Cooking Basics

How To Make a Satisfying Smoothie



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It’s time– I’ve needed to write an updated smoothie post for, oh, two years maybe??If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know I LOVE smoothies. Smoothies are my go-to breakfast, and I drink a smoothie the majority of the time for breakfast, for a few main reasons:

  1. They’re easy and quick.
  2. It’s an easy way to get in a TON of nutrients first thing.
  3. They’re filling (if you make them the right way).
  4. They’re delicious!

I think you probably know by now I’m all about satisfaction, simplifying healthy living and making it taste SUPER good- and I approach smoothies the same way.No choking down smoothies just because they’re healthy- I want my smoothie to be SATISFYING- which is part taste, and part satiety- I’m a busy mama, and I want my smoothies to keep me full (for at least three hours, please!).So today I’m sharing with you the ins and outs of HOW I create a smoothie that is (actually) SATISFYING. Ready? Let’s get blending!

Rather listen? Check out this #healthymamahacks episode of the Healthy Balanced Mama Podcast to listen to my satisfying smoothie hacks.


How to create a satisfying smoothie:

1) Liquid: liquid is, of course, necessary to blend up a smoothie! I use more if I want my smoothie drinkable (1.5-2 cups) and less if I want my smoothie to be thicker, more of a bowl (1/2-1 cup). You can use whatever type of milk or water you prefer- I don’t love using juice because it’s low in fiber (versus whole fruit) which can cause blood sugar imbalance. My personal favorite liquids:

  1. Califia toasted coconut almond
  2. Homemade nut milk
  3. Oat milk

2) Fruit: I love fruit in my smoothie, but I don’t go crazy with it. I look at fruit as being for flavor + nutrients but I want it to be blood sugar balanced- so often I see women adding multiple cups of fruit to their smoothies and wondering why they don’t fill them! It’s usually one of three things:

  1. Not enough protein (to balance the fruit)
  2. Not enough fiber. Fiber is fruit’s natural balancer, so it does have fiber- but often we need more to stay full (and if you use fruit juice as the base, which I don’t recommend you’re missing the fiber from the fruit there!)
  3. Too much fruit (throwing off your blood sugar- causing a spike and drop). This is different for everyone- there is no one size fits all amount. So experiment with how much fruit feels good for you, and the amount that actually keeps you full. I use around 1/2 cup in my smoothies.

3) Veggies: Of course I add veggies to my smoothies! Spinach is my go-to because it’s neutral, but I don’t mind it tasting a little green, so sometimes I’ll add kale as well. I also love adding frozen cauliflower rice and/or zucchini to make it creamy + add extra fiber without a ton of added fruit. And no- you can’t taste them!

4) Protein: Protein is essential for balancing your smoothie! Protein is the most satiating nutrient and it balances the sugar in the fruit (cool how that works, right?!). I typically use a protein powder (see below for my favorite protein powders) because they’re easy to keep on hand, but hemp seeds and greek yogurt are great options, as well (I also know people who use cottage cheese or silken tofu as protein in their smoothies!).

5) Fat: Fat rounds out the formula with flavor + mouthfeel. This can be from a nut or seed butter, fresh or frozen avocado, hemp seeds or full-fat coconut milk (I’ll do half coconut milk, half water otherwise it gets really thick!). Smoothies without fat just aren’t as delicious or filling!

Bonus add-ins: I love to add in bonuses to many of my smoothies- I consider these boosts, not essentials- some, though, I add in often because they’re easy, like spices or fresh herbs (mint is one of my favorites!), fresh or frozen ginger, vitamin c powder, probiotics, cacao powder (makes it taste like dark chocolate!), chia or flax seeds for extra fiber (make sure you add extra liquid if you use these) and the like. Experiment with what makes you feel good!

Five of my go-to smoothies:

As always, though I’ll give you an idea of how much of each ingredient I put in my smoothie, I want you to experiment with what feels and tastes good for YOU.

