The Perfect Smoothie Formula

The way I see it, you only need to eat healthy twice during the day.  While you’ll certainly eat more than twice a day, just two healthy meals make it pretty hard to screw up the rest of them.

iStock 000003942941XSmallOnce is in the afternoon, when a big salad loaded with greens, other raw vegetables, and nuts will fill you up and give you more veggies than most people eat all day.  And as a bonus, it’ll give you the chance to get even more good stuff, when you dress it with quality oil, lemon juice, and a little sea salt.

The other time is in the morning, when a smoothie made from fruits (and even vegetables) will not only set the tone for the entire day, but act as a vehicle for other superfoods or supplements you want to work into your diet.

That’s it. Just two healthy meals.

Even if you ate whatever you wanted the rest of the day, I’d be willing to bet you wouldn’t get fat, as long as you made sure to drink a smoothie and eat a big salad every single day.

Sure, if you were to eat at McDonald’s for lunch and Outback for dinner the rest of the time, you could probably succeed at packing on a few pounds.  But here’s the thing.

The smoothie and salad act as “anchors” that keep you on track, to remind you just how great it feels to put real, fresh fruits and vegetables in your body.  After you start the day with a smoothie, McDonald’s for lunch doesn’t seem so good anymore.  And when it’s time to start thinking about dinner, the salad does the same.

In this way, those two healthy meals become three or four—which doesn’t leave much time for junk.

Why people suck at making smoothies

Most people are alright when it comes to the salad.  But there’s something about the alchemy of throwing a few fruits, ice, liquid, and whatever else into a blender and ending up with a perfectly smooth and delicious drink that causes lots of people to struggle.

Since nearly everyone has a blender (I use a Blendtec myself, I suspect that the reason most people don’t make smoothies consistently is that it’s overwhelming.  There are too many possible ingredients, and too many variables to tweak to get the proportions just right. And if someone should stumble upon a good recipe, they end up making it so often that they get sick of it and never drink it again.

We need a formula

Over the past few years, I’ve had a smoothie almost every single day.  I’ve constantly tweaked it, experimented with new ingredients, and kept track of what worked and what didn’t.

What follows is my version of the smoothie genome project.  It’s a formula you can follow to create nearly endless variations.  And the best part is that the uncertainty has been taken out of it for you.  You’ll need to experiment with different flavor combinations, of course, but the guesswork about proportions has largely been removed.

The recipe below specifies general amounts and types of ingredients (like “2 tablespoons binder”) and then below, you are given a menu of several recommended ingredients of each type from which to choose to make your smoothie.

The Perfect Smoothie Formula

(makes 2 smoothies)

  • 1 soft fruit
  • 2 small handfuls frozen or fresh fruit
  • 2-4 tablespoons protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons binder
  • 1.5 tablespoons oil
  • 1.5 cups liquid
  • 1 tablespoon sweetener (optional, less or more as needed)
  • optional superfoods, greens, and other ingredients
  • 6 ice cubes (omit if soft fruit is frozen)

Select one or more ingredients of each type below and add to blender in specified proportions. Blend until smooth.

Recommended Soft Fruits

  • Banana
  • Avocado

(If you have a high-speed blender that can puree, say, a whole apple or carrot without leaving any chunks behind, then the puree of almost any fruit or vegetable can act as your soft fruit.)

Recommended Frozen or Fresh Fruits

  • Strawberries (you can leave the greens on if you have a powerful blender)
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Peaches
  • Mango
  • Pineapple

Recommended Protein Powders

  • Hemp
  • Sprouted brown rice (tastes chalkier than hemp, but packs more protein per dollar)
  • Pea
  • Vega Sport (combines all three for complete amino acid profile)
  • Lifetime Life’s Basic’s Plant Protein (an affordable hemp, rice, pea, and chia protein blend)

(Soy and whey are higher-protein, generally cheaper options, but for a variety of reasons I don’t recommend either for long-term use.)

Recommended Binders

  • Ground flaxseed
  • Almond butter or any nut butter
  • Soaked raw almonds (soak for several hours and rinse before using)
  • Rolled oats, whole or ground
  • Udo’s Wholesome Fast Food

Recommended Oils

  • Flaxseed oil
  • Udo’s Blend or other EFA blend
  • Hemp oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Almond, macadamia, or other nut oil

Recommended Liquids (unsweetened)

  • Water (my favorite)
  • Almond milk or other nut milk
  • Hemp milk
  • Brewed tea

Recommended Sweeteners

  • Honey (not technically vegan)
  • Agave nectar (high in fructose, so choose this only before workouts)
  • Stevia (sugar-free natural sweetener, the amount needed will vary by brand)

Optional Superfoods, Greens and Other Ingredients

  • Cacao nibs (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Carob chips (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Ground organic cinnamon (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Chia seeds, whole or ground (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Greens powder (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Whole spinach leaves (1-2 handfuls)
  • Maca powder (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Jalapeno pepper, seeds and stem removed (one small pepper)
  • Ground cayenne pepper (small pinch)
  • Sea salt (pinch)
  • Lemon or lime juice (1 tablespoon)

There’s plenty here to get you started.  But you certainly don’t have to stay within these guidelines if you determine that you want more or less of a certain ingredient, or more than one ingredient from each category. (For example, almond butter and ground flaxseed are both in the “binder” category, but I sometimes include both in my smoothie.)

Also, note that which ingredients you use from one category often dictate how much you need from another.  For example, if you’re using avocado instead of banana as your soft fruit, you’ll need more sweetener than you would with the banana, and you’ll probably want to go light on other fatty ingredients, since avocado provides plenty of good fats.

So be creative, and don’t worry if at first you like more of the sweet ingredients and not so much of the healthier ones. Over time as you eat less and less processed and sugary foods, your tastes will change and you’ll actually crave the healthy stuff.

