5 Simple, Throw-Together Smoothies That Are Filling Enough for a Meal

Smoothies seem to be the poster child for “healthy eating,” and many people grab one as a substitute for breakfast or other meals. But without proper planning, it’s easy for that simple smoothie to fall short when it comes to nutrition.

As a dietitian, I’ve worked with so many clients who would tell me that they just blended fruit with water or almond milk and had that for breakfast. Then they’d end up feeling hungry shortly afterward and throughout the day too. Many of them would then eat more than felt comfortable at meals because they didn’t take in enough nutrients during the early hours.

Just to be clear, I’m not here to knock anyone’s smoothie game. I make smoothies regularly and think they can be a quick and easy way to fuel your body and mind while satisfying mealtime hunger—as long as you keep a few key points in mind. The good news is that if you love smoothies, they absolutely can be a complete meal with proper planning!

The first thing to keep in mind is whether or not your smoothie is robust enough to be considered a meal—meaning, is it comparable to what you’d be taking in for a meal not in smoothie form? Calorie needs vary widely based on a number of factors, so it’s difficult to give a set number to shoot for. Perhaps a more useful way to determine whether you’re hitting that benchmark is if your smoothie keeps you satisfied for at least three hours and contains a good amount of each of the main macronutrients. (More on the below!) I generally don’t recommend calorie counting, but if you have a history of dieting and restriction, having some awareness about calories can be helpful for making sure you’re not undereating. In that case, I recommend smoothies be a minimum of 400 calories if you’re having one as a meal.

Back to the macronutrients: You also want to make sure you’re incorporating a good source of carbohydrates, protein, and fat into every smoothie. Food groups work together to keep you satisfied until your next snack or meal, so a smoothie that allows you to take in a combination at once is going to be better able to sub as a meal. Pick at least one food from each category for a filling smoothie. (Also, feel free to add on some of your other favorites like leafy greens, cocoa powder, and spices for an extra kick!)

  • Carbohydrates: Any fruit, uncooked oatmeal flour, cooked butternut squash, cooked sweet potato
  • Protein: Yogurt/kefir, milk (dairy, soy, or pea), silken tofu, protein powder
  • Fats: Full-fat yogurt, avocado, nuts and seeds, nut butters

Now, if you’re not planning on making your smoothie your meal, you can be a little bit looser with these guidelines. If you’re just looking to enjoy your smoothie as a midday snack, something as simple as fruit blended with almond milk is totally fine.

Here are five simple smoothie recipes that I enjoy throughout the year—none with more than six ingredients, many of which you may already have in your pantry, fridge, or freezer. These recipes put everything you’ve read above into context. Just combine in a blender, blend together, and add water as needed to get the consistency you love the most.

1. Bright Green Mango Smoothie

  • 1 cup soy, pea, or dairy milk
  • 2 cups uncooked spinach
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds

Avocados add a layer of creaminess to this green smoothie. If you make it with frozen mango, you can enjoy it year-round, not only when the fruit is in season. Blend in some chia seeds for added fiber and protein.

2. Tangy Strawberry Smoothie

  • 1 cup soy, pea, or dairy milk
  • ¾ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup silken tofu
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • ½ banana
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds

Silken tofu is an excellent way to add an extra dose of protein to smoothies. It blends really well, making for a bright and creamy smoothie with summer flavor!

3. Bright Red Beet Smoothie

  • 1 cup soy, pea, or dairy milk
  • 1 medium-sized beet, peeled and cooked
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 tbsp. flaxseeds

Beets add a bright pop of color to smoothies and pair perfectly with berries, banana, and your favorite milk base. Sprinkle in some flaxseeds for a dose of omega-3 fats.

4. Sweet Potato Cinnamon Smoothie

  • 1 cup soy, pea, or dairy milk
  • ¾ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup cooked sweet potato or butternut squash
  • 1 small banana
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon

Sweet potato adds a subtle touch of sweetness to this satisfying smoothie, and the cinnamon gives it a kick of heat. Perfect for when the weather is cooler, this protein-packed smoothie will fill you up for a few hours.

5. Mixed Berry and Zucchini Smoothie

  • 1½ cups mixed berries
  • 1 cup uncooked chopped zucchini
  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. walnuts
  • ¼ avocado

Zucchini is another vegetable that blends really well and doesn’t have any weird aftertaste. Toss some walnuts into the blender for added omega-3s, protein, and fiber.

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