Smoothies are a super quick, easy, and healthy option for breakfast or snacks. but it can be overwhelming with so many recipes out there. You don’t always want to have to go out and buy new ingredients for each creation. So, I’m breaking down a super easy smoothie formula and shopping list, so you can stock your home with all the best smoothie bar essentials, and always be prepared.
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A smoothie is built from four basic types of ingredients, so that’s how we’re thinking about keeping your supply stocked: base, texture, flavor, and health.
The Best Blenders for Smoothies
The first thing you’ll need to get started is a good blender. I’ve used a fairly cheap one, and sometimes I would worry the motor will burn out. If you’re making just a few smoothies a month, nearly any mid-tier blender will do. But if it’s going to be a part of your daily routine, try something a little more upgraded.
Smoothie Bar Essentials: Base Ingredients
When I say base ingredients, I mean these are what gives your smoothie it’s main structure. That includes the milk and fruit. You can make a smoothie with just these two ingredients, but below I’ll add a few secret additions to make them even better.
First, choose your milk. I like to use unsweetened coconut milk, but other non-dairy alternatives like almond or oat milk also work really well. If you want the dairy, you can use regular cow’s milk as well.
When it comes to yogurt, you will want something plain and unsweetened in most cases. I like to buy a large container of coconut milk yogurt. You can also buy single serving packages for easier portioning. Plain greek yogurt, or non-dairy alternatives like almond milk yogurt work well.
You will also want to have a stock of fruit. It’s best to have a mix of fresh and frozen, since using only frozen ingredients can make your smoothie icy. I keep frozen bananas, which I peel and break in half before freezing, on hand all the time. Other favorites of mine include blueberries, strawberries, peaches, mango, and pineapple.
Better Textured Smoothies
I have a few secret ingredients that I always have on hand for making really creamy smoothies, even when they are totally plant-based. First, get some avocados. I like to use mini ones, since each is perfect for a single smoothie, but you can easily buy normal-sized ones and save half for the following day. These add almost no flavor, but so much creaminess to your smoothie.
Next, I love adding nut butter to my smoothies. My personal favorite is almond butter, but cashew butter, coconut butter, and peanut butter all work as well. I like to stick to one that’s unsalted with no added sugar. The oils in the nut butter will help create a texture that is silky instead of icy.
Last, you can add coconut cream. This is the solid part of coconut milk that is often at the top of the can, but these days it’s easy to find on its own. This will help thicken your smoothie, and add a creaminess with a subtle coconut flavor, which is great for tropical smoothies.
The Best Tasting Smoothie
If your smoothie has a lot of fruit, you likely don’t need additional sweetness. However, for some green smoothies, or if you are using unsweetened milk and yogurt, you may want to add sweetener. My favorite is coconut sugar, but date sugar and cane sugar can also work.
For any chocolate smoothie, you will need cocoa powder. I use a basic dutch-process, which I find adds a good chocolate flavor. You can also use cacao nibs, but I find they don’t mix in to the smoothie as well as powder.
Add a little more depth to the flavor with some fresh herbs. Mint and basil are my favorites, because I find they go exceptionally well with many of the fruit flavors. However, feel free to experiment with some others and see what flavor combinations you enjoy!
How to Make a Smoothie Healthier
Green smoothies are pretty popular, and it’s super easy to add greens to your own. I like baby spinach best, and tend to keep around a bag or two. Other options include kale, chard, beets greens, and more. Greens include a variety of nutrients, and most don’t add any noticeable flavor to your smoothies. It’s a great way to get your veggies!
To add a little protein to your smoothies, I like to use chia seeds. These also help with the texture, because they will help thicken your smoothie. They also include fiber, fatty acids, and more nutrients.
Last, keep some oats around. These also help add a thickness to your smoothie while having their own health benefits. Oats are a whole grain that are good for heart health and cholesterol. Plus they contain fiber and protein.
Smoothie Shopping List
Next time you pick up groceries, take this shopping list along with you, to be sure that you grab all the essentials for your home smoothie bar.
Quick Smoothie Ideas
With only these ingredients, you can make a huge variety of smoothies, and have something different every single day. Try out some of these and then experiment on your own to find your favorites.
- Blueberry Basil Smoothie: greens, frozen blueberries, frozen banana, basil, avocado, and milk of choice
- Chocolate Mint Smoothie: milk of choice, yogurt, cocoa powder, mint, greens, chia seeds, coconut sugar, and nut butter
- Pina Colada Green Smoothie: milk of choice, frozen pineapple, coconut cream, greens, and avocado
- Peach Oatmeal Smoothie: frozen peaches, milk of choice, oats, nut butter, and banana
- Tropical Smoothie: Frozen mango, frozen pineapple, banana, basil, coconut cream, milk of choice
- Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie: oats, cocoa powder, milk of choice, yogurt, nut butter, coconut sugar, and frozen banana