PS – This is an excerpt from my vegetarian guide to your first marathon.

PPS – If you like the formula idea, check out the Ultimate Energy Bar Formula!

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Comments

  1. Love the formula. I too am smoothie-loyal and love to experiment. Avocados are smoothie staples. Some of my favorite ingredients are slivered fresh ginger, cardamom (great with banana/date/coconut), basil and lemon zest. I also add a handful of greens. In the winter I don’t use frozen fruit or ice and tend to blend avocado smoothies thick and eat with a spoon like pudding, so good.

  2. Great idea!

    Possible additions: bee pollen, dulse flakes, psyllium husk (fiber), dash of vanilla (or any flavor) extract, soaked goji berries.

  3. I love this post! I’ve been on a huge smoothie kick lately. I like to add a few fresh mint leaves (assuming they won’t clash with other flavors) and a spoon of unsweetened cocoa powder for a natural chocolate-mint smoothie.

    Other possible additions: peanut flour, coconut flour, a little grated fresh ginger.

  4. Jon Weisblatt says:

    My wife and I don’t even bother with any water or milk type. Why dilute?! We just use fresh organic apples, pears, and berries with 2 tablespoons Trader Joe’s vanilla hemp protein (not chalky at all), 2-3 tablespoons almond butter, and chia seeds. I do throw in some granola after the blender so I can a crunch. Yum Yum!! Never thought of a avocado. Thanks for the tip.

  5. Great, funny post. I too find that eating healthy meals persuades me to KEEP eating healthy meals throughout the day. Sometimes, even when I think, “I could totally eat an indulgent dessert and it wouldn’t matter”, I find myself just skipping it entirely since I started off on such a good streak. Sometimes anyways.

    I think I need to make a post similar to this regarding salad. I love making a salad filled with anything and everything. I was always raised on the Standard American Diet’s version of a salad, which was usually iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots and some tomatoes. Boooooooring! Now I’ve come to look at salad as the most taste-filled nutrition packed meal I can have. Everything but the kitchen sink!

  6. Thanks Matt – this looks great.

    I’ve been making lazy smoothies for about 6 months now. Nothing but fruit (soft/frozen) and fruit juice. It gives me my fruit intake of the day, but I could definitely add some protein and nutrients.

    I’ll be going to the grocery store this weekend and stocking up – gonna give this formula a shot.

  7. Nice post! I have yet to try the avocado in smoothie thing…

  8. I totally agree–when I start my day with a smoothie for breakfast I feel and eat better all day long. I have a VitaMix which costs a small fortune but is an incredible investment. I love putting kale in my smoothies..so good for you and really tasty when mixed with mango, pineapple, and coconut milk. Sometimes I throw a carrot in too..it sweetens a lot!

  9. I loved this post. I really like this deconstructured approach to recipe creation. However, the main reason I almost never drink smoothies is that I hate cleaning out my blender. Does anyone know any blender cleaning hacks?

    • Thanks, Dana. We have a Blendtec and it’s “self-cleaning.” Immediately after using it, you just put a pump of dishsoap and a cup or two of water in and pulse it a few times, then rinse. I’d imagine you could do the same with some other blenders; they just might require a more thorough cleaning a little more often.

    • A stick or immersion blender works really well for smoothies, they come with a big wide cup that you toss everything in to, give it a buzz, and drink it right out of the cup. Its a lot easier to clean than a whole blender with the parts and o ring , etc. Like Matt said, I usually just buzz it in water with soap and rinse it off.

    • All you have to do it put warm water & a little soap. Hit puree & rinse, rinse, rinse. Be sure to separate the blade & rinse that off separately to ensure the soap is out of the cracks. easy peasy!

  10. I don’t make smoothies b/c I like to chew my meals. However, I may be willing to give it a shot. A question: If I make 2 servings, will the second serving keep until the next day?

    • I read somewhere that you should actually chew your juices and smoothies as if they were solid, as it keeps you from downing them too fast, and you actually start absorbing nutrients while the liquid is in your mouth.

    • Oops, also meant to say that if smoothies are like fresh juices, they slowly lose nutrients, so fresh is best. But… I often do a big batch and store in the fridge in Mason jars, which are air-tight. I might not save something with avacado, thinking it’d end up looking/feeling kinda slimey. :-)

    • I read somewhere that they should be consumed within 2 hrs for max nutrient absorption, but even if you’re eating some of it later, it’s still better than a lot of things you could eat. The fiber remains if nothing else! Just beware of texture changes. Some of mine get goopy if refrigerated for even 20 min. (And let’s face it, half of what makes a smoothie pleasurable is the texture!) As for needing to chew, try adding seeds, nuts, oats, etc to a smoothie (after you’re done blending it). Makes for a cool (literally) breakfast “soup” complete with extra protein and fiber. Just find the ratio of smoothie to crunchy stuff that makes you happy!

  11. I also have a smoothie every.single.day and have for the past 4-5 years.

    I make much simpler smoothies that you. Here are my must haves for a successful smoothie:
    1. 1 frozen banana (you peel the banana when it is spotted and freeze it. This is, to me, the KEY ingredient to making a delicious smoothie).
    2. 1 cup frozen fruit (or another frozen banana if it is a banana smoothie)
    3. 3-5 ice cubs
    4. 3 cups liquid (I think soy milk, but water or any other milk will do.)

    VIOLA!
    PERFECT SMOOTHIE, every time.

  12. great ideas! love it. I’ve been doing the smoothie for about 2 weeks. So great and filling!

  13. A friend of mine recently got me to start adding a teaspoon of L-Glutamine to my smoothies. It is supposed to help muscles recover quicker. I think that since I’ve been using it I have been less sore after hard workouts. What are your thoughts on L-Glutamine?

