5 Ways to Take Your Smoothie from Good To Deeeeelicious!

Getting bored of the same old smoothie day after day? I don’t blame you. Variety is the spice of life! Here are some ideas to get out of your smoothie rut and go from good to deeeelicious!

Natural Thickener

Bananas are one of the most popular ways to thicken a smoothie, but they are not the only way! If you are like me and you enjoy a milkshake-like consistency then you have more options, aside from bananas. Plus the fact, it’s becoming more and more common to have a banana food sensitivity (SAD FACE) Here are some great options for thicker consistency:

  • Ripe avocado.
  • Kefir: A fermented product often referred to as the “champagne of yogurts”. Most commonly found at grocery stores is cow’s milk kefir, higher in bacteria and far more digestible than your standard cow’s milk yogurt. Be sure to buy organic. Now if you are sensitive to dairy, you can use coconut kefir instead. Here’s a recipe on how to make coconut kefir, or you can buy it at most health food stores.
  • Oats
  • Nut butter: Almond, sunflower seed butter, pumpkin seed butter, coconut butter (different than coconut oil).
  • When in doubt, add ice. Make sure your ice cubes are always made from filtered water.

Superfoodify it!

You can really up the ante on your smoothie when you add nutritonal superstars to boost the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Here are some of my favourite ways to superfoodify a smoothie:

  • Bee pollen: B-vitamins, amino acids, immuno-building properties, enzymes.
  • Acai or camu camu powder: Mega-watt dose of antioxidants including vitamin C and anthocyanins, omega 3 fatty acids including both oleic and linoleic acids.
  • Greens powder: As you might have guessed, since it is on my Joyous Approved page, Greens+O is my fave greens powder which boasts 6 servings of veggies in one scoop! Plus it’s the most clinically researched greens food supplement on the market. It’s been around 20 years — tried, tested and true.
  • Raw cacao nibs: My fave brand is Giddy Yoyo. They are raw, wild and heirloom — can’t get much better than that when it comes to raw chocolate.
  • Hemp seeds
  • Matcha powder
  • Maca root powder: More details here.
  • Goji berries: Immuno boosting, extremely high in vitamin C.
  • Pomegranate powder or seeds: Per above.
  • Spirulina: At 62% protein this blue-green algae is an amino acid wonder!
  • And of course, protein powder — an essential smoothie component. I prefer plant-based protein powder blends. Here’s a great post from guest blogger Adam on Choosing A Protein Powder.

Naturally sweeten it

  • Fruit
  • Raw honey: A wonderful all natural sweetener full of nutrition — B vitamins, enzymes, amino acids.
  • Real maple dark syrup (in moderation of course)
  • Stevia (grow the leaves yourself or use a liquid). This is my favourite herbal zero-calorie sweetener that will have no effect on your blood sugar. Use 5-10 drops — add slowly and give it a taste test.
  • Spices: Cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, peppermint, vanilla
  • Dates: Full of fibre, use 2 pitted dates per serving.

Milk, but please not cow’s milk!

Here are a variety of options!

  • Coconut water. Next time you are at the grocery store, buy a coconut and use a Chef’s knife to carefully chop off the top of the coconut for the freshest coconut water ever. Waaaay better than the pasteurized stuff you get in a carton.
  • Pomegranate juice or any dark berry organic juice with no additives in a glass bottle.
  • Nut milks: Almond or coconut. If you don’t make it yourself, look for brands that have as little additives and possible. Try and avoid carraageenan.
  • Seed milks: Flaxseeds, hemp (my fave)!

Fibre and REAL FOOD

The bulk of your smoothie should be fresh fruits and veggies. Frozen is fine too. Chose organic for the “dirty dozen“.

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen dark berries
  • 1 cup of spinach or kale
  • 1/2 cup tropical fruit — make sure you have protein and good fat in your smoothie to balance the sugar in tropical fruit
  • Sprouted chia and flax. Organic Traditions is my fave sprouted chia/flax mix.

Here are 5 smoothies all in one convenient post: http://www.joyoushealth.ca/2013/01/14/5-smoothie-recipes/

Joy McCarthy

Joy McCarthy is the vibrant Holistic Nutritionist behind Joyous Health. Author of JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat & Live Well without Dieting, professional speaker, nutrition expert on Global’s Morning Show, Faculty Member at Institute of Holistic Nutrition and co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well. Read more...

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  • personally, I can’t have bananas in my smoothies, they are SO overpowering! I prefer to use kefir, avocado and/or plain yogurt to thicken it up. I keep some yogurt and kefir in the freezer to add in if I don’t want to use ice cubes.
    and i always use a small scoop of maca root powder too!

  • I’m interested in more info on ‘sad face’. (Banana intolerance?)

    If you know of anything? I’ve not heard this expression before.


    • It’s becoming more and more common that people are developing sensitivities to banana. They can be mucus forming as well. The “sad face” was a figure of speech, meaning, it’s disappointing.

  • Hi Joy,

    I’m looking forward to making different smoothie combos from the ingredients you’ve suggested!

    I recently purchased Greens+O and did not realize until I got home that the package says it should not be used if taking fish oil or other “health products that affect blood coagulation.” I have previously taken spirulina and other ingredients listed on the back while taking fish oil + Vitamin D, and did not notice any issues… Are you supposed to only take one or the other, or is it simply a precautionary measure incase people are taking blood thinners for larger health issues?


  • Hi Joy!

    What do you think of Irish Moss
    as a natural thickener for smoothies?
    I haven’t tried it before and I’ve been wondering about it.


  • Hi Joy: I’d like to know what’schoise: For instance, Fibre and real food is one or both ingredients? Excuse-me I’m from Brazil and I’donn’t speak English. I really appreciate your site. Thank’s so much. Sonia Regina.

    • No problem! When I say “fibre and real food”, I’m referring to this list of ingredients: 1/2 cup fresh or frozen dark berries
      1 cup of spinach or kale
      1/2 cup tropical fruit — make sure you have protein and good fat in your smoothie to balance the sugar in tropical fruit
      Sprouted chia and flax. Organic Traditions is my fave sprouted chia/flax mix.

  • Hi, Joy!
    Next to your point on nut milks, you mention trying to avoid carrageenan. This is an ingredient that I have been researching and I am having a hard time sifting through the conflicting information about it being used in foods and also in personal care products (toothpaste, etc.). Some reputable sites claim that it is safe, others seem to take a more cautious approach to its use… I am noticing carrageenan more and more on labels, so I’d love to hear your take on this ingredient!

    Thank you, and thank you also for your website! I have made many positive changes for my family with the information you provide! :)