10 Health Experts Name the One Smoothie They Can’t Live Without

Don't just dump a bag of Dole's into the blender. We've got the recipes you need.

October 14, 2021 7:17 am
Fruit smoothie against a colorful purple background.
What would be in your "desert island smoothie"?
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If you could only drink just one smoothie, what would be in it?

That’s the question we recently posed to several notable individuals in the world of healthy eating. Or, more specifically, we asked, “If you’re stuck on a desert island with a NutriBullet and a single recipe, what smoothie are you making every day for the rest of your life?”

Our deep, diverse panel — which includes chefs, authors, and the wellness adviser to an esteemed healthcare practice in New York City — came back with an array of ideas and recipes. Some were predictable (bluberries and kale), others were out of left field (mushrooms and espresso), and one of the recipes has helped an elementary school teacher turn her biometric markers around completely, giving her a new lease on life.

For many, smoothies exist somewhere between trifling and frustrating: they don’t fill you up, despite the fact that they far too often cost more than a sandwich. But if you can find a consistent and inexpensive at-home routine that works for you, it’s a dynamite way to add a burst of nutrition and fuel to your day.

In an effort to make that burst a bit more exacting — and a bit less “dump a bowl of Dole’s frozen fruit in there” — find 10 recipes below, alongside thoughtful explanations for each.

The Blueberry Standard

What’s in it: The ingredients include one and a half cups of milk, one cup of plain greek yogurt, two beets, one cup of fresh spinach, one frozen banana, one cup of frozen blueberries and one cup of frozen strawberries.

Why I swear by it: My favorite blueberry smoothie recipe only takes about seven minutes to make and is high in vitamin C and fiber — I would definitely have this smoothie every day for the rest of my life. It’s also filled with essential minerals like manganese and potassium, while offering a generous amount of protein from the greek yogurt. The fact that you also get spinach in the mix helps with skin, hair and bone health.

Jessica Randhawa, head chef and writer of The Forked Spoon

Got Kale?

What’s in it: My go-to smoothie includes one to two handfuls of chopped kale, two tablespoons of almond butter, one tablespoon of ground flaxseed, one scoop of collagen peptides, one-half cup of frozen mango and lots of cinnamon and turmeric.

Why I swear by it: I like to think of a smoothie recipe in parts that can be interchanged but hit the same nutrient goals. Every smoothie should have a greens base (kale), a healthy fat source (flax), at least 15 grams of protein (collagen and almond butter) and fruit to round out the taste (mango). Cinnamon and turmeric are what I call “optionals,” which add to the taste and offer powerful anti-inflammatory properties.This smoothie actually turns out a beautiful green color because of the mango, which psychologically make me so much more excited to drink it. Using fruits like blueberries, blackberries or raspberries mixed with kale can also make your smoothie a less enticing brown-ish color. Some wildcard ingredients to consider: maca, bee pollen, camucamu, spirulina, matcha or frozen cauliflower florets (which creates a creamier texture and adds fiber).

Taylor Fazio, registered dietician and wellness advisor at The Lanby, a members-only healthcare practice in NYC

Mediterranean Style

What’s in it: You’ll want one very ripe banana (sliced), one cup of ice, one cup of yogurt, two tablespoons of organic honey, one cup of strawberries and two tablespoons of flaxseeds.

Why I love it: The combination of creamy yogurt, nutty flaxseeds and sweetness from the banana and honey works so well. Sometimes I omit the honey, but that’s your call. Strawberries are a great way to get more fiber, vitamin C and healthy cancer-preventing compounds into your diet. Bananas are rich in vitamin A, B and E, making them powerful anti-aging agents. The presence of live cultures along with lactic acid, zinc and other minerals and enzymes in yogurt make it a great choice for improving skin condition. Flaxseed was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BCE and contains a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower cholesterol and improve one’s complexion. Finally, many people put greens in smoothies, I’d rather eat them in salads or sauteed with extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and chilies. Taste is very important to me in a smoothie, and if it is good for me and helps my appearance, even better. I would like to sit and sip this one, but I usually drink it really quickly because it tastes so good — either before or after a workout.

Amy Riolo, chef, TV personality, author of The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet

We Have the Powders

What’s in it: Every single day, I drink one cup of wild blueberries, one teaspoon of spirulina powder, one teaspoon of moringa powder, one teaspoon of wheat grass powder, one-half teaspoon of cordyceps powder, one-half teaspoon of lion’s mane powder, one-half teaspoon of chaga powder, half of an organic banana, one small piece of dulse seaweed, one scoop of Vega Vegan with greens protein powder.

Why I swear by it: I have been drinking this smoothie for over two years now and I have quantitative data that proves it has changed my life for the better.  I am a vegetarian and I am 41 years old.   My blood tests three years ago showed that I used to have borderline anemic iron levels, higher cholesterol and higher fasting glucose. For the last two years I am happy to report I no longer suffer from any of these markers in my blood.  My iron levels are normal for the first time in my life, my cholesterol is in a very healthy range and my fasting glucose is also normal. All told, this smoothie has become such a routine for me that I barely have to think about it. It’s improved my energy levels, my skin, my weight, my focus and my overall health. Pro tip? To make this easier on yourself, pre-blend both the green powders and mushrooms in separate containers.