    • Layne, I used to take L-Glutamine when I was really into weightlifting in college, and yes, recovery was what it was supposed to help with. I can’t really say for sure if it did or not. Some people swear by it and some say it doesn’t do anything at all. I actually just bought some recently though that I’ve added to recovery drinks after hard workouts and runs. Sure is cheaper than it used to be!

  14. I like this!!!

  15. I absolutely love this post (hi! this might be the first post I’ve actually commented on). I spent way too long researching “smoothie recipes” and stressing that I didn’t have the “right” ingredients or that I was missing something or that I put in too much milk. I seriously used measuring cups!

    Finally, I started just going with the flow, experimenting, and thinking “Hmm, I wonder if I added this!” My most recent iteration was adding some almond butter with flaxseeds (it came mixed from Trader Joes). Stoked to see that on the list!

  16. Your formula is fantastic! And it works. All of my best smoothies naturally have followed your formula. I’ve just recently fallen in love cardamom in berry smoothies. And one of my favorite greens to use in a tropical mango smoothie is kale.

  17. Sherry Cooke says:

    Great post. I use a Vitamixer and it is awesome! I clean it the same way you described above or in the sink. No dishwasher. I don’t use any protein powder, Lots of greens (8 cups for 2 servings) spinach romaine and kale, so lots of protein in the mix. Blueberries, Strawberries, Avacado, Flax seed, pom juice, dates. I also add cinnamon to the mix. No extra sweetner, the dates and fruit make it perfect. No “milk”. I drink one everyday!

  18. Brilliant! I cannot live without my smoothies…they pack a punch first thing in the morning! Great write-up, Matt!

  19. This is a very helpful post. I always feel like I don’t make my smoothies right. I’ll have to try your formula.

  20. LOVE the anchor concept. Brilliant!

  21. Great post!! Sometimes I like to throw in a bit of chili powder, cayenne pepper or just a pinch of salt in my smoothies. I think it makes them taste better!!

  22. Great post! I just started The Clean Program 21 day detox, and I’ve been starting my day with smoothies instead of coffee and sugar…what a difference it’s made! I’m surprised at how much I like a good, cold smoothie in the morning in the winter. My current favorite is almond milk, coconut milk, frozen blueberries, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, and hemp protein. So good! Sometimes I add cinnamon. I have a Vita Mix and sometimes I blend in some kale with my almond milk and berries too.

  23. Great post! I have been wondering what I can use in smoothies instead of bananas, which I’m not allowed to have at present. Avocados are a good option, when they come in season again over here. I will certainly give them a try!

  24. Making a good smoothie is definitely an art. I worked at a smoothie shop for a bit, so I learned some basics from there (although, they cheapen the health factor with lots of water, ice, and turbinado). I also use flaxseed but have never tried avocado in a smoothie. Sounds good!

  25. Throw in a handful of spinach or chard and you have a delicious greener smoothies.

  26. Oh my this is so helpful! was just thinking to myself this morning that i wanted a smoothie, but didn’t feel like paying $10 @ Smoothie King. headed to the grocery tonight to pick up the essentials. thanks for the tips!

  27. Stuart Brooks says:

    Awesome post Matt. I’m a smoothie-every-morning-guy and love how it makes me feel. I was happy to see that my 9 ingredients were in line with your suggestions. Here is mine:

    1 banana
    1 cup frozen blueberries
    4 or 5 frozen strawberries
    2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
    1 cup almond milk
    1 spoonful of almond or peanut butter
    1 cup chopped kale
    1 cup raw oatmeal
    water

    Blend it up and drink the goodness! Thanks.

  28. That’s a great template to keep handy!

    My main problem with smoothies is that we don’t have an automatic ice maker so I have to consciously remember to make more :(

    Jessica

  29. Here is a great smoothie recipe- Yum Yoga’s “Almonocolate Incident Smoothie” tastes like a chocolate milkshake- only better because it is much healthier than a chocolate milkshake!! You can find the ingredients and recipe in the link below. Yum!!

    http://www.threeactiveblog.com/?p=407

  30. Thanks so much for the post. I’m eager to try the smoothie for breakfast, big salad for lunch idea. Do you have a similar “forumula” for salads? That would be really helpful for someone as kitchen-clueless as I am. Since becoming a vegetarian, I cook much more often out of necessity, but I find I’m not very imaginative.

  31. I almost always use coconut water as my liquid. You didn’t even mention it as an option. Also, if I need a sweetener, I will add a couple of dates.

    Thanks for the nice smoothie guide!

  32. “(Soy and whey are higher-protein, generally cheaper options, but for a variety of reasons I don’t recommend either for long-term use.)”

    I’m new to your site and am very intrigued… is there somewhere I can read more about these reasons?

    We have started making changes to our family’s diet (one at a time, so we are not overwhelmed) and I’m glad to have found such a helpful site! Thanks!

    • Not sure what his reasons are; but I think that I’ve read somewhere that hexane is used to extract soy protein. SInce I’m not sure it would be best to research it for yourself though. :-)

    • running farmer says:

      Soy isolate is not a naturally whole food. Matt has written more about it here on NMA.

  33. I love this post. I have always enjoyed smoothies but was unsure about how to mix them up and have them come out well!

    I’m surprised no one mentioned yogurt yet! If you aren’t a vegan, even one or two spoonfuls is a great addition.

  34. Great post Matt!

    I lost fifty pounds in twelve months through juicing and running. (You can read my story with photos on my Running On Juice blog).

    This year I have been use Vega powder in my Smoothie and occasionally the Vega EFA oil.

    I really recommend a tablespoon or two of chia seeds, I find it keeps me satisfied longer.

    The wonderful thing with smoothies is making up new ones as and when you get bored of your daily smoothie.

    Currently I am making a smoothie with 2 bananas, coconut water, ice, raw almond butter (this was very expensive, I think ‘normal’ almond butter will do!) frozen berries, chia seeds, hemp protein, maca. Its supercharged.

