If you're anything like us, the only math you're interested in is counting the sheets of pasta in a 100-layer lasagna. But bear with us: We have an equation that's easy to memorize—and even easier to solve. The best part? The result is an endless amount of smoothie possibilities.
All you have to remember are the following variables: fruit + thickener + add-ins + liquid. Master this combination—plus a few basic guidelines—and you're on your way to smoothie domination.
Meet the players: You'll want to use about 1½ cups of fruit, and it's best when that fruit is frozen. And don't forget about your vegetables: Grating tougher ingredients like sweet potato and beets ahead of time makes them easier to blend, especially in the raw state. Thickeners like nut butters, chia seeds and even avocado are great binders, and add a dose of heart-healthy fats. The add-ins are where you can get creative. For our variations, we also suggest a bonus superfood ingredient. Last but not least, we default to unsweetened almond milk as our liquid for its neutral but good taste, but you can use whatever kind—dairy optional—you prefer. Just steer clear of juice, which can add excessive sweetness.
Stock your tool kit: You don't need the Rolls-Royce of blenders to make an acceptable drink. Less industrial ones, or even single-serve machines like a NutriBullet, do the trick at a fraction of the price. Besides, the real workhorse here is your freezer: Assemble individual bagged smoothie packs ahead of time to make mornings easier—and have breakfast made with half-opened eyes before your coffee is even done brewing.
Master the basics: Making a smoothie is a simple exercise in pressing the on button. Put all your ingredients into a blender and go to town. Add more liquid as necessary to loosen up thicker ingredients—but remember that while you can always add more liquid, it's tougher to blend out.
Now that you're stocked and ready to go, show off your smooth moves with these five colorful recipes.
① Make It Green
This morning go-to has it all: almond butter for staying power, avocado for silky texture and enough spinach to justify pizza for dinner. Turn the green factor up even more by adding spirulina, a verdant (and healthy) algae. Don't be put off by its unique smell—not all superfoods wear capes. The sweet banana will mask spirulina's earthy taste.
1 c spinach + 1 banana + ½ avocado + 1 tbsp almond butter + 1 c almond milk
② Make It Taste like Pie
Not that a slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast is unacceptable, but that's a habit generally reserved for November. Sweet potato and carrot shine here and seamlessly masquerade as breakfast, not that we would bat an eye if you added a dash of pumpkin pie spice. As a bonus, go for maca powder, a malty-flavored root that hails from Peru and is said to increase stamina . . . of all types.
½ c peeled, grated raw sweet potato + ½ grated carrot + 1 banana + 2 pitted dates + ¼ c walnuts + 1 c almond milk
③ Make It Tropical
You might feel tempted to add a shot of rum here—to which we say, it's never too early. Add coconut milk to complete the island theme, but stick with the cartoned stuff: It's lighter than canned, which will make your smoothie too thick. Turmeric keeps this blend glowing yellow, and for an added bonus, try bee pollen. It's a natural energy booster with a sweet-sour edge.
1 c pineapple + ½ c papaya + 1 tbsp chia seeds + ½ tsp turmeric + 1 c coconut milk
④ Make It Glow
This hyper-vibrant beet smoothie is thickened with protein-packed yogurt, brightened by orange juice and made mysteriously unique by a hint of spice. For superfood strength, add ashwagandha. It's a mighty ancient herb that's said to have a myriad of healing properties.
½ c grated raw beets + 1 c blueberries + ½ c plain Greek yogurt + 2 tbsp orange juice + ½ tsp ground ginger + ¼ tsp ground cardamom + 1 c almond milk
⑤ Make It Full of Berries
Toasted oats thicken this berry-heavy base while adding nutty flavor. Dried pomegranate seeds add a tanginess that complements the sweet cherries, but if you can't find them, complete a berry hat trick by adding antioxidant-rich goji berries.
1 c cherries + ½ c raspberries + ¼ c toasted oats + 1 tbsp dried pom seeds + 1 c almond milk