MKN Eating for Health: Smoothie Guide

Choosing Your Carbohydrates:

Starchy Carbs:


Carbohydrates are locked and loaded with fueling sugars for energy, fiber for digestion, and micronutrients/phytonutrients for general support (hormones, immune system, detox). A big problem I see in smoothie recipes is the proportion of starchy fruits and vegetables to other ingredients. Try to limit your smoothies to <1/2 – 1 cup starchy carbs to lower your smoothie’s Glycemic Load, which will help regulate your blood sugar. When your blood sugar is in balance, then your energy levels, mood, and hormones will follow suit. The following fruits and sweet vegetables are listed in general order by Glycemic Load. Berries have the lowest Glycemic Load, while Bananas, Apples, and Potatoes have a higher GL.


Fruit/ Sweet Vegetables: 1 piece or ~ ½ cup – 1 cup

  • Berries: Blueberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Cranberry, Pomegranate

  • Citrus: Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Clementine, Orange

  • Melon: Watermelon, Honeydew, Cantaloupe

  • Stone Fruit: Peaches, Apricot, Plum, Cherries

  • Tropical Variety: Guava, Kiwi, Pineapple, Dragon Fruit, Papaya, Mango, Banana

  • Pome: Apple, Pear, Quince, Loquat

  • Vegetables: Cooked Carrots, Sweet Potato, Beets


Non-Starchy Carbs:

Crunchy, hydrating, and leafy green vegetables are a powerhouse addition to any smoothie. Hearty greens are packed with vitamins and minerals that up your smoothie to “liquid multi-vitamin” level. Sometimes hearty greens can be hard to break down, so: use a high speed blender, massage greens before use, try a more tender baby version, aka Baby Kale. Don’t forget that herbs are also packed with vitamins and phytonutrients to support your body. For example, 1 handful of Parsley has over 50% your RDA of Vitamin C and over 500% of heart healthy Vitamin K. I try to add (hide) at least 1 serving of Green Vegetable to every smoothie.

Green Vegetables: 1 – 2 Handfuls

  • Hearty Greens: Kale, Collards, Beet & Turnip Greens, Dandelion Greens

  • Lettuces: Romaine, Spinach, Microgreens

  • Herbs: Basil, Parsley, Mint, Lemon Balm

  • Cooling Vegetables: Cucumber, Zucchini, Celery, Cauliflower


Power of Protein:

 Adding a source of protein to your smoothie provides the building blocks to fuel your body. For breakfast, you should aim for ~20 g of protein. Animal sources of protein provide a complete amino acid profile, while vegetarian protein needs to be balanced with multiple sources. Collagen powders and full fat diary sources (if tolerated) from yogurt or cottage cheese do the trick. I want to note that dairy-free yogurts from almonds, cashew, coconut, etc. do not offer the same protein content as dairy yogurt, so they are not an equal 1:1 substitute for protein. Most vegan yogurts only contain 0 – 6 g of protein/ serving. Remember that most plant-based whole foods protein sources are also sources of healthy fat, and should be counted as such. For example, 1 tablespoon of almond butter has ~4 g of Protein and ~9g of Fat.


Protein Powders

Protein Powders are an excellent solution for adding easily digestible protein to your morning or post-workout smoothie. Look for “whole foods” powders free of soy, sugars, dyes, and thickeners or stabilizers like xanthan gum, guar gum, and lecithin. I like to switch up my protein powders, rotating between animal collagen and vegan blends. Make sure animal protein powders are well-sourced, organic, and grass-fed. Vegan powders should also be organic and non-GMO when possible. Some have a more palatable flavor and texture than others, but all based on personal preference. Read Minimalist’s Baker Vegan Protein Powder Review for a thorough guide of some popular vegan blends. Below are links to my favorite Animal and Vegan Protein Powders available on the MKN Store. Shop now for 20% Off through 8/11/19.



Protein: 1 serving or 1-2 Tbsp

  • Protein Powder: Beef or Fish Collagen, Pea, Hemp, Brown Rice, Whey

  • Seeds: Chia, Sesame, Hemp, Pumpkin, Sunflower

  • Nut Butter: Peanut, Almond, Hazelnut

  • Diary Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Kefir (1/2 – 1 cup)


Fit with Fat:

Round out your smoothie with a healthy dose of fat. Healthy fat cools the body, is packed with fat soluble vitamins, and provides satiety to keep you feeling full. Try not to shy away from adding healthy fat into your diet. We rely on essential fatty acids to stabilize hormones, balance mood, skin, hair, and nail health, and blood sugar regulation – to name a few.