    I do prefer my smoothie with some kale and collard greens though.

    Great post!

    • hi! you can make your own almond butter in a cuisinart using bulk almonds (ones that you buy from a big bin. just bring along a reuseable paper bag, or cloth one) – it’s cheaper, and reduces the amount of packaging waste you have to deal with. we save a lot of $ this way.

  35. Vegan yogurt is a great addition to any smoothie. I appreciate all the tips and suggestions. I look foreword to more exciting smoothies in the future.

  36. Thanks for the great smoothie formula! Recently, I’ve been throwing raw ginger and/or garlic into my smoothies (generally along with apples, spinach, almond milk and carrots). Not everyone appreciates the taste of raw garlic as much as I do, but I think it is divine and it’s a good way to add some flavor to a smoothie that is heavy on the greens.

  37. I like the recipe and believe in the smoothie–I have been doing it for 11 years with my vita-mix. I don’t think I would dare take 1-2 tablespoons of cacao nibs unless I wanted to stay up all night. I don’t believe David Wolf’s perspective on this and really think people should look into the research on this (and use common sense).

  38. SarahBR says:

    How do you make sure not to go overboard on calories? I fear that I’ll make a delicious, high-calorie smoothie and then be hungry again in a couple of hours. Maybe the idea is that you get enough fat and protein in the smoothie to keep you full and then the calories don’t matter too much?

  39. running farmer says:

    Matt, thanks for sharing this recipe for happiness and health. Simple is good. Cheers!

  40. Also love avocado, banana is a staple and usually offers enough sweetness that I don’t feel a need for any sweetener. Always toss in some greens, prefer kale or spinach but lettuce can also work. When I have it, I’ll put in 1 T liquid chlorophyll for some extra green goodness.

  41. Great post!! I recommended your blog to my husband, I really think he would like your suggestions :)

  42. The only addition that I would recommend would be to throw in some goji berries (Banana + Mango + Goji + Hemp + Flax). Every now and then you can find them on sale at Krogers.

  43. This formula has helped my husband to begin to drink smoothies on an almost daily basis. He used to tease me for my funky looking green and purple smoothies, but now, since going vegan, he joins me in drinking, and enjoying them. Thank you! :)
    Erin & Mark

  44. –Small handful of raw organic cashews (I have a Vitamix), soaking isn’t required, much creamier than almonds, different nutritional profile, so you’re giving your body different stuff.

    –Coconut nectar for sweetener.

    –Hemp seeds. You have hemp powder and hemp oil, but hempseeds work beautifully in place of the nut butters or nuts, especially with banana.

    –Brew ginger tea … hot water over peeled ginger. You can sweeten or leave it plane, and refrigerate it. Great for drinking, but also great as a smoothie base, for a bit of pizazz, and you don’t have bits of unprocessed ginger and peel in the smoother.

  45. For kicks I added up the protein in my smoothie today. Guess what?
    24g of it. Bam!

  46. Tracey Vegan says:

    Daily Smoothie: 1/4 – 1/2 of an apple or pear; grapes; banana; pineapple; kale, carrot, chia seeds, ground flax seed, frozen fruit, water.
    Makes about 60 oz’s of smoothie in my VitaMix. I told my Husband I would not nag him about his food intake if he got me a vitamix and had a green smoothie every morning. He loves them.

  47. Hi Matt! I really enjoy your blog and have been sharing it with others. It’s great to be able to point to an athletic vegan man powered by plant fuel and say, “Check him out. You don’t need dead animals to thrive!” My husband runs for exercise, mainly to maintain his weight. He is able to run 7 miles in one hour now aw well, although I do see him getting burned out sometimes. I appreciate the tips you have for staying motivated and changing things up. Thank you for sharing your experience, recipes, etc. I would like to add that I sometimes use 2 oz. of granola bars in smoothies as a binder/protein base. It’s great for when you leave the granola bar package open and they are a little stale, but you don’t want to throw them out. :-)

  48. Hey Matt,
    I hope you still respond to old posts. I have gone through three blenders in the past month. I want one that’s strong and can handle making a daily smoothie. What blender do you use/what would you recommend?

    Thank you!

  49. I have just found this website. I am a runner but always used conventional protein sources. Can you help me with this? A personal trainer friend of mine said “The three protein sources hemp, pea, brown rice must be taken together otherwise on their own they are not complete proteins like whey powder.” Is this true as I have just cut out on meat, dairy and wheat and have just been taking Hemp protein powder and felt fine but the comment bothers me? Thanks, this website is so inspiring! (New Zealand)

  50. @Jessica: Hands down – get a Vitamix! Pricey but the motor wont burn out. Costco has sales every now and again. Soups, sauces, smoothies, ground nuts, seeds, flours of all kinds in minutes. Think of it as a kitchen “tool” if it makes it hurt less, but after my husband bugged me again and again, I finally gave in to this new “toy” and I’m the one who loves it most!

  51. the big hold-back for smoothie making wasn’t the recipe, it was cleaning the blender afterwards. i recently transitioned to a cuisinart hand-held (there’s only 1 part to wash instead of the 5 on the regular blender). it’s been life-changing!

  52. Hey There!

    What is your opinion on ready made vegan shakes like VegaOne, for example….

    I dig the raw vibe most days, but I find having both available is a nice option.

    Thanks for your input! And thanks for the site–it is much needed and very helpful.

    Kate

  53. My family just recently got a Vita Mix (after 6 years of wanting and wishing!) so we have been drinking lots of smoothies. I appreciate the break down of how to build a great smoothie. Some of our favorite items to include are frozen grapes and frozen cranberries as well as all the other fruits mentioned. We have noticed that when I add chia seeds, the smoothies don’t separate as much, which means my daughter and I can mix a batch of smoothies for lunch and Da gets to have some when he gets home from school, without it looking all gross and separated.

