This morning our driveway was a solid sheet of ice. See?

But instead of lacing up my skates, I thought it was the perfect morning for a smoothie.

Or not.


I had one anyway. So I thought I’d share my favorite ingredients with you!

First up… frozen bananas.

They absolutely MUST be frozen. They give smoothies a creamy, ice-cream like consistency.

At the beginning of every week, I freeze a bunch of bananas. I slice them before freezing. They are easier to whip up that way.


Milk.

Oh yes… milk. Trust me, back in my heyday I used water for shakes. I don’t know what a heyday is and if I’ve even had one, but I’ll tell you one thing: water mixed with protein powder? That is not a way to live. At least not for me. Give me the goods! My three favorite milks are cow’s skim, unsweetened vanilla almond, or vanilla coconut. I only love the last two because of the vanilla flavor.


And speaking of vanilla…

Extracts make smoothies taste so delicious. It doesn’t have to be vanilla. But use one!


Creamy yogurt.

I love yogurt. I’ve been eating greek yogurt for years, with Fage still coming in at number one. This has taken the place of protein powder in my shakes. I’m pretty much over protein powder.


More frozen fruit.

I don’t always use it, but I love it when I do. My favorites are strawberries and cherries.


Gross greens.

Obviously, I don’t get enough vegetables through out the day. Even though I’m trying, it’s really not a secret. So I throw some in the shake and don’t taste them at all. Trust me, if I can’t… you won’t be able to either.


Nut butter.

Any kind will do. I don’t always add it, as it depends on my flavor combinations, but I love it. And it gives me some staying power.


Cocoa!

Because you can never have enough chocolate.


There you have it. Those are my favorite things for a delicious shake. If I had to pick one, I’d go with the frozen bananas. You just haven’t lived until you taste a smoothie with frozen bananas.

What is your must-have smoothie ingredient?

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106 Responses to “My Perfect Smoothie Ingredients.”

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    Jenn L @ Peas & Crayons — January 18, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

    slicing the bananas before freezing them is genius! I’ve been freezing whole bananas this entire time… oops! Best idea ever – thank you!

    Reply

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    Evan Thomas — January 18, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

    I don’t eat smoothies ever(just not a fan), but if I did it would include pb, cocoa, and banana like yours. Oh, and ice cream. I guess that makes it a milkshake, which is why I don’t eat smoothies :-)

    Reply

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    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — January 18, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

    All of your staples are my staples too! I recently bought some Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste from Williams Sonoma and it is perhaps my most favourite ingredient purchase in a long time! (Well, that and the raspberry vinegar I discovered on the weekend… definitely loved the lunch I ate today that featured it!) Spinach is also a bigggg mandatory ingredient for me, and sometimes I add a little peppermint extract – even though it’s not really Christmas season any more, I find it keeps me alert, as does maca root powder. I’m craving a Green Monster now!

    Reply

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    Victoria (District Chocoholic) — January 18, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

    I thought that I was the only person in the world who had a freezer with multiple snack-size ziplock bags of sliced bananas.

    Evidently, there are two of us in the world.

    Reply

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    Natalie @ While I Breathe — January 18, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

    I’ve always been scared to add the leafy green stuff to my shakes… I guess if you swear you can’t taste it I can give it a try… usually I stick to pb, strawberry, banana, yogurt and chocolate protein powder…

    Reply

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    Kelly — January 18, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

    Love that you are over protein powder…me too…I am thinking that more natural protein is a better way to go. My husband and I gave it up about a month ago and haven’t looked back!

    Reply

    • Katie — January 18th, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

      Me too! I have some in my cabinet, but I’d rather eat some hard boiled eggs as a snack. They taste SO much better too!

      Reply

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    Jess@atasteofconfidence — January 18, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    I need bananas!

    Reply

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    grace — January 18, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    i don’t even like banannas but i am tempted to try this combination! thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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    Erin — January 18, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

    I like the idea of frozen bananas. I use fresh, unfrozen. But if it’ll taste like ice cream I’ll definitely have to try that out! As for the greens in it. But if you say you can’t taste it, then I’ll try that out as well.

    Typically my perfect smoothie is very similar to yours: banana, cow’s milk or almond-vanilla milk, vanilla yogurt, frozen fruit (my favorite is black cherry), and sliced almonds.