 Fat: 1-2 Tbsp

  • Nuts & Seeds

  • Plant Oil: Coconut, flax, cacao butter

  • Avocado, ¼ – ½ medium

  • Full fat dairy products, ghee


Hydrating Liquids:


Add liquid to help blend the ingredients, but also to help keep you hydrated. Choose a blending liquid that is free of added sugars, artificial flavors, and stabilizers. Try to stay away from fruit juices, as they are a “refined” version of fruit and lack fiber. Stick to natural, whole foods to sweeten the smoothie like dates, fruit, honey, maple syrup, or coconut water.

Liquid: 1 cup

  • Water and/ or ice

  • Vegetable Juice

  • Coconut Water

  • Nut or Seed Milk

  • Herbal Tea

  • Kombucha


Super Boosters

 “Booster Foods” add extra vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to bulk up the health benefits of your smoothie. They increase energy, detoxification, and antioxidant activity in the body. Add specific booster foods to support a specific area of your health, or to simply add more nutrition value and flavor with herbs and spices. For example, some boosters can have a more calming effect on the body, like stabilizing adaptogens, soothing nervines, and CBD. While others are meant to improve digestion like fermented foods, soothing herbs, and carminative spices.

Boosters (Optional)

  • Cultured Foods: ½ - 1 Cup Yogurt, kefir, kombucha

  • Spices (¼ - 1 tsp): cayenne, turmeric, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla

  • Herbs (1 tbsp fresh): Basil, thyme, mint, lemon balm

  • Nuts and Seeds (1-2 tbsp): chia, flax, pumpkin, walnut, etc.

  • Green powder (1-2 tbsp): blue-green algae, chlorella, spirulina, grass juices, dehydrated greens

  • Adaptogens: Ginseng, ashwagandha, holy basil, licorice, maca, rhodiola

  • Nervines: Gotu kola, kava kava, lemon balm, oats, lavender, chamomile

  • Medicinal Mushrooms: Lion’s Main, Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps

  • Green tea/ Matcha

  • 1-2 Soft Dates

  • 1-2 tbsp raw cacao

  • 1-2 tbsp goji berries

  • 1 tsp Bee Pollen

  • CBD

Download a printable version of MKN Eating for Health Smoothie Guide. You’ll be a pro in no time!

Seasonal Summer Smoothie Recipes

Each recipe makes one serving. Smoothies should be consumed same day for optimum nutrition. For convenience, meal prep ingredients in individual freezer bags and store until ready to blend. Use high speed blender for the smoothest consistency, but a standard kitchen blender or individual bullet will work just fine. Feel free to adjust liquid content for your preferred consistency. And remember … always chew your smoothies.

 Strawberry Avocado Smoothie



·      1 cup almond milk, unsweetened

·      1 cup plain yogurt, unsweetened

·      1 cup frozen strawberries

·      ½ avocado

·      1 tsp flax seed meal

·      2 handfuls spinach

·      ½ tsp vanilla extract

·      1 tsp honey (optional)


Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie



·      1 cup almond milk

·      2 tbsp peanut butter

·      1 small frozen banana, <1 cup

·      1 soft date

·      2 tbsp cacao powder, unsweetened

·      1 tbsp hemp seeds

·      ½ tsp vanilla extract


Blueberry Pea Smoothie



·      1/2 cup almond yogurt

·      1 cup frozen blueberries

·      1 soft date

·      ½ cup frozen peas

·      2 handfuls power mixed greens

·      1 tbsp hemp seeds


Peaches and Cashew Cream Smoothie

This smoothie is thick! Perfect for a day when you want something more hearty and makes a great smoothie bowl starter. If you want a thinner base, eliminate the oats and sub a serving of protein powder.



·      2/3 cup cashew yogurt

·      1 large ripe peach

·      ¼ cup oats

·      2 tbsp cashew butter

·      1 soft date

·      1 tsbp chia

·      ½ tsp vanilla

·      1 tsp turmeric


Kale Coolada Smoothie



·      <1 cup frozen pineapple

·      1/2 cup coconut milk

·      1/2 - 1 cup water or coconut water (less if you want thicker)

·      ~2 handfuls baby kale, or dino kale

·      1/2 coconut yogurt 

·      1-2 tbsp hemp seeds

·      1-2 scoops collagen protein powder (unflavored) 

·      Dash nutmeg


In the market for a High Speed Blender?

Visit MKN’s Vitamix Store and shop the latest Summer deals.