    Tonight I made a huge bowl of chopped salad (romane lettuce, kale, spinach, onions, carrots, cabbage, celery and radishes), which I ended up being the only one in the mood for it. So, I whipped up a smoothie with lots of fruits and threw in a huge handful of the chopped salad for the kiddo and hubby. They both happily “ate” their salad then :)

  54. I’ve been using this recipe for my smoothies for the last week and LOVE it…thank you!! It’s unreal how long this holds me over before I start getting hungry again. Taking your advice, I’ve been having enormous salads for lunch too, and many times I’m not even hungry for dinner. This change is a welcome complement to my gradual start to barefoot running too. :-)

  55. Been using this receipe for breakfast all week. I figured i would try to just have the smoothie for breakfast for a week and see how my body would react. I bought brown rice protein as well as flax seed – neither of which is as bad as I expected once it is all mixed into the drink with some strawberry/bannana. I also used cashew butter which was interesting but still come out tasting surprisingly decent.

    I am not feeling hungry for several hours afterwards so it seems to be doing well. Do you guys use a smoothie as a full meal on a regular basis?

    • I start pretty much every day with a smoothie. I tend to eat another meal around midmorning, usually something starchier like a bagel with hummus or almond butter. Smoothie is such a way to get a bunch of stuff for the day right away in the first meal! Glad it’s working for you.

  56. Rainbow says:

    Nice hearing all the experiences with smoothies. I am amazed at how little ingredients it takes to make a big amount! I am going to try having a smoothie every day for two weeks to see how it helps my body. I am very healthy already but, I really don’t get enough greens so am adding the green smoothie (spinach and kale) to fruits: pineapple(with core),strawberries(with hull),lime (with peel)~ (slice)~I do have a vitamix and LOVE it. QUESTION: even using small amounts makes at least four cups of green smoothie; is it okay to use over two days? right now, way too much for me to drink all of it…oh, also, I added salba seeds to this, to start, 1 tsp. Like the suggestions people made, ie. yogurt! thank you. Good health to all. R.

    • Hmm… I’ve left smoothies in the fridge for a day or so. Depending on what you put in it, it might gel up (flaxseed and chia both have this property), which makes it kind of gross. But I think as far as nutrition goes you won’t lose all that much by leaving it in the fridge for a day in a covered container.

  57. Doug English says:

    I’ve read almost all of tbe comments in this thread and did not see any reference to Quinoa as a source of protein. Anyone use it?

  58. I love to add cooked beets and the water I used for cooking the beets (chilled after cooking) — makes for a gorgeous jewel-like color smoothie.

    @ those concerned about making too much smoothie: I usually make enough for 2 – 3 servings and just store the extra in the fridge (mason jars are ideal for grab and go extra portions!)

    @ Doug regarding quinoa — If I have cooked quinoa (or other whole grains) in the fridge, I like to add them to my smoothies. In addition to packing a punch of protein and fiber, they add density/thickness (you therefore may need to add extra liquid)

    Thanks everyone — and especially Matt — for the great tips and inspiration.

  59. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for this! I have tried DIY smoothies in the past, but if I got much more fancy than “Banana, berries, & almond milk” things started to fall apart. So I started following recipes, but I never seem to have all the ingredients on hand, so eventually I went back to eating oatmeal.

    This morning I went through your formula and threw in whatever I had – a frozen banana, a fresh peach, a scoop of Arbonne chocolate protein shake mix (I don’t have any protein powder but that stuff has been ignored on my shelf for at least a year and a half & is vegan, so in it went), flax seeds, coconut oil, four big dinosaur kale leaves from the garden and some water. It looked about as awful as you would expect when blending orange, green and brown foods together but it tasted AMAZING. I drank both servings.

    Thanks for the delicious breakfast!

  60. Thanks Matt! and everyone else for your comments too! Now, after reading through everything, I still don’t see a resolution to the not using whey protein? I understand if that isn’t something you want to start a big topic on, maybe could you point me toward your sources and I can review more myself?

  61. many ingredients we don’t have locally, but I use oat milk which is totally vegen or kefir…
    we can’t buy any frozen fruit here at all…shame
    and the fresh blueberrys & raspberrys are very expensive !

  62. How many servings does this recipe provide? Usually it’s just me drinking the smoothie, and I don’t want to end up with a family-sized portion!

    Thanks. :)

  63. I think this smoothie/salad approach is very practical advice for anyone who does not have the time or inclination to get down to the nutritional nitty gritty or take on a more “disciplined” vegan/vegetarian diet… and it’s very affirming to find someone espousing exactly what i have been telling everyone i know, after my years of studying all the angles of nutritional knowledge THANKS! … if anyone doubts the merits of good nutrition (if you are on this site, you probly dont) but, my great grandfather is a testament to a long term plant based diet… he lived independently & disease free until about 98… then died of old age at 104… while his daughter died at 85 & spent the last 5 years in a dazed state of dimentia… his grandson died at 70.. when you turn 70 or 80 you will likely want to continue on a little while longer & if you do, you’ll want to enjoy the same quality of life that my great grandfather did… he is my reason for adopting a plant based diet & banning junk at age 40.

  64. Any suggestions on a protein powder that doesn’t taste like chalky, protein yuk? I have been using greek yogurt in my smoothies which I love but could use more protein. I hate the taste of protein powder.

  65. So would this be a ‘perfect’ formula for a post-workout smoothie or pre?

    Thanks!
    -Zosia

  66. Absolutely love making smoothies! Awesome advice here. I have a question though. Would you ever recommend a juice cleanse? Have you tried one and do you think it is beneficial?

  67. doesnt the coconut oil harden? i know its solid at most temps below 65 F, I would think cold fruit would cause some chunkiness

  68. Wait!! Where is Kale?? Why is this not on the superfood/green list? I love smoothies and recently been trying to have one per day. My fave would have to be strawberries and kale!!

