Friday, March 13, 2015

How to Build a Smoothie

Do you struggle with getting enough veggies in yourself or your family? A simple way to help your body get the veggies in for the day are smoothies. Maybe during the cold weather you weren't interested in smoothies, well now is great time to start them! 

The fiber and nutrients in the smoothie each day will give you energy and vitality! Since the blender breaks everything down, that makes a smoothie a perfect first daily meal since it's easy on the digestive tract. It's fast and easy to put together if you are just running out the door as well!

The important part is knowing how to build your smoothie. You need a few factors to be aware of:

1) Nutrition: you'll want a good selection of veggies and fruit; more veggies than fruit, especially leafy greens; that's the bonus of a smoothie, getting all of those nutrients in easily; 2-3 handfuls of leafy greens; also rotate your greens in your smoothies for optimal nutrition, that's really important. Too much of a good thing can turn bad, think wide variety.

Do not limit yourself. Try all different fruits and veggies in your smoothie. Keep in mind some are better cooked a bit first. Use fresh and frozen.

For leafy greens try: kale, baby spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, Swiss Chard, bok choy, or lettuce. Always buy your greens organic, they are heavily sprayed with toxic herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides.

Have some fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro in the fridge, throw them in there! Herbs are super cleansing and good for you! 

To sneak in even extra vitamins and minerals, you can try superfood powders. These include a multitude of dried greens like kale or broccoli, as well as foods like Camu Camu, goji berries, and often probiotics and enzymes too, all good for digestive health. Make sure it's certified gluten free if you are sensitive. Do NOT do superfood powders if you are allergic to grasses. There's usually quite a bit of them in there, so do avoid them if that is the case for you. I really like Healthforce Nutritionals Vitamineral Green, Ormus Greens, and Green Smoothie Girl

I add 1-2 tbsps of organic unrefined coconut oil in mine for healthy fat, detoxification, and fat burning. 

2) Taste: understanding what flavors compliment each other is helpful; Everyones tastes are different though. 

Know berries are great for flavor, but not sweetness. Tropical fruit like bananas, mango, and pineapple have more natural sugar, and it doesn't take much of those. 

I also like dates, a little raw organic local honey, and organic liquid stevia. Go for fruit to sweeten though when possible for the fiber. Fiber slows down that sugar release in the body. 

It's also fun to include other items for flavor like organic raw cacao (raw chocolate powder), organic ground cinnamon, ginger root or organic ground ginger, organic ground cardamom, or organic ground pumpkin spice. 

3) Texture: So most people want their smoothie a little creamy. Good add ins are bananas, avocado, nut butters, chia seeds (awesome nutritional bonus for fiber, calcium, and omega 3 fatty acids), whole organic coconut milk, whole organic coconut cream, and fresh coconut meat/flesh.

4) Liquid Base: You can really get creative here, but a liquid is definitely needed for all to move in the blender. My favorite is water because it's always there and it's inexpensive. 

You can also use milk, dairy based or not. Keep in mind store bought non-dairy milks have a lot of yucky additives unless they are homemade. I will use whole, organic store bought coconut milk by Native Forest. Whole Foods has it, but you can buy it cheaper here

If you go for a dairy based milk choose raw, grass fed if you can, and if not, grass fed, whole fat, only pasteurized (never homogenized and ultra pasteurized. Read why here.) You can also use organic, raw coconut water, or even herbal tea. 

5) Protein: So unless you are a wizard at combining just the right amounts of amino acids with your fruits and veggies, you'll need to add a protein if this is a meal replacement. 

My three favorite protein choices are hemp seeds, grass fed gelatin + raw almond butter, and Green Smoothie Girl Protein Powder. 

I love my Green Smoothie Girl Protein Powder because it's USDA organic, gluten free, sugar free, soy free, vegan, Paleo friendly, and raw. So it's completely junk free and only has 3 ingredients: pea protein, hemp protein, and Maca root! You can get it here.

6) Blenders: Well the most important thing is that you have one! I have a Vitamix and I love it. You'll never buy another blender again. A Vitamix is in a class called high speed blenders. All parts, labor, and customer service are sourced in the USA, if that kinda thing matters to you.

No, a Ninja or even a NutriBullet are not high speed blenders, they are good choices, but not high speed, no matter what anyone tells you. 

Another high speed blender is the Blendtec. My close friends have one and love it. 

Just make sure you have a blender. The biggest difference is with smoothies on a regular basis, you may burn out your regular blender. 

Hope that simplifies things for you and doesn't complicate them. Just throw stuff in the blender, experiment, and have fun! So proud of you for trying to eat well!

Helping you to be a good steward of your health! ~Marie A. Ligorria, HHC

Ladies, need help getting healthy? Need a friend, accountability partner, a helping hand to get your gut right? Check out my health coaching options here.

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  1. This is definitely one of the ways I get a lot of veggies into my diet everyday, especially since I can get too lazy or busy to cook every single meal. I've had all the NutriBullet models and have been able to make smoothies just fine. Now I have a NutriBulletRX which has a speed of 1700 and it liquifies everything. I love my Arbonne chocolate protein powder to add to my shakes and sometimes I add my homemade kefir.

  2. Great breakdown on how to build a smoothie. I have learned to deeply appreciate nutrients that are easily digested and gentle on the GI tract. You give some wonderful options that anyone can benefit from. To be honest, my level of creativity hinges on how busy I am, some days I just focus on nutrients and not taste, but some days I try to craft the "ultimate" smoothie. I will definitely keep in mind these tips! <3

  3. I love experimenting with different ingredients with smoothies. They are such a great way to get in everything our bodies need. Great breakdown on how to construct a smoothie. It sounds like the building blocks to make a perfect balance of what nutrients we need!

  4. I am a huge fan of green smoothies but haven't been fond of veg heavy smoothies. Do you have any recipes that don't require an acquired taste?

    1. Hi Marian,

      I think using gentle tasting greens like baby spinach and not forgetting the tropical fruit make a huge difference.

  5. Great breakdown on how to construct a yummy smoothie! I love that you can really create a warming or cooling sensation with ingredients- makes is perfect to drink smoothies all year long! THanks for this!

  6. Great info to make a great smoothie concoction! I recently started using grass fed gelatin and I really like it! I like how you give different options in each category. I fugured out that whey protein wasn't agreeing with me, so different options for different people is always a good thing!

  7. Thanks for this great post. I love how you break down the smoothie and the benefits of each step, green choices, fruits, and blender source. I'll be sharing this with my healthy community. Thanks!

  8. Smoothies are daily nourishment in our house --- great for quick breakfast and nutritious for afterschool refueling for my kids. I love your tips and tricks. Great info. Fun read and friendly! Thanks.

  9. Hi Marie! Would the protein powder from Green Smoothie Girl would be appropriate for Aidens age? We're looking at it mostly for Marc & I. But I was just wondering what you thought! Thanks!