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Using Fats and Flavors in Your Smoothies

Go beyond the fruit and veg.

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Who says smoothies are only for fruits and vegetables? If you’re looking to maximize nutritional value, make sure to include smoothie add-ins of fats and protein. These will also increase satiety, ensuring your smoothie is as satisfying as it is delicious. Find out Elyse’s favorite healthy additions, below.

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Part of the Mastering Meal Prep with Elyse Kopecky video series. Learn more smoothie how-tos here:


Read transcript, below.


You don’t need a recipe to make smoothies. You can save a ton of time by just whipping up a smoothie, using whatever you have on hand. We already talked about some of my favorite vegetables, and we talked about some of my favorite fruits to include in smoothies, but you always want to include protein and fat to maximize your smoothie. Your smoothie will be a lot hardier and more filling and satisfying if you add fat and proteins.

The basic formula I always follow for smoothies is about one cup of frozen fruit, about a half a cup of chopped steamed or raw vegetables, a couple tablespoons of nut butter, a couple tablespoons of seeds, like hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds. I like to sweeten up my smoothies a little bit with a few dates. Dairy can be hard to digest for a lot of runners, but whole milk yogurt, because of the probiotics, is a lot easier to digest. So I always add about half a cup of yogurt into our family-sized smoothies.

There’s some other ingredients that I love to incorporate into smoothies. If you don’t have nut milk on hand, you can just add whole raw cashews. You can soak them overnight if you want, it makes them a little bit easier to digest and a little bit softer. But if you have a high-speed blender, you don’t even have to soak them. You can just toss some cashews in there or cashew butter. That’s going to add a lot of creaminess to your smoothie.

I love to add seeds into smoothies. Hemp seeds are incredibly high in omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp hearts or hulled hemp seeds are something I add by the spoonful to all of my smoothies. They are one of my favorite superpower ingredients; one of my go-to ingredients for athletes because of the omega-3 fatty acids, and because they’re surprisingly high in protein for such a tiny little seed. They’re expensive, but you get a lot of incredible amount of nutrients out of just adding a couple tablespoons of these to your smoothie.

And then pumpkin seeds blend up really well in smoothies. I love to add those for people who are avoiding nuts or are allergic to peanut butter or almond butter, you can make your smoothie rich and creamy with seeds instead of nuts. Of course, my kids’ favorite ingredient that I add in smoothies is peanut butter. You can use almond butter. If you want less strong of a flavor. They like to taste the peanut butter, so for the kids, I add a couple tablespoons of peanut butter.

Other ways to add fat into your smoothies would be adding like coconut—virgin coconut oil or avocado, but you definitely want to include a fat in your smoothie. And then the last thing you’re going to need for a smoothie is a liquid. I like to use a mix of water and coconut water. If I’m also adding the yogurt, it already has that creaminess. If I’m not doing yogurt and I want to keep it dairy free, I add homemade almond milk or homemade cashew milk. It adds a ton of creamy richness and protein and fiber and fat and vitamins and minerals.