What Makes a Smoothie Unhealthy?

What Makes a Smoothie Unhealthy

Photo by pandaposse

The simple answer is the inclusion of unhealthy ingredients. It’s not too difficult to identify an unhealthy diet – it’s one comprised mainly of unhealthy foods. The same goes for smoothies. After reading this blog post I’m confident you’ll be able to discern between healthy and unhealthy smoothies with ease.

First, I will attempt to cover all the things you don’t want in your smoothie, which cause the scale to tip in favor of unhealthy. Then I will list the healthy ingredients, and in doing so show you that creating healthy smoothies is actually pretty easy.

A quick note before moving onto the unhealthies. Most restaurants, chains, venues, and large events serving smoothies generally lean towards the unhealthy. For example, last summer I attended a major league baseball game and got quite excited when I saw a sign for smoothies. Much to my dismay, the so-called smoothie was nothing more than sugary slush.

Unhealthy Smoothie Bases

We’ll start with the liquid base of your smoothieand what you want avoid like the plague.

Sugar laden fruit juices: Most fruit juices sold in super markets are nothing more than flavored sugar water.

Regular milk: Store bought milk (whether skim, 1%, 2%, or whole) comes from cows that are often mistreated, given hormones and antibiotics, and over milked. Chalk and pus have also been detected in the milk.

Tap water: Recent studies have revealed a plethora of undesired substances in regular old tap water. This includes, but is not limited to, trace amounts of pharmaceutical drugs, lead and arsenicperchlorate (a toxic chemical found in rocket fuel), sucralose, and many other man-made chemicals.

Most bottled water: Most mainstream bottled water is nothing more than glorified tap water. Pepsi even admitted that Aquafina comes from tap water. For the definitive story on bottled water I highly recommend the documentary Tapped.

Unhealthy Smoothie Ingredients

Now onto the list of smoothie ingredients that I wouldn’t add into my blender if you paid me. An exhaustive list isn’t practical, but I’ll hit on the more obvious offenders.

  • Ice cream and sherbet
  • Chocolate syrups and powders – think Nestle
  • Sugar as a sweetener
  • Agave nectar – why
  • Most store bought honey – why
  • Non-organic peanut butters (Jif, Skippy, Smuckers)
  • Cheap protein powders – why
  • Chocolate pudding mix
  • Cool Whip or whip cream
  • Cream soda

At the end of the day, just use a little common sense in determining what not to add to your smoothie.

How To Make Your Smoothie Nice and Healthy

Now that you know what not to add to your smoothies, let’s get to what you can toss in the blender to make the healthiest smoothies ever! Instead of using the word organic over and over, I’ll mention here that using organic ingredients is always in your best interest. I realize this isn’t always possible and don’t beat yourself up over it. At the very least try to avoid the “Dirty Dozen“.

Healthy Smoothie Bases

Fresh juice: There’s nothing better than using fresh juice, whether from a juicer or squeezed.

Raw milk, almond and coconut milk: If you’re not lactose intolerant, raw milk is a great option. Almond milk and coconut milk (and water from young/Thai coconuts) are great to use too. I didn’t include soy milk because there’s evidence soy isn’t the health food it’s been marketed as, see here and here for reasons why you should avoid soy.

Good water: This includes water run through a good filter, legitimate bottled water (Spring Mountain, Starfire), distilled, purified, and the best option spring water. To locate spring water where you live, check out Find a Spring.

Tea: Using a healthy or medicinal tea can really improve the nutrition of your smoothie. In some circles “elixir” is the term used to designate these drinks.

Fermented beverages: Kefir (milk and water), kombucha, and Hindu lemonade. These are all extremely healthy options, especially when homemade.

Healthy Smoothie Ingredients

There may be some things on the list below that you’re not familiar with, don’t worry, in future recipes and posts I’ll explain why each ingredient is good for your health and a welcome addition to your smoothie.

  • Fresh and frozen fruit
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Yogurt (organic, Greek, homemade)
  • Superfoods (cacao, maca, aloe vera, goji berries, spirulina, etc)
  • Herbs and spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cayenne, mint, etc)
  • Local and/or organic honey
  • Local and/or maple syrup
  • Stevia
  • High quality protein powders
  • High quality superfood green powders
  • Hemp seeds and hemp protein
  • Raw nuts and nut butters
  • Various coconut products (shreds, flakes, raw meat, oil, butter)
  • Chia seeds and chia seed gel
  • Flax seeds and oil
  • Oatmeal
  • High quality salt (Celtic sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, Redmond salt, etc)
  • Gelatin
  • Colostrum
  • Medicinal mushroom powders
  • Chinese herbs
  • Mineral supplements

As you can see there’s quite a few ingredients available to make healthy smoothies. The number of different concoctions and recipes is endless. Once you get the basics of smoothie making down, you can experiment and come up with your own favorite recipes.

I hope you found this information both informative and actionable. After all this talk of smoothies, I’m off to the kitchen to create my next masterpiece.

Please leave a comment below as I’d love to hear what you think of my “good” and “bad” list of smoothie ingredients.


311 Responses to What Makes a Smoothie Unhealthy?

  1. Lori #

    Great info! ESP the healthy stuff!

    • Ryan #

      Thanks, Lori! There really is no shortage of healthy option to blend into your smoothies.

      • Ashley #

        Do you ever make your smoothies the night before? I work 13 hr shifts so it can be hard to get up early enough to make them. Thanks!

        • Ryan Carmody #

          Yes, I occasionally make my smoothies the night before and many other people do as well, usually to accommodate a work schedule.


        • Kiley #

          I make 4 smoothies at once and have them ready for easy access in the a.m. We love having half fruit, the rest khale and spinach topped off with low fat yogurt. In a.m. We add a little fluid and crushed ice.

        • Bianca #

          Yes,I make a big batch and put it in the fridge. Just don’t put ice in it( it melts) it’s thicker in the morning and I thin it with almond milk

        • Esther #

          I make mine the night before whenever I am working, which is 5 days er week. This is mainly cos I get up so early for work that I would wake the household with my blender noise!! I find I often have to I add a bit of extra fluid the following morning as it tends to thicken overnight but that may just be what I have added to it in the first place. I do also find that depending what fruit and veg etc I use, I can make them up to two days in advance, but anything more than that and things seem to ferment. Hope that helps 😀

      • Robin Freeman #

        What is wrong with agave nectar? You have it listed as unhealthy.