Eva Petruzziello, yoga teacher, elementary school teacher, Editor-in-Chief at Simple n’ Delight

For Those with Crohn’s

What’s in it: In my smoothie, you’ll find green tea with lemon as a base, one frozen banana, about a quarter-cup of frozen fruit (mixed berries, pineapple, cherries, mango, grapes, melon), four stalks of celery and as much fresh spinach as I can fit into the blender.

Why I swear by it: As a person with Crohn’s disease, I’m often guilty of eating the same foods every day because I know they work for me. I drink this daily because it helps reduce bloating, provides prebiotic fiber to keep me regular and assist with gut health, and contains antioxidants for heart health, circulation, skin health, and inflammation. There are so many anti-inflammatory components of this smoothie that it’s hard to pick a favorite ingredient, but I love the lemon and green tea combination for skin health, the celery for bloating, and the banana for taste, thickness, and prebiotic fiber. You can definitely sip this smoothie slowly and just enjoy it.

Heather Hanks, nutritionist with USA Rx

The One with Cucumbers

What’s in it: My favorite smoothie contains one cup of kale, one cup of oat milk, one frozen banana, a half-cup of frozen pineapple, a quarter-cup of avocado, a quarter-cup of cucumber, one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and a half cup of ice.

Why I swear by it: All of these ingredients are incredibly nutrient-dense, and they contain a wide variety of vitamins, minerals to help you meet your daily goals for antioxidant and fiber intake. My favorite ingredient in this smoothie recipe is the cucumber. Cucumber isn’t often found in smoothies, but I love including it in this recipe because it gives this already frosty and delicious drink a light and refreshing feel and flavor.  I tend to lean away from using sugary juices in my smoothies. I believe that we can get the same delicious flavors and better nutritional benefits from using fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead. 

Kelsey Riley, writer at Planted in the Kitchen

Don’t Skimp on Taste

What’s in it: My favorite concoction combines almond milk, cacao, spinach, peanut butter, banana, strawberries and pea protein for a “chocolate-peanut butter and jelly smoothie.”

Why I swear by it: Raw cacao is my all-time fave smoothie ingredient I can’t live without. It gives a chocolatey, earthy, richness to my smoothies and is packed with antioxidants and a little kick of caffeine. As it’s usually unsweetened, I use the half-banana and berries to add some natural sweetness. Surprisingly, raw cacao is actually pretty high in protein, and you get protein from the nut butter and pea protein, which is my favorite vegan protein. Taste is huge to me. I like to enjoy sipping on my smoothies as I work or drive in the car. Smoothies that taste chalky and nasty just aren’t worth it.

Jody Braverman, NASM-CPT, NASM-FNS, certified personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist and weight loss coach

For Filling up the Stomach

What’s in it: My smoothie consists of oat milk, frozen fruit like blueberries, strawberries and peaches, frozen avocado, spinach, hemp seeds and a squeeze of lime.

Why I swear by it: These ingredients are full of antioxidants, vitamins (especially vitamin C), fiber and healthy fats. The squeeze of lime adds a bit of sourness and counteracts any strong taste from the spinach, while balances out the sweet fruits. My favorite ingredient, though, is the avocado. It’s high in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and protein. And thanks to its high fiber and protein content, it actually keeps you full. That’s something I always look for when making smoothies — I don’t want to be craving food soon after I eat. Avocados are also high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are known to help reduce cholesterol in the body. The ultimate best thing about adding it to a smoothie you generally cannot taste it. So if you want the benefits without having to bite into one, here you go.

— Laura Ritterman, Owner of Recipe Fairy

Mushrooms and Espresso?

What’s in it: You’ll need one shot of espresso, one teaspoon of golden milk powder, one teaspoon of maca, one teaspoon of mushrooms, a half tablespoon of nut butter, two scoops of vanilla protein powder, two scoops of vital proteins powder, one half-cup of ice, half a frozen banana, a dash of cinnamon, four to six ounces of oat milk or milk of your choice. Blend for 45 seconds.

Why I love it: This smoothie has very little sugar and lots of protein. My favorite ingredients are the golden milk powder and mushrooms, which are so healthy for you. Even if you don’t love the flavor of them normally, they taste great in this recipe. This smoothie legitimately tastes like a filling desert. Also, notice that I try not to use dairy (cows milk or yogurt) as most smoothies do. I think everyone should eat one vegan meal a day. It’s so easy to make that one meal a smoothie.

Sydney Golden, modern health guide, expert in alternative and holistic health services

Cottage Cheese > Yogurt

What’s in it: I always find my way back to my strawberry mango smoothie. It includes mangoes, strawberries, a banana, fresh-squeezed juice from navel oranges and cottage cheese.

Why I love it: The cottage cheese is to add protein. It’s such an underrated ingredient in smoothies because it adds creaminess without the tang of greek yogurt. As for fresh-squeezed orange juice — it tastes worlds better than store-bought, and it’s better for you too. Many people add a bit of sweetener to a smoothie such as honey or maple syrup. I generally try to avoid this because fruit is naturally so sweet. I’d rather my smoothie can be as nourishing as possible. 

Carolyn Truett, founder of Caramel and Cashews

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