    Reply

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    Rach — January 18, 2011 @ 8:13 pm

    Oooh! Thanks for the tip on slicing the bananas first! I hadn’t thought of that. :)

    My favorite smoothie combo is: peanut butter, banana, vanilla yogurt, soy milk, vanilla extract, and a dash of cinnamon. So tasty! :)

    Reply

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    Erin of Fit Mama Training — January 18, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

    Chia seeds! Another thing you’ll never taste. They form a gel in your stomach that makes you feel full for longer and are a great source of omega 3s.

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 18th, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

      I like chias too. Love their texture.

      Reply

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    Julianne — January 18, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

    I got a blender for Christmas and have been on a major smoothie kick. I love adding spinach to my smoothies and usually add a little flax too.

    Reply

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    Lindsay — January 18, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

    Frozen blueberries, almond milk, van protien powder, oats, spinach. Or Frozen bananas, almond milk, choco protien powder, nut butter, spinach. Or Frozen strawberries, almond milk, choco protien powder, oats, spinach.

    Reply

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    Bethany @Bridezilla Bakes — January 18, 2011 @ 8:18 pm

    There’s that vanilla again!!

    These pretty much sum up my favorite smoothie ingredients — although I really want to try adding oats soon!

    Reply

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    Holly — January 18, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

    That is why I love you….sometimes I feel like there is something wrong with me because I’m not all into protein powder?! I love my Fage 2% – that is good enough for me. :-)

    Reply

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    Lauren at KeepItSweet — January 18, 2011 @ 8:25 pm

    I use the chocolate amazing meal instead of protein powder and like it so much more. That almond milk is so key to getting it creamy!

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:12 am

      I do like Amazing Grass!

      Reply

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    Leah @ Why Deprive? — January 18, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

    I start EVERY morning with a smoothie and it must have spinach and bananas in it. My family thinks Im crazy, and my coworkers give me funny looks, but youre right. You totally dont taste the spinach.

    Reply

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    megan @ whatmegansmaking — January 18, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

    I agree about the frozen banana consistency – it’s amazing! I use all these things, except greek yogurt. I’m too cheap and we eat smoothies too often. I should probably start adding it though, I need more protein. Oh and I always add some other type of fruit – pears are good, peaches, blueberries, etc. yum :)

    Reply

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    Brittany @RebelRoadSister — January 18, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

    You have included all of the best ingredients! Yum!

    Reply

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    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — January 18, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

    My favorite is banana, spinach, and soy milk. An oldie but a goodie :D Do you use a vitamix for your smoothies or just a regular blender?? Because I have a regular one and I find it really hard to break down frozen bananas in it.

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:11 am

      No Vitamix here. I would rather get a pair of $600 shoes than a Vita! My blender actually broke too, so I just use a magic bullet blender. The bananas break up fine after 30 seconds or so. Maybe because they are in slices?

      Reply

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    Gen — January 18, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

    This is so awesome! I was looking for smoothie ideas! Looove frozen bananas! I like to make a post-workout smoothie with milk, frozen bananas and instant coffee. The bananas sweeten and give texture to the smoothie, but because of the coffee, you don’t taste it. Its like a “good-for-you” coffee latte.

    Reply

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    Stephanie — January 18, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

    I cut mine up too! We buy 3 bunches of bananas every week. Half get cut up and frozen and half eaten throughout the week. You pretty much just nailed my favorite smoothie. This month I have traded the yogurt back to the protein powder since I’m all raw but seriously…best.smoothie.ever!!!!

    I named mine the Gorilla Green Smoothie because I eat so many dang bananas!

    Reply

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    RhodeyGirl — January 18, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

    Cocoa! Why didn’t I ever think of cocoa?

    I never add greens to smoothies. I wish I could but the color of the smoothie is so important to me for some reason.

    My fave smoothie is a simple banana, milk, peanut butter and ice one… but back in MY heyday I used to drink bally chocolate meal replacement shakes with ice and peanut butter and they were my heaven. Gross to think about all those chemicals now!

    Reply

    • Christine — January 20th, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

      it sounds like you need the ol’ solid color cup and a straw combo :)

      Reply

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    Lisa @ I'm an Oie — January 18, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

    I have never made one with cocoa and I’ll be saving this recipe!