    • fiona #

      Thanks so much I just started having smoothies n u just told me how im making them is healthy so thank u

      • Ryan Carmody #

        You’re welcome, Fiona :)

    • tim #

      I keep it simple. Almond milk as base, then a mixture of fruits and veggies. Simple, healthy, tasty. No need for the sugars and shit

    • Barbara-Ann #

      I am concern as I have a fresh healthy smoothly each morning however, the gym instructor insist that the goodness of blended together fruit automatically turns the fruit into a unhealthy one because of the natural sugar contents in the fruit.
      Where as one would benefit more by eating fruit separately throughout the day.
      Hence, the reason why I may be putting weight on……

      • Ryan Carmody #

        Hi Barbara-Ann,

        Fruit smoothies can have too much sugar. By sticking to berries and avocado you can easily avoid this pitfall. An all fruit smoothie containing a banana, pineapple, mango, and orange juice is an example of what I call a sugar bomb. Incorporating some sweet fruit isn’t a problem, but don’t go overboard.


        • Joe #

          Sugar Bomb? I thought I was doing myself good here. I also make myself a tall cup of fruit smoothie every morning for breakfast. My main ingredients, mix and match, are always Bananas, blue berries, rasberries, oranges and mangos. Then I throw some grape nuts or plain cheerios in the blender to give it some crunch.

          I have been doing this for about 3 months now. Is this not good for me?

          Thank you,

          • Joe #

            P.S. One other fruit I mix in daily are strawberries. Everything is frozen except for the bananas. I freeze them myself.

            I am not doing this for weight control since I am already lean. Just doing it to have a healthier breakfast.

            Please let me know if I am doing myself harm using these combined fruits.

            Thanks again

            • Joe #

              Sorry…….I also put in 3 scoops of yogurt and 1% lactose free milk.

              To sum it up. My main ingredients, mix and match, are always Bananas, blue berries, strawberries, rasberries, oranges and mangos. 3 scoops of yogurt and some 1% milk.Then I throw some grape nuts or plain cheerios in the blender to give it some crunch.

            • Ryan Carmody #

              Hey Joe,

              You are over doing a bit with the sweet fruit. Although, this is still much healthier than the breakfast most people consume. Simply scale back the sweet fruit. Try using either banana, orange, or mango. The berries are fine, you really can’t overdue it on those. Try a little avocado too.


            • Joe #

              Ryan, Thanks for the tip. I will scale back on the sweet fruits and will also try the avocado.


          • Johnne` #

            Hey! Don’t freak out. Just make sure you’re keeping the measurements the same. For example, my go to smoothie is:
            1 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup almond milk, half a banana, and 1 cup frozen strawberries.
            If I wanted to incorporate maybe mangoes one morning, I would still do 1 cup of frozen fruit. So 1/2 cup mango and 1/2 cup strawberry. :) Hope this helps!

        • julie hogenson #

          Dog-gone informative site, great questions and commets! But, yeah, your “sugar bomb” comment startles me a bit, and may be slowing any progress? My smoothie base is usually water, spinach, banana, frozen strawberries and blueberries, with yogurt or more recently egg whites. Then probably an orange or apple or lemon or grapes, hopefully avocado…I’m making for two, and usually end up with four…leftovers are okay, correct? There is also cocao powder, cinnamon, apple vinegar and maybe some superfood powder (What’s best?…greens?) . That’s what brought me to you, superfoods, specifically greens. So, I don’t know how new or old this site is, but I hope for some great answers like these others!!

          • julie hogenson #

            PLUS almond milk…chocolate…cause it’s never liquid enuf…and probably ice cubes to make it colder.
            thanks again

            • julie hogenson #

              Shoot! Sorry. I grind my own almonds and hemp seeds, as well. But again, I don’t measure anything…..am i on the right track?

            • Ryan Carmody #

              You’re on the right track, Julie! As you read and mentioned in your comment, be careful of using too much sweet fruit. You’ll know when you overdo it. One banana provides plenty of sweetness; so eliminate the other sweet fruit or reduce to 1/2 banana and perhaps 1/2 apple. Leftovers are great! I like to rotate the superfood powders to increase effectiveness and save money. Here are the green superfood powders I recommend:


    • Dedrea Boyce #

      Thanks so much for the info

      • Ryan Carmody #

        You’re welcome, Dedrea.

    • Rita Posthuma #

      great info. just one question. what quantities should i use for one smoothie please

      • Ryan Carmody #

        All of the actual recipes on my site specify the quantity of each ingredient to use.

    • Steph #

      Thanks I am addicted to fresh fruit smoothies and needed to know what was right and not right to add

      • Ryan Carmody #

        You’re welcome, Steph. Glad to support your healthy addiction :)

    • viji #

      Information is really awesome!!! ESP

    • Michael #

      Sorry to burst your bubble but smoothies made from whole fruits are not good for you. They are loaded with sugar—sugar is sugar whether it’s from a bag or from fruit. When you ingest whole fruit, the sugar is encapsulated within the fiber–hence, the sugar is slowly released into the system. When you make a smoothie, you rip apart the fiber, thus letting out the sugar–the end result? Your liver gets hammered with this huge influx of sugar–and your liver’s response is to store FAT!!! Skip the fruit smoothies–eat whole fruit.

      • Ryan Carmody #

        I appreciate your comment and concern, Michael. I’ve written extensively about limiting the sweet fruit in your smoothies to prevent what I call sugar bombs. That’s the number one problem I encounter with smoothies. I also advocate well rounded smoothies with ample fat to prevent the sugar from being absorbed too fast. I have to disagree with your statement that sugar is sugar. Sugar from fruit is natural, whereas tables sugar is product of industry.