  69. Hi Matt, My husband and I live in tropical Queensland and we love smoothies. Our favourite is mango,passion fruit and ice cream. great to have as we sit on our balconey overlooking the ocean. Its a great way to feel full without eating.

  70. Are psyllium seed husks considered a binder?

  71. I absolutely love the idea of the “formula” – it’s perfect for making a smoothie (or energy bars, since I saw that one too) out of what you already have rather than not knowing what to do when you’re missing something on a specific recipe. Should you get the chance, think about making a “superfood salad” formula? I get so overwhelmed with all the different variations of grains, proteins, dressing components (and proportions!), etc, that a “formula” version for that would be wonderful (and I think you might just be the guy for the job!).

  72. Kristin says:

    Awesome post! I couldn’t afford a Vitamix or Blendtec, but got a Ninja Mega Kitchen System for Mother’s Day and it includes single serve cups which are AWESOME! Exactly the right size for 1 smoothie (I just cut your formula in half). Right now I’m enjoying my banana/berry/hemp/super greens/coconut oil/honey/water/chia seed smoothie!

    P.S. Going meat-free has been in the back of my mind as a possibility for a while now, and I’m pretty sure stumbling upon your blog helped convince me to take the plunge. ;) I’ve been a vegetarian for over 2 weeks now and am never going back!

    • I’m looking for a good blender that doesn’t cost 500 bucks, any ideas? I’ve heard mixed reviews on the ninja. I’m using a Wal-Mart blender now, it does fine but leaves things a little chunky.

      • Kristin says:

        The older versions of the Ninja were okay, but the new Ninja Mega 1500 is really amazing. I use the single serve cups every.single.morning. I also use the food processor and mini-prep bowls for hummus, bean dip, salad dressing, salsa, cookie dough, pizza crust … the list could go on and on.

        Just be sure to get the kitchen system that has “1500” in the title (it’s the newest one and has the same horsepower as the Vitamix). Best deal is at Bed Bath & Beyond since it comes with the single serve cups and you can use a 20% off coupon. :)

  73. crystal says:

    This article is great…. I highly recommend adding some greens to that formula!

  74. Question about the Oil ingredient. Seems like adding oil adds calories. What is the benefit? Many smoothie recipes don’t include an oil – why does yours?

    Thanks,

    Amanda

  75. My personal recipe (for the moment, I change it up every now and again):
    6 ice cubes
    1 tbsp flax meal
    1/4 cup Hemp protein (I use the Manitoba Hemp Pro 50)
    1/2 cup black beans (rinsed very well)
    1 good handful of fresh Kale, ripped up, stems and all – spinach if there’s no kale
    1/2 avocado
    1/2 cup fresh brewed coffee (I know, I should change this to almond milk …)

    No, it’s not sweet by any means, but Kale has become my favorite thing this year, and I’ve never really had a sweet tooth. Even before changing my diet, I was the guy that scraped the icing off a tiny piece of cake so I could eat the cake – and even that was often too much sugar.

    I’ve been looking for a better binder here though. That avocado and flax meal do pretty well when it’s a bigger avocado, but it seems a little soupy if it’s a small one, and the whole thing makes it a little too thick. I think they also provides a decent source of healthy oils, but not too much.

    I used to put cinnamon in there, but only 1/4 tsp – I learned that it needs to be used sparingly, since it contains a compound called coumarin, which as most will guess is a natural form of the blood thinner coumadin. 2 tsp a day may be getting into the risky zone, so I recommend caution. Once I started changing my diet and using cinnamon at the 1/4 tsp level on a daily basis, I started having trouble with vertigo again, so I stopped and haven’t had it since – not sure if it’s related, just saying.

    BTW, I’m not vegan, but I have drastically reduced my meat intake and pretty much quit all dairy (meat, dairy, and all processed foods together probably make up less than 3% of my total diet now – salad is the main course. Since I make my own pizza most of the time, this usually means grabbing a bushel of basil from the garden and making pesto. Great with sauteed shitake and carmelized onion.

    Will I ever be totally vegan? No idea. I’m just on a journey to be healthy for the time being.

    Cheers!

  76. How about a formula for green smoothies? Getting fruits is easy–it’s the greens that I find more challenging in larger amounts.

  77. I love this post! I did a 30 Day Challenge where I followed the smoothie-for-breakfast, salad-for-lunch plan and posted the results here:
    http://beesandapples.blogspot.com/2014/02/30-day-challenge-completed.html

    Thanks so much!

  78. Giselle says:

    My smoothies have been hit or miss… And I just made a smoothie using this formula and will never look back!!! Creamy, nutrient packed and absolutely delicious. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for sharing this.

  79. Hiya, I’ve been trying to have smoothies for breakfasts and I’ve hit a bit of a wall too, mainly because I’m trying to include more veggies than fruit in mine because of all the sugar.

    I know eating fruit is better than eating processed stuff, and definitely better than refined sugar, but what’s your view on this please?

    I love your blog, only recently started following it when I was linked by the Oh She Glows blog but it’s brilliant.

  80. Just reading about making the perfect smoothie made my mouth water. And you are right it is overwhelming when it comes to what to put in a smoothie especially with the NutriBullet’s gained popularity. I like that there certain things that need to go into a smoothie such as a binding ingredient. When I make my protein shake in the morning after my workout, I usually put in water or almond milk, ice cubes, a banana, peanut butter and my protein powder. I like to switch up my protein powder but they are all vegan proteins. With these guidelines, I feel as though I can make shakes that I will love to have in the morning more than I do now.

  81. Okay Mr. Matt,
    Can you talk to me about protein powders? You said you don’t recommend whey for long term use… I have been doing a smoothie almost every day after I workout and use a grass fed whey protein. In the past I have used vegan protein… but just started doing whey consistently. Can you share some protein wisdom? Thanks!