Blueberry Vanilla

  • ~1 cup Milk of choice
  • ~ 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • big handful spinach
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1 spoonful almond butter
  • few shakes cinnamon

Creamy banana smoothie bowl

  • ~1/2-1 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2-1 cup frozen cauliflower rice
  • big handful spinach
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1 spoonful almond butter
  • few shakes cinnamon

Chocolate Cherry

  • ~1 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • big handful spinach
  • 1 scoop vanilla or chocolate protein
  • 1 tbsp cacao power
  • 1 tbsp almond butter or 1/2 frozen avocado

PB + J

  • ~1 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup frozen berry blend
  • big handful spinach
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • 1 spoonful peanut butter

Mango Mint Mojito

  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk + water to thin
  • 1/3 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein
  • few mint leaves

Ok now that we have some ideas for what smoothies we’re going to make… let’s talk my personal smoothie must-haves.

My smoothie must-haves:

1) Blender: I get asked often what blender I use. This is the one I use— and yes, it is a little pricey (though, by Vitamix standards, it’s actually on the low end, I bought mine about four years ago). But this is the ONLY appliance I use EVERY single day, at least once, and my last Vitamix (this is my second) lasted me six years (second hand, so it lasted ELEVEN years) so the investment was well worth it, for me! I expect to have many more years of delicious smoothies with this baby. There are other blenders I know friends have had success with, like The Ninja ($80) and of course The Nutribullet ($49) We had one that we used for a while when my husband and I were both drinking smoothies every day- easier than cleaning the Vitamix twice (though we still do that often for sauces and soups!). I always buy my Vitamixes refurbished– they do a great job, they’re half the price of getting it new- and it truly is a great investment, if you do plan on blending things often!

2) Protein powder: This is the NUMBER ONE question I get asked about smoothies. I typically go with either a bone broth protein or a plant-based (usually pea) protein and I just look for simple ingredients, no artificial sweeteners (I’m ok with stevia and monk fruit). I’ve tried SO many, so here are my current favorites: Bone broth protein:


  • TB12 By far my favorite plant-based (it’s made from pea protein) for flavor and texture.
  • Amazing Grass GLOW is my runner up. It isn’t a huge tub, but it does have GREAT flavor (I get the vanilla honeysuckle) and texture.
  • Garden of Life Grain-free Also a small bag, but a solid protein powder.
  • Vega Simple This one has very simple, understandable ingredients which I love! It’s a good basic plant-based protein and you can get it at Target (but it only has
  • KOS Protein I recently tried this and like it! I prefer the chocolate, but the vanilla was pretty good, as well.

I often get asked why I no longer use whey protein: studies on whey and it potentially spiking blood sugar are inconclusive and as someone with PCOS I just tend to avoid it, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it if it feels good for you. My favorites that I recommend if you do like whey are SFH and Teras Whey.

3) Extras I keep on hand: Other than proteins, I love to keep a few items on hand to make my smoothies extra delicious and nutrient-dense!

Want a printable of the full formula + a handy shopping guide? Click below to download:

Frequently Asked Smoothie Questions:

1. Do your kids drink smoothies, too? Can they use protein powder?

Yes, but not as often as I do. They prefer a more ‘solid’ breakfast ????. For kids protein, I either use a bit of greek yogurt, kefir or Kidzshake!

2. Frozen cauliflower?? Eww. Can you taste it? Not all all! It blends right in (especially if you use cauliflower rice, which is pre-chopped!). It makes it creamy without needing four bananas. Of course, if it weirds you out- you don’t have to use it! But don’t knock it until you try it!

3. How do I make the protein powder taste less chalky?My best advice? Use a protein powder you love! There are a TON of options out there (see my faves, above)- you’re bound to find one with a texture you love! Also, use a nut or oat milk instead of water- it helps with texture!

4. It never blends smoothly- I don’t like having chunks of greens in my smoothie.

If you don’t have a high-speed blender, blend the greens with your liquid FIRST, then add the rest of the ingredients!

5. How do you get it to be a creamy bowl vs. a liquid?

Use less liquid, or more frozen fruit/veggies. Don’t use ice! I do sometimes use a couple pieces to make it extra cold, but it’s all about the liquid to frozen fruit/veggie ratio. I always add in about 1/2 cup liquid, then my greens, frozen fruit/veg, and protein/fat on top, blend as much as possible on medium using the Vitamix tamper (if you go too fast, it will melt the ingredients!) and add more liquid just as needed. This is why a graduated speed blender (like the Vitamix) is so helpful!

Whew! I hope that answered some of your burning smoothie questions! As always, if you have any more questions, feel free to reach out over on Instagram @healthymamakris! And don’t forget to download my satisfying smoothie template!

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