        • Thanks for this article Ryan and I agree, it’s good to use minimal fruit but even still, a fruit smoothie will always be the lesser of two evils of say a processed pop tart or McDonald’s breakfast, Starbucks pastries, etc.. I love my fruit smoothies to replace a couple meals throughout the day, & the info & advice you gave is very helpful. Thanks again :)

      • Tracey #

        There’s sooo much conflicting info. I make a huge smoothie, every morning. I use a ton of Kale, Red Cabbage and Swiss Chard (sometimes I switch up the greens), I add some low glycemic load frozen fruit and I add protein powder, Green Vibrance, unsweetened almond/coconut milk, some flaxseed and a tbsp of nut butter, and two tbsp of ACV – the added protein and fat slow the release of sugar into the blood stream. Just because you blend up fruit doesn’t mean the fiber leaves the fruit. Juicing removes the fiber….and smoothies aren’t the same as juicing. My liver is fine, and my blood work always comes back great.

        Most people add too much fruit to smoothies, because they want something that tastes like candy (I like to taste the “green” in my smoothies),so they add 3 green leaves to 4 cups of high-glycemic load fruit, and think they’re doing something….and they try to drink smoothies as a meal replacement, with no added protein or fat…they’re hungry in an hour. Protein and fats are satiating. My smoothies in the morning are at least 500 calories, because I eat them in place of a traditional breakfast. They fill me up and keep me going…I could go late into the afternoon, if I had to.

        • Ryan Carmody #

          Perhaps the best comment ever left on my site, Tracey :)

          • julie hogenson #

            Cool! I’m not VERY far off, I don’t think!!

    • Mike #

      My fruit smoothie is made with 1 small green apple, 1 small nectarine, 8 red cherries. 12 raspberries. 12 black berries, 20 blue berries, spring water.

    • Tim #

      Smoothies should be 75% dark leafy greens and 25% fresh fruit.

      My daily smoothie: Spinach (alternates daily with collards and kale), celery, carrots, apple, frozen unsweetened mixed berries, frozen banana, couple of dates and prunes, two table spoons of ground flax seeds.

  2. Smoothies #

    Really you can include so many different healthy, nutritious foods in a smoothie. Thank you for posting these recipes!

    • Ryan #

      You’re quite welcome for the recipes, posting them is my pleasure. The number of healthy things you can add into your smoothies is practically endless…which certainly keeps things interesting if you ask me :)

      • Demetria #

        Thank u for healthy smoothie tips bad and good.

      • AVNEESH #

        Ryan I make Banana, Papaya and yogurt smoothie and some ice cubes. … can I make it a night before keep it it fridge for consuming next morning ?

        • Ryan Carmody #

          You sure can, AVNEESH.

      • Michelle #

        Hi there… what about coconut water? Does that have too much sugar?

        • Ryan Carmody #

          Coconut water does not have too much sugar and is fair game, Michelle.

  3. kate #

    What about organic yogurt? I’ve also considered it as a healthy addition, especially as it adds protein, calcium, etc. What do you think?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Kate, absolutely, organic or homemade yogurt is definitely a healthy ingredient. Leaving that off the list was an oversight on my part. I just added it above. Cheers! Ryan

  4. Erica #

    Omg… I was super excited about recently starting my green smoothies, and then I found your website. You have so much great healthy information here! I will be trying several of your recipes. Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! :)

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hey Erica,

      Awesome to hear you’ve jumped on the green smoothie train :) I hope you enjoy all of my recipes.


  5. Louis #

    Good info but this is sort of demoralizing. It’s expensive to buy the neccessary ingredients for a smoothie to be considered healthy, i’ve been using fat free milk. Since I started drinking fruit smoothies I have more energy and lost a bit of weight as well. So how can they be so unhealthy the way I am doing it yet i feel great.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Louis,

      Like with anything in life you have to do the best you can. Many of the healthy ingredients are expensive, while others aren’t so much.

      More energy and weight loss from consuming smoothies is great! I don’t know that your smoothies are terrible unhealthy, although fat free milk isn’t the best option. The benefits you derive from smoothies are relative to your body and current level of health. Try replacing a few unhealthy ingredients with a couple healthy ones and see if your results are that much better.


  6. Great article. I just wanted to add one thing, you answer your question incorrectly at the top of the article. The simple answer is the exclusion of unhealthy ingredients. I think you mean the inclusion of unhealthy ingredients. Thanks…keep up the good work.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hey Jerry, thanks for pointing out that mistake, just got it updated. Cheers!

  7. Jane #

    Wow…thanks for the info on Agave nectar! Was going to use it as my sweetner, but not any longer!!

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Glad I was able to prevent you from using agave nectar, Jane. I wouldn’t want my worst enemies to consume it ;)

  8. Glendar #

    You mentioned high quality protein powders, and green powders. Will you please give suggestions as to which ones are healthy.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hey Glendar,

      I’m referring to the products I’ve personally researched and used myself with success. You can find them on the Resources page under Protein Powders and Green Superfood Powders:



  9. Wynelle #

    Hi Ryan,

    Thank you for the valuable info. I have seen so many different opinions about what foods are healthy for smoothies and which foods are not! For example one smoothie expert says bananas should be avoided like the plague, but apple seeds are okay in balanced quantities. (number of seeds per ratio to the apples used) while another says avoid using the seeds completely. Another guru says to rotate our greens (which makes sense), while my seeds championing guy also says to use the pith that surrounds citrus fruits as it is chock full of nutrients! He is a “food for healing” nutritionist. If you are interested in his web site please let me know. Smoothie making is science within itself! But I am so excited to be a part of it! I love your blog! Keep up the good work Ryan!

    • Jane #

      Hi Wynelle,
      I’m curious….can you please tell us why one smoothie expert you know says to avoid bananas like the plague? I use them quite often for flavor, and I’d really like to know if I’m shooting myself in the foot with them!

      • Wynelle #

        Hi Jane,

        You can google Jeff Primack to go on his website for his food healing protocols, also to see his food healing teaching videos on You Tube if you are interested in his philosophy. His main complaint about bananas is that they cause the body to retain unhealthy fats I believe. I rotate them in my smoothies, as I believe just as the soil remains healthy when crops are rotated, so do our bodies benefit when we rotate our foods. As Ryan states in his blog, there are several food sources to use as the base in smoothies! I do agree though that bananas really blend well in smoothies! Balance and moderation is my goal. We should be able to enjoy all of natures bounty if we maintain a healthy balance in our usage. Thank you Ryan for letting me comment to Jane!

