Smoothies are popular beverages, but most of the recipes I see circulating are better defined as desserts…they often contain a lot of juice and sugar, not much fiber, and overall not the best ingredients.
I wanted to focus this week’s post on the best of the best: the most delicious, whole-food kinds of smoothies. All but #5 are naturally high in protein, and #’s 3-4 work great as detoxification support. All recipes here are packed with a variety of natural vitamins and minerals, nothing synthetic here!
Whether you are looking for the perfect whole food “sports drink,” a quick summertime breakfast option, kid-friendly summer snacks, or simply a cold and refreshing afternoon pick-me-up, check these out. Enjoy them! (And relax, they are really good for you!)
1. Cocoa, banana, and peanut butter smoothie. (my personal favorite.) Can be made dairy-free. This is one of the best sport drinks! High protein, high potassium, lots of bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and arginine, which supports healthy blood vessel function.
- 1 cup milk (you may substitute with unsweetened almond milk)
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder (use only raw, organic, unsweetened cocoa powder– most store-bought varieties are processed in a way that causes the cocoa to lose much of its health benefits)
- 2 tablespoons nut butter
- 1/2-1 frozen banana (may be substituted with 1/2 avocado if you don’t like bananas- keeps the potassium content)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- optional: a pinch of cinnamon or cayenne pepper to make the cocoa “pop”
- Blend all ingredients until smooth. Protein: 16.75g (based on 1 cup cow milk, 2 Tbsp nut butter and 1/2 banana) or 10g when almond milk is substituted.
2. Mango Carrot Smoothie
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1.5 tablespoons almond butter
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 3/4 cup fresh mango
- 5 ice cubes
Place all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth.
290 calories, 9g protein
This one boasts a high carotenoid content due to the mango. I recommend amending recipe to use plain yogurt with a few drops of vanilla extract, and a teaspoon of honey as an option.
This recipe includes spinach (and I recommend alternating with kale, to avoid the high oxalate content of daily spinach servings, read more on this topic from one of my previous blogs)
5. Green Sunrise Smoothie: makes several servings.
- 4 cups dark leafy greens (kale or spinach, best to alternate)
- 1 cucumber, diced
- ½ cup water
- 1 lime, juiced
- 4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 apple, cored and diced
- 1 orange, peeled
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 cup ice (optional)
- Put dark leafy greens, cucumber, lime juice, water into a high speed blender and blend for a minute.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, 100 calories – 2g protein
- 1 ½ cups 0% fat Greek yogurt, 195 calories – 34g protein
- ½ medium ripe banana, 50 – 0.5g protein
- ½ cup almond milk, 20 calories – 0.5g protein
- 2 teaspoons honey, 44 calories
- 1 cup crushed ice, or 1½ cups ice cubes
- Combine strawberries, Greek yogurt, banana, almond milk and honey in a blender container. Blend on high till smooth and creamy.
- Add ice cubes and blend on high for about one minute.Taste and add a bit of Stevia or sweetener of choice, if needed. Pour into two tall serving glasses and enjoy.
Notes about protein powders: I am often asked by patients which are the “best” protein powders to get. Most people don’t really need to use one, but if you are crunched for time and it helps you to make a quick and balanced smoothie meal, then they can be helpful. I recommend using a vegan-sourced protein for health reasons, especially pea protein. Following are 2 of my patients’ favorites: