Healthy smoothies: Ingredients, tips, and recipes

Smoothies have the potential to provide a lot of nutrition in a single drink. However, it depends on the ingredients. With healthy ingredients, smoothies can be a part of a person’s eating plan for weight loss.

Store-bought smoothie varieties may contain higher levels of added sugar. Therefore, it can be more nutritious to make smoothies at home.

Around 42.4% of adults in the United States and approximately 19.3% of children and adolescents have obesity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that lowering the risk of overweight and obesity involves reducing the intake of calories from fats and sugars. WHO also recommends increasing the daily intake of foods such as:

Smoothies can be an easy way to get many of these healthy ingredients at once.

Read on for healthy smoothie ingredients, recipes, and more.

It is important to try to pack smoothies full of the nutrients the body needs. It is also good to include protein and good fats. This can help a person stay fuller for longer.

The following table provides examples of healthy smoothie ingredients to try.

It is important to check ingredients on labels where necessary to be sure they contain enough vitamins and nutrients to meet the recommended Daily Values. Other ingredient options include low fat ultrafiltered lactose-free milk, soy milk, and no-added-sugar peanut butter.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends keeping a stock of frozen fruit and vegetables to make smoothie-making simpler. Using frozen vegetables and fruit also eliminates the need to add extra ice to frozen varieties.

Read about healthy foods to eat every day.

Smoothie recipes tend to contain:

  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • nuts and seeds
  • liquid, such as water, milk, or plant-based milk
  • wholegrains, such as oats

This ties in well with healthy eating tips by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which include getting enough of the following nutrients:


Fiber helps maintain digestive health, stay fuller for longer, manage blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. Good sources include:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds

Calcium and vitamin D

Both nutrients are optimal for bone health. Good sources include:


This mineral supports kidney, heart, muscle, and nerve function, as well as helping to prevent high blood pressure, calcium loss in the bones, and kidney stones. Good sources include:

To make a smoothie, a person can place their chosen ingredients in a blender and blend.

The AHA provides recipes that may support people in managing metabolic health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. These recipes also take into account people seeking other health-related options, such as:

  • low sodium
  • low fat
  • low sugar
  • low cholesterol
  • low calorie

Here are a few of the AHA’s healthy smoothie recipes to try.

Tropical green smoothie

Servings: 2

  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • 1 tbsp of flax seeds
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1 medium orange
  • 3/4 cup of frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 2 cups of ice

Bluey smoothie

Servings: 2

  • 2 cups of frozen unsweetened peach slices
  • 2 cups of tightly packed fresh spinach
  • 1 cup of frozen, unsweetened blueberries
  • 1 cup of fat-free milk
  • 1 tsp of honey

Banana bread smoothie

Servings: 2

  • 2 medium bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups of ice cubes
  • 3/4 cup of fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of fat-free milk
  • 2 tbsp of rolled oats
  • 2 tsp of pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cinnamon (for garnish, optional)
  • 1 tbsp of finely chopped unsalted pecans or walnuts (for garnish, optional)

These recipes are in collaboration with nutrition experts. This means they meet science-based dietary guidelines and recipe standards for healthy eating plans. Not every smoothie recipe is an appropriate meal replacement. An individual can speak with a dietitian to learn more about smoothies as meal replacements and as a part of a balanced eating plan.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) states that it is important not to skip breakfast in an attempt to lose weight. This could result in a person being less active during the day, increasing their risk of weight gain.

The BDA’s guidance for a good breakfast includes a fiber-rich carbohydrate source, such as:

  • porridge oats
  • protein source, such as:
  • fruits and vegetables

These ingredients can all be suitable in a breakfast smoothie recipe.

Besides incorporating healthy smoothies into an eating plan, a person can try the following science-backed weight loss strategies.

It is important for people to speak with a healthcare professional before beginning any weight loss plan.

Intermittent fasting

A 2023 study tested intermittent fasting plus early time-restricted eating in people at risk for type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that advice about meal timing with longer periods of fasting resulted in greater improvements in glucose metabolism after eating.

Research shows intermittent fasting can be an effective way to manage obesity.

Learn more about intermittent fasting.

Tracking exercise

Research from 2016 notes that consistently keeping track of physical activity — for instance, using an app — can help a person lose weight.

This may be due in part to the ability of a person to see real-time weight fluctuations, giving them the ability to identify their individual strategies.

Find tips on fitness apps.

Mindful eating

One study from 2017 found that reducing reward-driven eating via a diet and exercise intervention that includes mindfulness training can support weight loss.

Mindful eating involves purposefully paying attention to the food being eaten moment by moment and without judgment. This helps a person focus on the eating experience and the sensual feelings of the food. It is to help individuals savor the moment and be fully present in the eating experience.

Learn about intuitive eating.

Eating protein

A study from 2020 reported that eating protein reduces body weight by increasing satiety and energy expenditure. It also increases a person’s fat-free body mass.

This increased satiety is associated with hormones that reduce hunger, including glucagon-like peptide- 1, cholecystokinin, and peptide tyrosine-tyrosine.

Learn how much protein a person needs each day.

Sleeping well

A study from 2022 shows a connection between inadequate sleep duration or timing and issues with appetite control, which leads to obesity.

The CDC states that adults 18 years and older need between 7–9 hours of sleep each night.

Learn why sleep is important for health.

Healthy smoothies for weight loss should include a variety of fruits and vegetables to support the body’s essential nutrient needs. They should also include protein-rich ingredients, such as nuts, seeds, and dairy or dairy alternative products, to help a person stay fuller for longer.

Healthy smoothie recipes for weight loss tend to include a combination of these nutrient-rich ingredients.

Other evidence-backed weight loss strategies a person can try include intermittent fasting, mindful eating, and tracking physical activity, such as through an app.

An individual can speak with a healthcare professional or nutritionist for guidance on eating plans for weight loss.