        • Ryan Carmody #

          Hi Wynelle,

          Thanks for the kind words about my site and for adding valuable information to the smoothie discussion. I actually listened to a podcast featuring Jeff Primack about a year ago on One Radio Network (awesome site BTW). If I’m not mistaken he also advocated blending avocado pits if you have a powerful enough blender. Some of Jeff’s ideas are a bit unorthodox, but he might be onto something.

          Regarding bananas, and all food in my opinion, balance and moderation are indeed key. Also pay attention to your body, and if you suspect a food isn’t right for you or you’re consuming too much of it, odds are you need to back off.

          Avocados and chia seed gel are my favorite smoothie thickeners, but I still use bananas occasionally.


          • Lili #

            I only put frozen strawberries and frozen blueberries and blended that with purified water. Is that healthy?

            • Ryan Carmody #

              That’s what I call a super simply smoothie, and yes, it’s healthy, Lili.

  10. Karen #

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for all the wonderful information you pass on, oh and of course the smoothies info as well. lol
    Have just started using a product called – No-Cal to replace sugar in my diet. Can you tell me if this is a healthy alternative instead of other sweeteners. I have tried Stevia and can’t stand the aftertaste.
    Thanks again


  11. Karen #

    Hi Ryan,

    It looks like an Australian site. The link for it is:

    Your opinion would be appreciated.



    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Karen,

      To my surprise this actually looks pretty good. I’d have to try it myself before recommending, but I don’t see any issues with it. “It is made from Erythritol, a sugar alcohol which occurs naturally in some fruits and fermented foods. Erythritol is made naturally from sugar.”


  12. Karen #

    Thanks Ryan,

    It sure tastes better to me than Stevia. Thank you for your help



  13. Daisy Lou #

    Hi there, very interesting stuff. I love homemade smoothies – my favourite is mango (about 80%), banana, lemon/lime juice and a little root ginger ……… yum yum :-p

    • Ryan Carmody #

      That sounds delicious, Daisy Lou. There are a few similar recipes on my site.


  14. Tracy #

    Hi I’ve been told fruit smoothies have too much sugar in them is this true..

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Tracy,

      Yes, fruit smoothies can have too much sugar. By sticking to berries and avocado you can easily avoid this pitfall. An all fruit smoothie containing a banana, pineapple, mango, and orange juice is an example of what I call a sugar bomb. Incorporating some sweet fruit isn’t a problem, but don’t go overboard.


      • Jean H #

        So a smoothie containing low fat vanilla, rasberry yogurt, banana, strawberries, and 1percent milk is a sugar bomb?

        • Ryan Carmody #

          Borderline sugar bomb depending no how much sugar is in the yogurt and milk.

          • Mable lane #

            I make all frozen fruit smoothie’s every morning. I use 2%milk,or whole plain yogurt, or vanilla yogurt. Some mornings I use orange juice instead. Are you saying all fruit smoothie’s are a sugar bomb?

            • Ryan Carmody #

              That’s exactly what I’m saying, Mable. Too much sweet fruit and juice is too much sugar.

  15. Rey #

    It is the fruit Smoothies that seem to keep my family interested incorporating the Smoothies into everyday life. WE usually have fruit Smoothies once a day. They usually consist of a fruit, a juice, a veggy and sometimes additions like coconut oil or stevia, lemon or lime juice, herbs like mint.

    strawberries, natural fruit juice, spinach

    Pineapple, pineapple juice, spinach, coconut oil

    These sound like the sugar bombs that you are describing. However, the Smoothies are helping to ensure that we consume the recommended number of fruits and veggies.

    We usually have this in the morning.

    Would you recommend against our Smoothies.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Rey,

      The two recipes you provided aren’t bad at all. Although most natural fruit juice is loaded with sugar as is pineapple juice. Can you substitute with water? At the end of the day it’s much more important that you and your family are consuming healthy smoothies, even if a little high in sugar, than nothing at all.


      • Rey #

        Thanks for the info Ryan. In addition to, or in place of the juice, I sometimes use almond milk as well. So a typical smoothie may consist of a fruit, fruit juice and almond milk mixture, a green like spinach. I also forgot to mention that we do use ice. After blending, we add ice and blend a bit more to get a pretty thick texture.

        As an example, today’s smoothie will be: frozen cherries, a frozen lemon wedge, spinach, mixture of white-grape cherry juice and almond milk and ice.

        The frozen smoothies aren’t very large, we use the Nutribullet mid-sized cup.

        • Ryan Carmody #

          You’re on the right track, Rey. Almond milk is a good option. Your smoothie for today sounds great. The only suggestion I have is to get a little more healthy fat in there via coconut oil or avocado.


  16. Vicki #

    Hi Ryan. I have been researching green smoothie information for the last couple of months. I have never left a comment on any website I have visited. I have just been kind of taking it all in, but I had to leave a comment for you. Your responsiveness has left quite an impression on me. I don’t think I have visited any websites so far where the “guru” has responded to all of the questions/comments. It is greatly appreciated. I want to ask you what your opinion is regarding the combination of foods in a smoothie. There is a particular “guru” (initials S.B.) who claims that the green smoothie should be limited to using only greens, fruit and a little spring water. This was a little disappointing for me because I was feeling pretty good about all of the superfood boosts I have been adding to my smoothies: maca, goji berries, hemp seed, flax seed, nuts, etc. He claims that some ingredients may cancel out others. What is your take on this?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Vicki,

      Thanks for the kind words. Referring to me as a “guru” might be a stretch ;)

      Food combining is a tricky one. If you search Google you’ll encounter many opinions and food combining charts. IMO, there’s no hard and fast rules. We’re unique individuals with unique nutritional needs and unique digestive systems. My advice is to pay attention to your body. If you suspect combining certain foods is an issue, remove ingredients one by one until you identify the culprit.

