastes delicious.
Chuck some melon chunks and a handful of frozen raspberries into a 50/50 mix of fruit juice and water, then mix.
We find watermelon to be the most refreshing choice for this smoothie recipe, but other types work well too. So if you can only find cantaloupe or honeydew, still give it a go!
If you want to add a little flair, whack a sprig of fresh mint on the rim of the glass.
7. Apple Kiwi and Spinach 🍎
Fruit and veg can work together in perfect smoothie harmony, as evidenced by this tasty recipe.
Kiwi’s unique tang makes it a great ingredient for smoothies: something to cut through the usual sweet flavours and lift the whole thing to the next level.
Peel a couple of kiwis and remove their cores, then do the same with an apple. Chuck in a handful of spinach, then add it all to a mix of apple juce and water. Blend it up.
If you want a thicker consistency, add half a banana. You can also freeze the peeled kiwi in advance for an extra refreshing hit.
8. Mocha ☕
We’ll end with something a little more out there than the previous recipes, but no less enjoyable.
For this one you’ll need to make some coffee – ideally an espresso, failing that an Americano – then let it cool.
While it’s cooling take the stones out of 4-5 dates, peel a banana and grab a teaspoon of cocoa powder.
When the coffee is cooled add to a cup of low-fat milk (we recommend something plant-based like almond), then combine all ingredients and blend.
What to Use as a Smoothie Base
The recipes above used various liquids as their base, including fruit juices, milk, and even coffee.
When you’re making your smoothie recipes you’ve got tons of options for what base to use. Here are some ideas:
- Flavoured milk
- Yogurt or lassi
- Homemade fruit juice
- Cooled herbal teas
- Ice cream
- Protein shake
This list isn’t exhaustive, and you’re not limited to more than one base. Mixing low-fat milk with a scoop of low-fat ice cream, for example, gives a thicker, more indulgent base.
Or adding a little kombucha to something with a savoury side will give it a nice, intriguing tang.
Your only limit here is your creativity: experiment with bases and find out what flavours you like best!
Play around with mixed bases to open up even more depth of flavour for your smoothies!
What Else to Include in Smoothies
One of the best things about making smoothies is putting your own flair on the recipe. Most of our recipes included some combination of fruits and veggies, but you have a lot of other options.
Like a bit of warmth? Add a teaspoon of turmeric. This yellow spice brings a real earthy flavour to any smoothie and works particularly well alongside apple, kiwi, spinach and ginger.
Turmeric is known for its health benefits and is thought to improve circulation and joint health!
If you’re feeling more adventurous, why not add a pinch of cayenne? This spicy powder is a thermogenic, meaning it helps to raise your body temperature slightly. This raise is thought to encourage more efficient burning of calories.
Want your smoothie a little more filling? Add a spoonful of oats to it! This bulks it out a little and gives you a nice slow-release energy component to keep you energised throughout the day.
Blend the oats before you add anything else. This will give them a nice powdery consistency, which blends much more smoothly into the rest of the ingredients.
Seeds make a great addition to smoothies, too. Chia seeds are a timeless favourite, or whizzing up a handful of mixed seeds like sunflower, poppy, lin and flax will give your smoothie a wholesome twist.
What Makes a Smoothie Healthy?
This blog post is about healthy smoothies, and you may be asking “hey – isn’t fruit packed with sugar?!”
So let us explain…
Fruit is packed with sugar, but research (like this from Harvard University) suggests that natural sugar from unprocessed fruit is less unhealthy than the processed sugars you’ll find in soft drinks.
Also, fruit and veg contain tons of fibre. This means you’ll feel full way before eating (or drinking, as we’re talking about smoothies) anywhere near as much fruit as you’d need to give you the same amount of sugar you’d get in a healthy drink.
The image below also shows that sugar from fruit leads to a slow, controlled rise in blood sugar (and, as a result, energy levels):
This isn’t to say that drinking smoothies is a magical shortcut to a healthy diet, because it isn’t. But they can be part of a healthy lifestyle, and the questions you ask about what makes a smoothie healthy are likely to lead to other changes in your diet.
As a rule, smoothies are healthy if they include:
- Fruit and vegetables
- A base that doesn’t have lots of sugar or fat
Smoothies do contain sugar but because it’s natural sugar from unprocessed fruit, it’s considered healthier than sugar and sugar alternatives found in other sweet drinks. Smoothies are not a shortcut to a healthy diet, but they can be part of one.
Healthy store-bought smoothies
As we’ve seen, homemade smoothies can be than store-bought ones because they include higher levels of natural sugar from unprocessed fruit.
One of the main pitfalls when buying pre-made smoothies is that they’re likely to be packed with sugar from processed fruit.
During processing, fibrous pulp is often removed from the fruit. This changes the way our body digests the sugar: instead of slow absorption throughout the digestive process, the sugar is absorbed quickly into your bloodstream.
This means that if you want a healthy store-bought smoothie, you’ll have to look carefully. Below is a screenshot of a great article from Eat This, Not That! which gives advice on what to look for and what to avoid:
So you can find healthy smoothies on store shelves, but you’ll need to look carefully at the ingredient labels to make sure they’re not trying to sneak a load of sugar past you.
Store-bought smoothies can be healthy but they’re far more likely to be packed with high amounts of added sugar.
Stay fresh 🍍
We hope our smoothie recipes have given you the inspo you need to have a healthy summer.
Let your creativity flow and don’t be afraid to experiment with interesting flavour combos. And if you come up with something really special, tag us on Instagram. We’d love to take a look.
Disclaimer: The information on the Leanbean blog does not constitute medical advice and should not be used as such. If you would like to learn more about your dietary requirements and related aspects of your health, speak with a registered medical professional.