    I’ve been really craving smoothies in the morning, but then when it comes down to it, I’m always too cold :)

    Reply

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    Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl — January 18, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

    I’m allergic to bananas (I KNOW!), but I envy your smoothie nonetheless! I love adding sweet, dark cherries to my smoothies. Makes me feel like it’s summer year-round!

    Reply

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    Aimee Shugarman — January 18, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

    I guess I have to admit I still use protein powder. With 4 kids I need the extra pick me up, which brings me to my favorite ingredient…coffee!
    My favorite smoothie consists of ice (only a couple cubes…I may have to try your frozen banana idea), banana, chocolate protein powder, splash of old coffee (yes, old, like what is leftover from yesterday before I make my morning coffee I put a small cup of it aside), 1/2 tsp of mint extract, 8oz vanilla yogurt and another splash of vanilla soy milk.

    My next favorite would be ice, soy milk, vanilla yogurt, vanilla protein powder, frozen peaches and spinach. Yum.

    We drink smoothies here every morning. The blender gets a daily workout!

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:10 am

      Hey – whatever works! And yes, you MUST try frozen bananas.

      Reply

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    Cailin @ Stir Crazy — January 18, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

    I love smoothies, and have one almost everyday. I make mine really thick so that they basically need to be eaten with a spoon… then I trick myself into thinking it’s ice cream :) My go to smoothie (lately) has been frozen banana, frozen spinach, almond milk, chia seeds and almond or peanut butter (and I sometimes add a scoop of protein powder if it’s after a workout). Never thought I’d learn to love green smoothies, but this one I look forward to.

    Reply

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    Kelsey May — January 18, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

    Wow, this really motivates me to make smoothies for breakfast instead of having just coffee every morning! Would you give us an example recipe of your typical daily smoothie using these ingredients? I would love to copy you but would have NO idea of the proportions to use!

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:09 am

      I’d guess about 1.5 cups of milk, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 frozen banana, handful of frozen fruit, 1-2 tbsp nutbutter, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, teaspoon of extract, 3-4 cups of spinach…

      Reply

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    mary (what's cookin' with mary) — January 18, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

    Was just talking about my smoothie’s on Gina’s (our local fitnessista) blog as my favorite post workout fuel… I’ll throw up a link below to my recipe page where you can see a few of my favorite smoothie recipes… I love that the combinations are endless… I have been working on a mojito one that I still am perfecting ;) …can’t wait to share!

    http://whatscookinwithmary.blogspot.com/p/recipes.html

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:08 am

      Thanks girl!

      Reply

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    Missy — January 18, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

    I love all of those but my favorite smoothie is with unsweet vanilla almond milk, vanilla, stevia, low fat cottage cheese (makes it so creamy!) low fat cream cheese (gives that cheesecake vibe) and frozen peaches. SO yummy! Sometimes I add cinnamon. But I also use 1/8 tsp guar and xanthan gum to make it more like ice cream when I am in the mood for a thicker frozen treat!

    But also frozen bananas with cottage and cream cheese and vanilla is super good too! (Add me to the list of people with chopped frozen bananas in ziplocs!)

    Missy

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:08 am

      Oh man… I don’t know if I could do the cottage cheese. But if you say so! :)

      Reply

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    Heather (Heather's Dish) — January 18, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

    i never thought i’d say this, but i HAVE to have bananas…the difference in consistency is huge!

    Reply

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    Natalie — January 18, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

    Where can I find the recipe for this smoothie?

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:08 am

      I really don’t have a recipe for this exact one, when it comes to everyday shakes I just throw whatever in, but it probably would be something like: about 1.5 cups of milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, a handful of dried fruit, 1/2 cup yogurt, etc.

      Reply

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    Danielle — January 18, 2011 @ 9:06 pm

    Yum – the good ol’ green monster smoothie! One of my favorites!

    Reply

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    Christina — January 18, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

    I was just telling my husband the other day that we should have more smoothies. Thanks for the reminder ;P

    Reply

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    Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg — January 18, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    I keep my smoothies super simple– almond milk, banana, spinach!

    Man, that ice just totally bypassed us!

    Reply

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    Amanda (Eating Up) — January 18, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

    I never got under protein powder. Ha!

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:07 am

      Hahah. Love this.

      Reply

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    Ashley — January 18, 2011 @ 9:29 pm

    Do you have a recipe for this smoothie!? if so, do you mind sharing!?