      I routinely throw everything but the kitchen sink into my smoothies and have yet to experience any digestive issues. As far as ingredients cancelling out others, I think the opposite is true, they increase bio-availability and effectiveness of each other. For example, avocado has been shown to improve absorption of lycopene and beta-carotene from other foods. You have my permission to add all of those wonderful superfoods to your smoothies :)


  17. Sandra #

    Hi there, your web page has been very helpful, I have just started making smoothies and have one for my lunch daily and was concerned if the ones I am making are healthy as so many people say mine can be unhealthy, so many articles on websites saying don’t use this and others say do, can be confusing, for eg I use bananas, blueberries, strawberry, Greek yogurt and almond milk or water, I also put in a tsp of flaxseed oil, would be grateful for your response, I will download your recipes. Thank you

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Sandra,

      Nice to hear you’ve recently hopped on board the healthy smoothie train :) The ingredients you listed are all good and will result in healthy smoothies alright. Minor critique, opt for full-fat Greek yogurt, and add a little avocado or coconut oil for healthy fat.


      • Sarah #

        Hi Ryan, I have recently been making myself smoothies been two weeks now to have for my breakfast at work as its been filling me more then eating the crap I use to. To make my smoothies I put in red top skimmed milk, fat free natural yogurt along with frozen mix berries and a banana to sweeten it up for me, is this healthy for me? Aswell as using the gym 4times a week ??

  18. Sandra #

    Thank you Ryan, looking forward to trying out your recipes


  19. Chris #

    I had this morning – natural yogurt, frozen blueberries, 1 lemon, 1 banana, spinach, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, coconut oil, ginger, oats and evian water! Is that too much for 1 smoothie? I also heard fruit smoothies can be bad why is that?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Chris,

      That smoothie sounds perfect! Definitely not too many ingredients. Smoothies that contain nothing but sugary fruit can be problematic because of their high sugar content. I like to call them “sugar bombs”. Your recipe doesn’t fit that bill.


  20. Dyna #

    What are juice blends? Are the smoothies at Juice It Up! and Jamba Juice considered healthy? Are certain ones healthy?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Dyna,

      I’d have to inspect every smoothie, but for the most part the smoothies at places like Juice It Up and Jamba Juice are not very healthy due to their high sugar content. If they have smoothies with organic ingredients that aren’t too high in sugary fruit and sweeteners then they’re probably ok, but never as good as making yourself.


  21. francene ferguson #

    i agree with what you’ve said about healthy and unhealthy smoothies. anything that’s going to promote healthy eating, i’ll try.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Me too, Francene, I’ll try just about anything once if it’s going to improve my health.

  22. Jeline Saunders #

    Hi Ryan,

    I have been drinking homemade smoothies for every two years and have almost everyone in my family (and friends) drinking one a day including my 90 year mother who has dementia and my father who is 98 (my sister says they will live forever drinking these smoothies).

    I, too, include everything but the kitchen sink – 2 tablespoons of matchstick carrots, 4 prunes, half banana, mixed frozen berries, 2 tablespoons of frozen mango, 3 tablespoons of frozen kale (kale does not have an after taste as does spinach), one teaspoon of honey, brewed green tea, half diced apple with peeling left on, and 2 tablespoons of greek yogurt.

    Believe me this smoothie is excellent for elimination and we are almost addicted to it. Cannot go more than one day without it. Two days and you are in trouble. We have struggled when we travel and cannot make this smoothie.

    Enjoy your website.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Jeline,

      Your comment brought a huge smile to my face :) We can live forever drinking healthy smoothies every day!

      Your recipe sounds delicious and is certainly ultra healthy. I’ll have to give it a blend.

      I just got back from a week long vacation and dearly missed my smoothies. A travel blender is in my future.


  23. Michelle keightley #

    Hi Ryan
    I have been having smoothies for a few months now.i put in 1/2 apple with peel on 1/2 pear strawberries raspberries banana blueberries 2 tbsp of fat free yogurt and sugar free flavoured water is this bad for me.my leader at my slimming club says it is bad.is this true.
    Please help :)

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Michelle,

      That recipe isn’t terrible, but certainly can be improved. Try this:

      1 cup water (no flavored stuff)
      1/2 avocado
      1/2 apple
      1/2 pear
      1/2 cup strawberries or raspberries or combination
      2 tablespoons full fat yogurt
      1/2 banana (optional for additional sweetness)


  24. donna wigley #

    Hi Ryan,
    On Monday, I started making a smoothie for breakfast instead of drinking a Slimfast. No other dietary changes. But every day since then I have felt bad, no energy and tired muscles. Could I have an allergy to one of the ingredients? I use orange juice,banana,mixed berries,cinnamon and a raw egg. Thanks for your reply.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Donna,

      That’s a change that will pay dividends. Your smoothie is a little high in sugar. I would substitute water or milk for the orange juice. Try 1/2 avocado instead of the banana. The raw egg is good if you’re sourcing it locally from a farm that lets their chickens eat their natural diet. For more info on weight loss with smoothies and other smoothie ideas and tips:



  25. Sandra Pilgrim #

    I’m SO glad I found this page, so much great info!
    Thank you!

    • Ryan Carmody #

      You’re welcome, Sandra!

  26. Ron Martella #

    Hi Ryan! Like many other smoothie newbies, I have been using ingredients from local supermarkets. Can you publish one definitive list where we can find these super ingredients like health food stores, farmer markets, online ordering, etc.

    Your do’s & don’ts guidelines are really making it a lot of fun coming up with my own favs.

    What basic guidelines can you give me for granola, beans, nuts, protein powder, etc? And where to purchase the good stuff?

    Would you ever try meats, chicken, or fish in a smoothie?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Ron,

      Check out my resources page for locating the best smoothie ingredients in your area or online. Health food stores and farmer’s markets will vary depending on where you live.


      Creating your own unique and favorite recipes is what it’s all about!

      I’ve never added granola to a smoothie, but I don’t see why you couldn’t. I’d use it like nuts – a tablespoon or two. You’ll have to experiment and see what works.

      If you’re active and workout it’s not a bad idea to supplement with a protein powder if your smoothies don’t contain much protein from the other ingredients. My recommended protein powders can be found under the resources link above.

