7 Signs of a Healthy Smoothie

There is no bigger fan of smoothies than me. I think they’re a fantastic way to pack tons of nutrients into one super-portable drink, perfect for an easy breakfast or an energizing afternoon snack. But too many “fast food” smoothies are a dieter’s nightmare, with hundreds of calories and more saturated fat than a cheeseburger!

I love making my own smoothies at home, and it’s easier than you think to get the hang of it and make it part of your daily routine. (I blend mine at night and grab them for breakfast the next morning). Here are my musts for making a health-boosting beverage that won’t pad your waistline:

Digest Diet Fan Favorite: Banana-Chocolate Smoothie

1. It has nonfat dairy

Calorie-bomb smoothies may use ice cream or full-fat yogurt, but non-fat yogurt or cottage cheese ensures that your smoothie gives a healthy dose of filling protein without adding excess calories.

2: It has real fruit

The problem with some grocery-store smoothies is that they are made with fruit juice instead of actual blended-up fruit. This means you’re missing out on a crucial opportunity for fiber, which takes longer to digest so you don’t get those hunger pangs an hour after eating. Use whole fruit, like a banana, mixed berries, an apple, etc., to give your smoothie a fiber boost.

3. It’s not afraid of veggies

Unless you’re already on board with the whole green juice thing, it may seem gross to add veggies to your smoothie. But nutrition superstars like spinach and kale are pretty neutral when blended into other ingredients.

4. It has omega-3s

A tablespoon of flaxseed meal goes a long way to add both fiber and inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids to your smoothie.

5. It has healthy fats

Another sign of a healthy smoothie is a little bit of unsaturated fat. The operative word is little, or else you’ll turn the smoothie into a diet disaster. Mix in half an avocado, say, or a tablespoon of a nut butter.

6. It tastes sweet—without added sugar

If the smoothie doesn’t taste good, there’s no point in drinking it. But you can achieve that sweet sensation without pouring in the buckets of sugar that many quick-service shops do. Use light coconut milk, coconut water, or water to add some liquid to the smoothie instead of fruit juices, which contain added sugar. You can also blend in a teaspoon or two of honey, a little vanilla extract, or some unsweetened cocoa powder or cinnamon.

7. It’s got plenty of ice

Research shows that people who drank dense smoothies felt fuller than those who had a thinner version even when the calorie counts were the same. The best way to thicken your smoothie without adding calories: ice.

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