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:07 am

      I really don’t – I have a few shake recipes in my recipe section: http://www.howsweeteats.com/recipes/drinks/

      As for everyday shakes, I don’t measure a thing. I’d guess it to be about 1.5 cups of milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, a handful of dried fruit, 1/2 cup yogurt, etc.

      Reply

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    Alaina — January 18, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

    I have never had a smoothie before. I think a meal should not be sucked through a straw. But if this is a drink to go with a breakfast of pancakes? Sure! :-)

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:05 am

      Never had a smoothie? Trust me, I fully believe in eating my food and not drinking it. But I think you need a smoothie. :)

      Reply

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    Kim in MD — January 18, 2011 @ 9:50 pm

    Hey…my driveway looked EXACTLY like that this morning!

    Ok- regarding the smoothie? It looked amazing until you added the green stuff! Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE vegetables. In fact, I can’t think of one single vegetable that I don’t love (please don’t hate me)! That said, I like my smoothies with fruit only. Adding veggies to it would wierd me out. I’m proud of you, though, for incorporating veggies into your diet any way you can! :-)

    Reply

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    cathyb.@brightbakes — January 18, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

    must have smoothie ingredient? Chia seeds! they make everything super thick and fluffy!
    love,
    cathy b.

    Reply

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    Mary @ Bites and Bliss — January 18, 2011 @ 10:01 pm

    Perfect smoothie ingredients! The frozen bananas and PB are even enough for me! ;)

    Reply

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    Kat — January 18, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

    Your perfect shake sounds perfect for me too! I’m craving a smoothie now

    Reply

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    Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) — January 18, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

    I actually don’t do smoothies. I know, shocking! Your mix sounds good! I love the peanut banana mixture and I am really proud of you for getting those greens in!

    Reply

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    Kristen@PrettySweet — January 18, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

    I used to make smoothies ALL the time and just finally wore out my Magic Bullet, bless its heart. I need to get started making them again because they’re so healthy. Love the slice-then-freeze banana idea. I like using those sugar-free Torani syrups – vanilla or caramel or white chocolate or coconut – to liven things up a bit!

    Reply

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    Molly Jac — January 18, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

    For starters, greens in your smoothies is the best idea I’ve ever heard because I dont even get 1/2 the preferred amount in a day. Secondly, I make a smoothy almost identical to this but use orange juice instead of milk ( I hate milk and have to plug my nose to drink it..no bueno.) Thank you for the banana tip I always use soft ones and it’s a bit runny. Thanks for being a genius and making this awesome website I come back to everyday! Keep it up. :)

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:04 am

      You know what’s funny? I have hated milk my entire life. I have never drank a glass… wouldn’t touch the stuff growing up. I only like it in smoothies and with cereal. But I NEVER drink the milk after cereal. Ugh.

      Reply

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    Hannah — January 18, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

    I’ve only just started making smoothies in the past two weeks (after getting a vitamix) but my smoothie yesterday was my favourite so far: frozen banana, frozen (from fresh) white nectarines, soy milk, vanilla, spinach, some agave, and sunflower seed butter. To die for!

    Reply

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    steph — January 18, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

    frozen strawberries, hands down. mmm mmm

    Reply

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    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — January 18, 2011 @ 11:19 pm

    Mmm, this looks delicious Jessica! As soon as I get a bigger kitchen and room for a blender, it’s going right on the countertop and I’m making this delish smoothie! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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    Fallon — January 18, 2011 @ 11:24 pm

    Frozen bananas are so important!! Lately my protein shakes contain Dark Chocolate almond milk (oh this is dangerous), spinach, frozen banana and then either peanut butter flour OR coffee!

    Reply

    • Terry — January 18th, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

      Where do you get dark chocolate almond milk? Sounds amazing!

      Reply

      • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:02 am

        I LOVE chocolate almond milk. I can find it at my Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. If all else fails, you can buy it online because it doesn’t need refrigerated until opened.

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    Daniel — January 18, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

    I like to toss in some roasted kabocha (or other type) squash wedges, skins and all. If you thought the bananas made it creamy, the squash makes it thick enough to eat with a spoon, which is how I prefer my smoothies.

    Reply

    • Jessica — January 19th, 2011 @ 4:01 am

      Sounds delicious!

      Reply

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