      I’ve never thought to try meat, chicken, or fish in a smoothie. I like those cooked and not sure how they’d blend. If you try, let me know.


  27. Jeff Heisel #

    Thanks for this. My concern was if I was using too much fresh fruit- I use blue and blackberries, dark cherries, strawberries and a banana or 2 depending on size. I put a lot of kale in and a little oatmeal and flaxseed. Oh, and a small amount of Almond low calorie milk.
    I quit drinking 66 days ago and have been doing the smoothie every weekday since then and have lost a lot of weight…however, I still wonder if that is too many fruits? I like a lot of them to mask the taste of the baby kale…
    Thanks again

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Jeff,

      Most of the fruit you’re using (berries) are relatively low in sugar except the banana(s). Try reducing the amount of banana you use and substitute with avocado to lesson the sugar load.


  28. Kat #

    Just a quick question abt kale.. how do you stand the smell? I bought some to use in my smoothie, it was in a plastic container and when I opened it I about got sick, is there anything I can do or a different type I can buy that doesn’t smell like ; in my opinion, dirty gym socks? I had to throw it away because it made my house smell.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Sounds like you purchased some low quality and/or stale kale, Kat. I just took a big whiff of the kale in my fridge and there’s almost no odor. I recommend procuring your (preferably organic) kale directly from a local farm, farmer’s market, or health food store such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.


  29. Maddi #

    Using skim milk as a base, I add a cup of frozen raspberries, a whole banana, a few tablespoons of lite Greek yogurt and blend it up. Is this an unhealthy recipie? If so why?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Maddi,

      Your recipe is mostly healthy. I’d ditch the skim milk for whole milk, or even better, raw milk.


  30. Sheri #

    Hi Ryan,
    Wanted to know if my smoothie sounds OK or need changes?

    1/2 banana
    1/2 cup blueberries
    Couple strawberries
    Hand full of spinach/kale mix
    Scoop of flax seed
    1/2 cup Greek yogurt
    1/8 cup almonds
    1 scoop of chocolate protein
    Almond milk

    do you think it’s OK to replace 2 meals a day with this? Do you think the protein in the Greek yogurt is enough and ditch the protein powder? Thanks so much!

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Sheri,

      Your smoothie looks fantastic! I recommend a smoothie for breakfast and two regular meals. You can do two smoothies a day if that works for you, just not what I advocate. Unless you’re looking to add muscle the Greek yogurt provides ample protein.


  31. Sarah #

    Just wondering if u put to much fruit in. Can it be to much natural sugar in one hit? I just made one that had Banana, apple, few blueberries, few raspberries, kiwi, spinach, pumpkin seeds, spoonful of natural yoghurt and water!! Maybe it’s to much sugar all at once??

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Sarah,

      Yes, you can definitely over do it with too much natural fruit and create what I like to call a sugar-bomb. Your smoothie is borderline too much sugar. Try using only 1/2 banana.


  32. Sarah #

    Thanks, can u recommend a good smoothie for hair but no nuts?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Sarah,

      Yes, trying adding gelatin to pretty much any smoothie. Excerpt from my article on gelatin:

      Skin, Hair, and Nails: Eating gelatin regularly promotes healthy skin, nails, and hair because these tissues are made largely of proteins. Gelatin can make hair and nails stronger and less brittle, and improve the elasticity and appearance of skin. Although there is little evidence, some people claim gelatin also reduces the appearance of cellulite.



  33. penguin #

    I am having trouble finding ‘raw milk’ in Australia. It think we just call it ‘milk’.

    Also, it may be true that there was some water somewhere that was bad. But that does not mean all tap water or rain water is contaminated with nuclear waste or evil spirits.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Penguin,

      Not sure about milk in Australia, if your regular milk is raw more power to you!

      Correct, not all water is contaminated.


  34. Suzanne #

    Thank you so much for practical info. 2 comments… Be careful of all the almond, coconut, nut milks. Most of them are over processed. Read ingredients. Also if you are trying to control blood sugar, most coconut from grocery store is sweetened with sugar. Sneaky sugar!

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Good point on the processed milks, Susanne. Definitely read ingredients, or better yet, make your own. Always have to be on the lookout for the sneaky sugar :)

      • alicia #

        I was so excited to read your healthy ingredients list for smoothies because that’s basically how I make mine I prefer raw almond milk I’m them but glad to know whole is a good substitute.. Why is that? Also I was recently told by friend who was told by a friend who is a nutritionist that by blending fruit in smoothies turns them into bad sugars ..is this true? I understand cutting back on fruit amounts is crucial due to the natural sugars still being sugar but I was just curious . Thanks so much for the great read!!!:) recently I have been added oats to smoothies and it helps to keep me full…been doing whole frozen bananna,1/2 c blueberries big bunch of kale n spinach 1/4 c Greek nonfat yogurt almond milk fruit and 1/2 rolled oats..whatba powerhouse total energy delicious and filling.

  35. lulu garcia #

    So my family just recently got on the smoothie train. Our favorite is green apple, spinach, blueberries and flax seeds with almond milk as the liquid. Or strawberries, spinach and pineapple with plain yougurt and water. Yum! How else can I make it more filling though?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Welcome aboard the healthy smoothie train, Lulu :) For a more filling and satiating smoothie try adding some healthy fats such as coconut oil and avocado. Nut butters are also quite filling.


  36. Jessica #

    Hello Ryan, I found your page by searching for information about smoothies. I never thought of them to be an issue. I like to have a smoothie each morning as I’m not a fan of eating in the a.m. I buy my fruits and veggies once a week and sit down for about 3 hours and process them all. I bag fruits and veggies then freeze them. My most recent smoothie packs consist of 1/2 banana, 1/2 mango, 1/2 orange, handful of grapes, 4 strawberries and a stalk of kale. I freeze my packs, pull them down when I wake up, since their frozen i mix with one cup of hot green tea, this defrosts the fruits and gives it just enough liquid to blend them nicely. I’ve been doing so for about a month and haven’t batted an eye at the thought of it being unhealthy. I was going to eat those fruits anyways through out the morning. I eat my fruits before noon, then the rest of the day is veggie. Am I going about this wrong? I added my smoothie to My fitness pal and just about lost it when i saw the nutritional value. I know that a generated search can’t tell the difference between natural sugars and added but oh my goodness. Please enlighten me on the right changes i need to make to make these smoothies more nutritional.
    Thank you

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Jessica,

      I love how you prepare your “smoothie packs” ahead of time. I need to get back to that. Hot green tea to defrost the fruit is brilliant!