  82. Tracie Mucha says:

    Matt, this is brilliant! Tried this out for the first time this morning with great results! I omitted the sugar and oil, and it still came out fantastic! Thanks for putting this together!

  83. Thank you so much. I now “get it”. Tried one variation and it was superbly delicious. I felt like a genius! Thanks for taking the guess work out. :)

  84. I love this smoothies! I got into the habit of having something like this most mornings.

    Recently, I decided to track my daily calories for a couple of weeks. Can somebody help with a calorie estimation for these smoothies per serving? I’m aware the calories will depend on what exactly you use in your smoothie but I’m just looking for a rough estimation.

    Thanks!

  85. It is my first time to know that eating salad and drinking a smoothie every single day will not allow me to get fat. I am not fun of drinking smoothie but since I really want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I would try the recipe you’ve given. Thanks for sharing!

  86. I heard much about Paleo diet and being a vegeterian I have gone through different website and books. I find “Paleo vegetarian.com a start up guide and am planning to start from tomorrow. Going thru all the smooties for a breakfast, your smoothie formula has few ingrediants which are not in Paleo list like Oats and honey. Please guide me if I can add them in my daily intake. Secondly, what are the Paleo list for Protien to subtitute egg. Thanks

  87. Great approach to this topic. Especially relating to those that might normally mess up smoothies. I enjoy the fruit smoothies, but normally make veggie smoothies with Kale and a few other greens. Great detox and great workout recovery.

Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Christopher Robbins, Matt Frazier, Angela Peters, Tom Samworth, amanda with a Z and others. amanda with a Z said: mmmm, smoothies. RT @NoMeatAthlete The Perfect Smoothie Formula! http://bit.ly/gZQzkY […]

  2. […] of ice cubes – just enough to chill it. Stick in blender and enjoy! (Or you can check out The Perfect Smoothie Formula & come up with your own […]

  3. […] looking for a meal replacement drink, this isn’t it. But Matt at No Meat Athlete has the perfect smoothie formula for […]

  4. […] out this post from “No Meat Athlete” on the perfect smoothie formula. There are lots of great […]

  5. […] throw random ingredients in a blender and press start. I’ll make up for this giving you the Perfect Smoothie Formula (from one of my fav blog ever, it will make you want to start to run now!). Let’s go crazy […]

  6. […] “That’s hard to do.” and “That seems a little extreme.”  (Yes, it seems that way at first.  Like anything else you do, it gets easier with practice.  Master a few basic vegan recipes, then take the time to learn one new recipe a week.  Do you know how to roast or saute vegetables?  Yeah, I thought so.  Then you know a vegan recipe.  Do you own a blender or food processor?  Check out the smoothie genome project.) […]

  7. […] followed Matt Frazier’s formula, using half a frozen banana, strawberries, almond oil, oats, chia seeds, soy milk, vanilla protein […]

  8. […] with mixed results (frozen spinach is a NO in my book!).  I was very excited when I came across this blog post on No Meat Athlete, which gives ingredient suggestions and tells you the exact quantities to use. […]

  9. […] made one solid and consistent change that has now become a habit. I read a post at NoMeatAthlete on how to make a good smoothie. I took Matt’s recipe and started making a smoothie every morning. I’ve replaced my […]

  10. […] * Lipman protein smoothie * Greena-colada * the perfect smoothie formula […]

  11. […] after reading NoMeatAthlete’s perfect smoothie formula I was determined I could master the equation. Seems pretty easy, from Matt’s […]

  12. […] The perfect smoothie formula (Eric) […]

  13. […] are my usual breakfast, though I’ll sometimes have oatmeal or eggs for variety. I follow this algorithm, though most of the time it comes down to water or rice milk, banana, frozen blueberries, spinach, […]

  14. […] The perfect smoothie formula (Eric) […]

  15. […] you overwhelmed by smoothie options? Here’s a formula to inspire you. I’m actually kind of proud that my go-to smoothie follows this, though I don’t add any […]

  16. […] be afraid to try out different things. While searching around, I ran into NoMeathAthelete’s more comprehensive post, but you can read that later once you’ve tried out my […]

  17. […] it’s a smoothie (almost every day), and after I’m finished with that I drink some green tea (or sometimes […]

  18. […] based my “formula” of of No Meat Athlete’s great blog post about smoothies. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Tags bikram, bikram yoga, breakfast, health, healthy, […]

  19. […] before use, to remove the bitter coating). The site also offers a great instruction sheet for a perfect smoothie plus lots of other simple delicious […]

  20. […] often get asked how I make my green smoothies and I loved this simple explanation and formula for Creating the Perfect Smoothie by the No Meat […]

  21. […] A. I have a smoothie formula. Instead of saying exactly what to put in you can look at what you have in your cabinet and modify it to fit the things you already own.  I like to use spinach, almond butter, coconut oil, ice water. Not to crazy. Chia seeds, and flax seeds as a base. Sometimes I also like to use pumpkin seeds for iron, because a lot of the time people who are vegetarian are low in iron.  Check it out at my website: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/the-perfect-smoothie-formula/ […]

  22. […] For more ideas and to avoid any nasty smoothie fails, check out this great post on the Perfect Smoothie Formula. […]

  23. […] lots of great resources for starting your Green Drink Adventure. An awesome one to start with is No Meat Athlete’s Perfect Smoothie Formula. The formula results in the perfect texture, and gives you some room to play around with lots of […]

  24. […]  Hello, Smoothie!  But what to put in the smoothie?  EVERYTHING (see below)!  I consulted No Meat Athlete’s perfect smoothie recipe, and then went wild.  I’m not vegan so I’m using BiPro protein powder – it’s […]

  25. […] What are your go to energy foods and drinks? MF: A Smoothie every morning with lots of seeds, fruits, and vegetables, and fresh, whole dates while I […]

