How to Build Any Smoothie Like a Boss

smoothies
Smoothies serve as the perfect on-the-go snack. (Image: LIVESTRONG.COM)

Smoothies. They're what's for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These blended drinks cater to our busy, nonstop, on-the-go lifestyles, making them an easy addition to our diets. In SoCal, smoothie shops are like Starbucks -- there's one on every corner. But the booming blender-and-protein-powder market, along with the whole-foods/clean-eating movement, has made it easier (and more tempting) to get on board with this trend.

Perhaps you're a smoothie veteran and have your go-to blend, but you're looking to switch it up. Or maybe you're still feeling your way behind a Vitamix. Whatever the case, we've created three smoothie templates -- Sweet, Green and Protein -- that you can customize to cater to your likes or to use up some extra fruits and veggies you might have on hand in the kitchen. Think of them as guides or smoothie "how-tos" so that you can build any smoothie like a boss.

Coming up empty-handed on what to add? Here are some options to help build out your perfect smoothie:

Sweeteners

Add a little sweet to your smoothie, whether it's to curb that sweet tooth or to balance out some of the bitterness from leafy greens or other ingredients.

– Honey
– Dates
– Agave nectar
Yacon syrup – Coconut sugar

Fruit/Frozen Fruit

The fruit you use will play a big part in the flavor of your smoothie. Using frozen fruit instead of fresh is an easy way to add instant thickness to your smoothie.

– Bananas
Berries – Cherries (remove pits)
– Mango
– Pineapple

Liquid

The amount of liquid you use will help to determine how thick your smoothie will be.

– Water
– Milk
Milk Alternative (almond, hemp, coconut) – Coconut water
– Brewed tea or coffee

Protein Powder

The protein-powder category has exploded in the past few years. There's an option for almost every type of diet or lifestyle and a wide range of flavors too.

– Whey protein
– Casein protein
Pea protein – Egg white protein
– Hemp protein

Leafy Greens

Most of us fall short on our daily vegetable intake. Smoothies are an easy (and tasty) way to sneak in some leafy greens.

– Kale
– Spinach
– Arugula
– Beet greens
Dandelion greens

Thickener

Add a creamier, thicker consistency to your blend along with a boost of nutrition with these options.

– Avocado
– Protein powder
– Hemp seeds

If you're still feeling a little lost, we've included a recipe for each smoothie option to get you started:

smoothies
Choose the option that fits you best. (Image: LIVESTRONG.COM)

Kelly Plowe, MS, RD, CSSD is a nutritionist and food and health communications specialist. As a registered dietitian and certified Sports Dietitian, Kelly helps consumers put health and nutrition research into practice. Kelly spends most of her free time cooking, trying new restaurants and attending music concerts. Follow her on Instagram.

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