      To put things in perspective, your smoothie is high in sugary fruit. However, still much healthier than the average breakfast of cereal and milk, frozen waffles, or pop-tarts. That said, you can definitely improve your smoothie. I’d start by adding 1/3 to 1/2 avocado and/or 1 tsp of coconut oil. You can work up to 1 TBSP of coconut oil. This will provide the all important healthy fats and slow down the absorption of sugar. Then I’d slowly reduce the amount of sugary fruit (banana, mango, orange, grapes) until you find a nice balance.


  37. Diana #

    Hi Ryan,

    I have been making milk Kefir from grains for about 3 years. I have been blending smoothies all this time, and making them healthier day by day. My original concerns were the cost of healthy ingredients, and all too often wasted produce, but I’ve found many ways to circumvent those issues. I’ve been educating interested family and friends and showing them that in the long run, investing in the fruits, veggies, and supplements can yield far greater returns. Matter of fact, a couple of us have made a hobby of it, and we share, share, share info like crazy.

    I love veggies, yet many people I know do not. They tend to use a few supplements, but mainly fruit to make “tasty” smoothies. I’ve had them taste my smoothies without telling them about the veggie content, and they love them. Then I tell them what all was in the smoothie and they are flabbergasted. It encourages them to know they really can “tolerate” healthy veggies in their diets daily, and truly enjoy them.

    About every 16 days I have a prep and bagging day. First thing in the bags is at least 1 cup (often 2) of Kale or Spinach. I roast or steam beets, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, then cool, peel, and dice. Avocados can be peeled and quartered, spritzed with lemon or lime juice and frozen beautifully (single file at first on a plate, then into a freezer bag once frozen). When ready to “bag” I set up my station and fill the bags with a variety of fruits and veggies. Always try to lean toward more veggie content than fruit, to balance. It makes mornings so fast and easy to grab a quart-size baggie of fruit/veggie out of the freezer, strain my kefir grains. At the time of blending I pick a few extras like cacao, maca, turmeric, cinnamon, fresh ginger, nuts, flax, or chia, and blast away. If I need more liquid I add some unsweetened almond milk. Occasionally I add coconut oil or avocado oil. I “mix it up” as far as these extras/add ons go.

    I’ve found with many healthy smoothie converts they become discouraged too quickly. Usually due to “time, cost, loss of produce (not using fast enough leading to waste).” My sister is now doing this, and is so encouraged because her husband can easily grab a bag from the freezer and make his own smoothie to go, at O’ dark 30.

    I hope my post encourages others, and Thank YOU for your blog.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Diana,

      Your comment is up for the “best comment ever” award :)

      Your friends and family are lucky to have you as a resident smoothie expert. My friends and family frequently asked me about smoothies and ingredients, which was one of the main reasons I started this site. I knew more people had the same questions and wanted to help newbies avoid the hurdles I stubbornly pushed through when first getting started. Like anything, the more you practice and learn the easier the process becomes. One day “healthy smoothies 101” will be offered in classrooms across the country :)

      What I personally found and what I believe others bump into with veggies is not sourcing high quality varieties. Cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market (and even organic from a health food store) taste like candy compared to their conventional counterpart. This is even more apparent with greens, IMO. As with food, if you source high quality ingredients whatever you prepare is bound to taste good.

      Your smoothie prep strategy is similar to my uncle’s, which I wrote about in this post:


      Thank you for taking the time to post this comment. I’m confident it will help others in their smoothie making endeavors.

      Happy Blending!


  38. Mark #

    I saw that you mentioned that fat free milk isn’t the best option. This leads me to the more general question of which type of milk do you consider the best option. If raw milk isn’t an option in my area, what type of organic milk is best? 1%, 2%, whole?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Good question, Mark. If raw milk isn’t available I’d go with an organic non-homogenized, low-temp pasteurized milk. If that’s no available an organic whole milk will do.


  39. Nino #

    I’m sorry, but raw milk isn’t safe, as it can have diseases from the cow. I”m not American, I actually live in Europe, and even the villagers here always pasteurize milk as they know how dangerous it is to drink it raw and causes stomach problems. Please do not spread misinformed information like this, as you can literally kill someone.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Nino,

      I appreciate your concern and I’m sure the readers of my blog do as well. For those like myself that have thoroughly researched raw milk and vetted the farmer(s) they procure it form we feel it’s quite safe.


  40. Michele #

    Hi Ryan,

    I have been drinking smoothies for at least a year. I love them but when I have one for breakfast, I’m hungry immediately afterwards and have to eat a regular meal. I have put on a lot of weight! My typical smoothie is 1 banana, a few frozen strawberries, 1c +/- plain non-fat Greek yogurt, and some unsweetened coconut water. I have on occasion used less banana, blueberries instead, a handful of baby spinach, a Tbs of coconut oil, a Tbs natural peanut butter or 1/2 an avocado. But I’m still hungry after each one. Over the past week I decided to stop drinking them altogether and I lost 5 lbs! I’m writing because I miss them and want to incorporate the health benefits of all those ingredients without the weight gain. Any pointers??

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Michele,

      If you’re still hungry shortly after consuming a smoothie you’ll want to incorporate more calorically dense ingredients and possibly increase your serving size. What will keep you satiated are healthy fats from coconut oil, avocado, full-fat yogurt, and nut butters. Try using 1/2 an avocado and a TBSP of peanut butter in your next smoothie and see if that keeps you feeling full. I imagine the weight gain is due to eating a regular meal right after your smoothie. The smoothie should tide you over until lunch.