  26. […] How to make a smoothie: yummy […]

  27. […] smoothies for each other depending on who has to leave for work earlier. We found this amazing smoothie formula on one of my new favorite websites and I like it because it allows us to mix up the fruits and […]

  28. […] Après plus de 8 mois d’un régime sans viande, je me sens mieux que jamais. Mon niveau d’énergie est beaucoup plus stable durant la journée et j’ai constamment l’impression que je pourrais partir m’entraîner, peu importe le moment de la journée. Jamais de feeling de trop-plein qui accompagnait mes après-repas lorsque je mangeais des animaux morts. À mes repas végé,  j’ai ajouté depuis quelques temps des smoothies  variés et faits d’ingrédients de première qualité qui remplacent parfois un repas ou en supplément après un entraînement intense. Pour les intéressés, voici un site détaillant une recette «adaptable» du smoothies parfait. […]

  29. […] Learn the Framework of “The Perfect Smoothie” by Matt Frazier from his website here: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/the-perfect-smoothie-formula/ […]

  30. […] Week 3 of the program cuts out fruit too for a little while, so I’m going to have to come up with a new recipe for then. For smoothie ideas, there’s a great formular to follow at: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/the-perfect-smoothie-formula/ […]

  31. […] you’re still dehydrated. After your workout is over, combine nutrients and hydration with a smoothie made with fresh fruits, vegetables and protein powder. Continue to drink water throughout the day […]

  32. […] to you will ensure a tasty result, as will a fail-proof smoothie formula. Matt Frazier has an awesome guide on his website No-Meat Athelete, but following a recipe will almost guarantee fantastic results. […]

  33. […] Here are three of my favorite, most frequently used smoothie recipes. Once you learn the ratios and combos that work best for you, you can mix and match off the base recipe or just use up what you have in […]

  34. […] sowohl ein Kapitel mit etwa 50 unkomplizierten Rezepten (darunter auch Matts beliebte Formeln für Smoothies und Energy-Riegel), als auch Trainingspläne für 5 und 10 Kilometer-Läufe oder einen […]

  35. […] far, Matt has written formulas for smoothies, energy bars, and veggie burgers. And I’ll be spending a good chunk of my free time playing […]

  36. […] http://www.nomeatathlete.com/the-perfect-smoothie-formula/ This is a good source for how to make the best healthiest smoothie and some information about my goal for the month of January.  […]

  37. […] This is the formula I base my smoothies on: http://www.nomeatathlete.com/the-perfect-smoothie-formula/ […]

  38. […] your go-to smoothie even better with the Perfect Smoothie formula from No Meat […]

  39. […] got two or three hours before your workout, go ahead and eat something substantial — say, a fruit smoothie with either some nut butter or protein powder (I usually use hemp), a wrap with hummus and veggies, […]

  40. […] Smoothies and salads are a daily must. Two of his staples are a morning smoothie and an afternoon salad. His blog and book offer recipes for both, and they’re tailored to […]

  41. […] the octillion smoothie recipes on the internet, I’ll just point you to Matt Frazier’s amazing Perfect Smoothie Formula—life just got 1000x […]

  42. […] anderem für seine Rezept-Formeln bekannt: Auf seinem Blog findet ihr Formeln für Energieriegel, Smoothies und eben für das perfekte Rezept – er nennt es A Grain, a Green, and a Bean. Wie der Name […]

  43. […] noticed throughout this series that I’ve included links to specific recipes and to flexible formulas. Both have their perks. Recipes allow cooks of any level create something spectacular, even if the […]

  44. […] a smoothie and eat a salad every day – This is something I first read about in this post from No Meat Athlete, and it really makes sense. I’ve been implementing this (though not […]

  45. […] lentils and rice or homemade naan, or a huge salad with beans and a homemade, nut-based dressing. A raw smoothie each morning of fruit, ground nuts and seeds, and a few leaves of kale. People often wonder how […]

  46. […] Here’s the best smoothie formula I’ve ever found; adapting it to suit two people’s tastes is dead easy. Simply: […]

  47. […] with the perfect smoothie formula (to great success so […]

  48. […] submissions and situationals. I fueled all that with No Meat Athlete’s Perfect Smoothie and wholegrain mixed berry pancakes adapted from Oh She Glows. Generally, I subscribe to the […]

  49. […] extra attention to workout fuel. I began the day with a smoothie based on the No Meat Athlete formula. I supplemented Matt Frazier’s formula with a huge handful of greens for both nutrition and […]

  50. […] I just love this website: No Meat Athlete […]

  51. […] provides several great formulas, all of which I’ve tested myself and loved. Here’s one for smoothies, another for energy bars and another for veggie […]

  52. […] Here’s the best smoothie formula I’ve ever found. A few days before the fest, make one smoothie for each morning you’ll be there, then freeze it in a BPA-free bottle or a Lock n’ Lock container (don’t fill them up all the way, as the smoothies will expand). Pack them up in a cooler with those blue freeze packs, and you’re good to go. Keep the cooler closed at all other times, and you should only have to buy ice once, about midway through the festival. Bonus points if you take a multivitamin each morning, as well! […]

  53. […] simple approach to physical health: for years I followed this routine that I read about on No Meat Athlete. I had a smoothie for breakfast, a big salad for lunch, and more or less whatever I wanted for […]

  54. […] each time.  This is why you need the perfect smoothie formula.  The following smoothie recipe by Matt Frazier is enough for 2 […]

  55. […] Meat Athlete has a recipe to make the perfect smoothie blend with any kind of fruit/veggie you […]

  56. […] breakfast nearly every day is a smoothie. My current smoothie is delicious and simple. It follows this awesome formula, and my ingredients are 1/2 frozen banana, handful of fruit (usually mixed berries or mango), flax […]

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