4 Tips for Making Healthy Breakfast Smoothies
Medically Reviewed by Carolin Schneider, MD
You’ve probably seen lots of recipes for breakfast smoothies — they can be a simple and tasty time-saver on busy mornings. But is a liquid breakfast the right way to go? Check out these four tips to make a breakfast smoothie with the nutrition you need to start your day.
Follow These Tips to Make Healthy Breakfast Smoothies
Smoothies can be a great way to get your fruits and veggies first thing in the morning — but some shakes and smoothies can leave you feeling hungry again soon after. For example, a carb-heavy smoothie made with only fruits won’t fill you up like a solid breakfast.
So how can you make a smoothie that will keep you feeling full longer and avoid the dreaded midmorning sugar crash? The trick is to choose ingredients with a healthy balance of carbs, fats, protein and fiber.
1. Skip the Added Sugars — Use Whole Fruits Instead
Store-bought breakfast shakes and smoothies usually have a lot of added sugar. Check the label on store-bought shakes and ask about the nutrition info when ordering from a restaurant or coffee shop. Or make your breakfast shakes at home, so you know all the ingredients.
And beware of so-called “natural” or “healthy” added sugars, like honey, raw sugar, maple syrup or agave syrup. These are still added sugars that increase the calories in a smoothie without adding any other nutrients — so it’s best to skip them or use only a very small amount.
If you like a sweet breakfast, use whole fruits as a sweetener instead! Fresh or frozen whole fruits are a great way to add some sweetness to your shake or smoothie — but unlike added sugars, whole fruits also give you a healthy dose of vitamins and fiber. Berries and bananas are both good options to sweeten your drink.
2. Pump Up the Protein
No meal is complete without some protein — even a breakfast smoothie. Protein helps you feel full longer and provides the long-lasting energy you need to get through your day.
Yogurt is a popular way to get some protein in your breakfast drink. If you don’t eat dairy, soy or other plant-based yogurts can work, too. Or try throwing some peanut, almond or cashew butter in the blender — nuts are another healthy protein source.
3. Add a Healthy Fat
Fat is another important part of a balanced meal, and it can help make your smoothie more satisfying. Avocados and nuts are quick, easy ways to add some healthy unsaturated fats to your breakfast shake. Some people also like adding full-fat yogurt or coconut milk to up the fat content in their smoothies. Flaxseed oil is another good option, since it’s high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Go for High Fiber
If you want to feel full for hours after breakfast, fiber is the way to go! Leafy greens, cucumber, avocado and whole fruits are all good ways to increase the fiber in your smoothie. Or you can throw in some flax seeds or chia seeds — these can help thicken your shake and are high in healthy fiber.
- “The Influence of a Fruit Smoothie or Cereal and Milk Breakfast on Subsequent Dietary Intake” via International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
- “Consumption of a Smoothie or Cereal-Based Breakfast: Impact on Thirst, Hunger, Appetite and Subsequent Dietary Intake” via International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
- A Comparison of the Satiety Effects of a Fruit Smoothie, Its Fresh Fruit Equivalent and Other Drinks” via Nutrients
- “Breakfast in Human Nutrition: The International Breakfast Research Initiative” via Nutrients