  41. Lucy #

    Hi Ryan,
    I am new to smoothies, I am trying to lose weight and have started having a smoothie for breakfast. I’ve been having; kale, mixed berries(strawberries,blackberries,raspberries,red currants,blueberries), coconut water or unsweetened almond milk.
    Thinking of adding avocado.
    Any advice please.
    Thanks Lucy

  42. Chris #

    I started making fruit smoothies with frozen summer fruits and black forest fruits and spinach. I mix it with natural yogurt and hemp milk. Also I add hemp seeds as well as sunflower pumpkin and flax seeds with some dried goji berries. I didn’t eat fruit my whole life (it’s a texture thing), but I am loving these smoothies.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Nice to hear you’re enjoying these smoothies, Chris. I only ate a couple of fruits prior to smoothies as well due to texture.


  43. Grant #

    I’m curious to know why you consider coconut milk to be a good base. Any significant amount of it is coming packed with loads calories the majority of which is from saturated fat.

  44. Kate #

    Hello, I’ve started making snoothies everyday and Im using 1 Apple, 1 banana, 2 spoons of organic Greek yogurt, 5 almonds, cinnamon and some skimmed milk and a tea spoon of raw coconut oil. Is this healthy everyday? What should I change?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Kate,

      Your smoothie recipe is quite healthy and sounds delicious. The only thing I recommend changing is the skimmed milk. Use a whole milk, nut milk, or raw milk if you have access.


  45. Halleliyah #

    Hi Ryan,

    I had an intestinal bypass when I was 15. I still only have 18 inches of small intestine so absorbtion is a concern. I am 54 and my genes have started kick me- I have had kidney failure 3 years ago-recovering with no dialysis, just high createnine and do drink lots of filtered water. I have also had a VAD 2 years ago but my artery has reopened-it does look more like a tree now but functions as an artery.
    I have been drinking smoothies for breakfast for about a months and my health is improving and so is my thinking.
    I will be trying some of your recipes of course but are there some goodies I can add to my smoothies to boost my health a bit more?

    I have just started adding kale today. I just found out about blanching it and not using the stems, I will start that tomorrow.

    My basic recipe is:

    4 oz milk- will work on a substitute
    4 oz organic vanilla yogurt
    1/2 c frozen unsweetened cherry berry mix
    2 tbsp freshly crushed organic chia and dark flax seeds
    10 walnuts
    1 large leaf kale

    sometimes a scoop of protein powder if I need more protein

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Halleliyah,

      Great to hear you health is improving from consuming smoothies. Your basic recipe looks good. If you can, try raw milk or a nut milk in place of regular old milk. Check out superfoods and superfood smoothies for additional ideas and super healthy ingredients. You might also explore the GAPS diet and bone broth, a traditional and superior superfood:



  46. Cassandra #

    Hey! Thanks for this article. This is my smoothie recipe, I hope it’s healthy but would like to check.

    green tea (loose leaf with filtered water)

    Hopefully this is good. I make a 20 oz at work and consume for lunch. What do you think?

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Your smoothie looks great, Cassandra! A healthy lunch indeed.

  47. Tasha #

    Good information! My ‘go to smoothie’ right now consists of fresh strawberries that I freeze when they are nearing their expiration, frozen blueberries, either banana or avocado (I alternate), spinach, ground flaxseed, natural peanut butter, a little bit of mango yogurt, liquid probiotics, coconut water (unsweetened), and vanilla almond milk. Sometimes I add a little granola if I have some on hand. It makes 2 big glasses of smoothie that keep me full until lunch. I’m now 6 months pregnant and have this every morning for breakfast for about a month. I’ve noticed my blood pressure has reduced and my weight hasn’t spiked as much as before when I’d grab a quick breakfast. I know the vanilla almond milk isn’t as good for me as the unflavoured/unsweetened, but it is more enjoyable on its own, which my husband likes. Its too expensive to buy 2 different kinds.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      You go girl :) You’re definitely an advanced smoothie maker and on your way to birthing one healthy baby.

  48. tony #

    my smoothie is 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup blueberries, I/2 peach and 4 oz of organic apple juice.
    Makes about 9 oz and covers my fruits for the day.
    That’s my snack and it is about 170 calories,34 grams of sugar, .2 grams of fat, 2.6 grams of protein, and 3.5 grams of fiber.
    The way I look at it is that it is better than a candy bar and better for you

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Looks good, Tony. Much better than a candy bar ;)

  49. Rhonda #


    Just starting with this smoothie thing and so far at the experimental stage.

    I found your comments very helpful. I hadn’t thought of cooking my veg first. I assumed

    even if steamed, that I would be losing vital nutrients.

    I have always found having a breakfast difficult so this smoothie idea is a godsend.

    Looking forward to concocting.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      You’re welcome, and best of luck, Rhonda!

  50. Ryan, I love chia seeds and up until recently I was putting them into my smoothie every day as they thicken it.

    However, below is an extract from Dr Loren Cordain’s article on the negatives of chia seeds.

    “Chia seeds contain numerous antinutrients which reduce their nutritional value.
    One of the unusual characteristics of chia seeds comes from a clear mucilaginous gel that surrounds the seeds. This sticky gel forms a barrier which impairs digestion, fat absorption and causes a low protein digestibility.

    Based upon animal and human studies, it is likely that other antinutrients together with this gel may promote a leaky gut, chronic systemic inflammation and food allergies etc.
    Dr. Nieman and co-workers recently completed a study in humans who consumed 50 grams of chia seeds per day for 12 weeks. At the experiment’s end both men and women experienced increases in a blood inflammatory marker called interleukin 6 (IL-6). After 12 weeks the men’s blood levels of IL-6 increased 10.2 %, and the women’s increased 10.1%. Additionally, another inflammatory marker called monocyte chemotactic protein increased 6.9 % in the men and 6.1 % in the women”.

    • Ryan Carmody #

      Hi Angela,

      That’s the first negative info on chia seeds I’ve seen. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’ll have to read the whole study. One thing that seems suspicious is the consumption of 50 grams of chia seeds a day. That’s a lot of chia seeds and could very well be the reason for negative effects.


      • Ryan, I was also wondering if 50 grams of chia seeds a day was the reason for the problems. I hope so because I love them.

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