Nutrition

Meet Our Blueprint for a Nutritionally Balanced Smoothie

4 min read

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While we like to stick to the maxim that less is more, “go-to smoothie recipes” might be a rare exception—you really can’t have too many. (Part of the magic of smoothies and shakes is that they’re endlessly customizable, after all.)

But taste is just one factor in building a great smoothie, and when you’re playing around with so many different ingredients, it can be hard to know if your creation is truly balanced from a nutritional standpoint. That’s why we teamed up with our resident dietitian and VP of Scientific Affairs, Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD to create a versatile blueprint for a nutritionally balanced smoothie—something that would cover the bases of macronutrients and serving sizes, while still leaving enough wiggle room to play around with different flavors.

Meet the Blueprint

Smoothie Blueprint - How to Build a Nutritionally Balanced Smoothie

Let’s break it down.

Fiber-Rich Carbs

(1 cup)

Ingredients: Greens, frozen cauliflower, berries, banana

Why to include it: In addition to offering a spectrum of micronutrients and phytonutrients, veggies and fruits are also typically good sources of fiber—a type of plant-based carbohydrate that helps us feel fuller and more energized for longer, among other benefits. (1)

Pro tip: One pointer from Dr. Mastaneh? Consider shaking things up by adding different types of fruits and vegetables to target a broader spectrum of micronutrients and phytonutrients. A good rule of thumb: Phytonutrients are actually responsible for the pigments in different fruits and veggies, so try adding different colors of the rainbow. (2)

Protein

(1 scoop)

Ingredients: Essential Protein Daily Shake

Why to include it: Our bodies need a healthy balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). That includes quality sources of protein to support muscle maintenance as we move throughout our days. What do we mean by “quality?” A good rule of thumb is to aim for protein sources that are “complete,” or contain all nine essential amino acids at adequate levels. Essential Protein contains pea protein and l-methionine to create a complete amino acid profile that’s also plant-based. The creamy vanilla flavor is quite literally a sweet bonus.*

Pro tip: Essential Protein is also fortified with choline—which in addition to supporting brain and prenatal health, happens to be an L-Methionine helper nutrient.*

Cold liquid

(1 cup or as needed)

Ingredients: water, dairy-free milk, coconut water

Why to include it: You’ll need it to put the smooth in your smoothie. Plus, it’s a great way to potentially add a few more nutrients—like potassium if you’re using coconut water, or calcium if you’re using cow’s milk or calcium-fortified non-dairy milk.

Pro tip: Add a few ice cubes if you’re going for more of a milkshake texture.

Healthy fats

(2 tbsp)

Ingredients: nuts or nut butter, avocado, chia seeds

Why to include it: In general, incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into your diet is a great way to help support brain, heart, and eye health. (One caveat: There are different kinds of omega-3 fatty acids, and finding plant-based sources of omega-3 DHA can be tricky, which is why we include DHA sourced from microalgae in our multivitamins.)*

Pro tip: No one said you had to just choose one—in fact, adding a mix of both nuts and seeds can be a great way to diversify micronutrients and macronutrients.* (3)

With that blueprint in mind, you ultimately get to do you—blend accordingly and enjoy. And if you need a little recipe inspiration, consider three of our favorite combos:

AB&J Smoothie: milk + Essential Protein + spinach + almond butter + berries

Cookies + Cream Shake: milk + Essential Protein + frozen cauliflower + cacao nibs

Clean Green Smoothie: coconut water + Essential Protein + greens + avocado

References:

  1. Lattimer, J. M., & Haub, M. D. (2010). Effects of dietary fiber.... Nutrients, 2(12), 1266–1289.
  2. Phytonutrients in food. (2020). doi:10.1016/c2017-0-03527-9
  3. Publishing, H. (n.d.). Quick-start guide to nuts and seeds. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from Harvard Health Publishing.

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Meet Our Expert

This article features advice from our Science Team.

Science Thumb — Mastaneh

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, VP of Scientific Affairs

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. She received her training from Penn State University and University of Connecticut where she researched dietary patterns, chemosensory perception and community nutrition. Her dietetic work is focused on promoting healthy eating habits by translating the science of nutrition into practical information for the public.

Science Thumb — Mastaneh

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi, PhD, RD, VP of Scientific Affairs

Dr. Mastaneh Sharafi has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. She received her training from Penn State University and University of Connecticut where she researched dietary patterns, chemosensory perception and community nutrition. Her dietetic work is focused on promoting healthy eating habits by translating the science of nutrition into practical information for the public.

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