How to Make a Perfectly Balanced Smoothie for Breakfast - Nikki Yelton RD

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How to Make a Perfectly Balanced Smoothie for Breakfast

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Balance is so important when it comes to your meals. Especially smoothies, as they’re typically eaten in the morning for breakfast at the start of the day. A balanced smoothie sets the tone for your energy and digestion.

Various balanced smoothies with blueberries, banana, and strawberry

Reading Time: 8 minutes

In today’s world, a balanced smoothie is the epitome of health. Many gravitate towards smoothies in effort to make a “healthy” choice, but are all smoothies actually as healthy as they claim to be? 

Truthfully, smoothies can be delicious and nutritious, but not all are. In fact, most smoothies (especially those from restaurants or smoothie chains) are filled with excess sugar and carbs. As a result, you’re likely left with a sugar rush before the inevitable crash. Not to mention, you’ll feel ravenously hungry in a couple hours. 

So, what makes a smoothie healthy? I’m going to tell you all the secrets! 

WHY BALANCE IS SO IMPORTANT 

Balance is so important when it comes to your meals. Especially smoothies, as they’re typically eaten in the morning for breakfast at the start of the day. Your first meal sets the tone for your energy and digestion. Without balancing our meals with the right amount of macronutrients, we can experience indigestion, blood sugar imbalances, slowed metabolism, fatigue, and poor elimination

Important macronutrients include protein, fats, and carbohydrates. I call this your PFC’s. It’s important to have balanced PFC’s in smoothies to prevent a sugar spike. The fruit in smoothies does have a lot of natural sugar. If you pair fruit (a carb) with a fat, it prevents the sugar from spiking in your blood, which in turn prevents energy spikes and crashes. The protein helps keep you satiated and allows for the smoothie to be considered a meal replacement.

When carbs are eaten on their own, they move through your digestive system quickly and cause a blood sugar spike. Your body then releases insulin to lower sugar levels. This spike and crash can wreak havoc on our bodies, creating inflammation and depriving you of energy. Plus insulin actually tells our body to store fat, which can cause unhealthy weight gain. 

Now when you pair a carbohydrate with a protein and fat, they slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. This is because fat and protein aren’t metabolized as sugar. This stabilizes blood sugar levels which then tells your body to release glucagon, a hormone that burns stored fat for energy!  When you pair all three macronutrients together, you get the energy you need from carbohydrates with the metabolism boost from protein and satiety from fat.

SMOOTHIES & DIGESTION PREP

Having a pre-digested meal that is easier to break down, such as a balanced smoothie, prepares your digestive tract to slowly “wake up”. Not only is it extremely nourishing and healing for cells to drink a smoothie in the morning, but it helps the gut achieve digestive rest for easy nutrient transport. I suggest a balanced smoothie with the right amount of protein, healthy fats, carbs, and fiber, to keep you full and satisfied. When I make my smoothies, I go down the list to make sure I am getting everything I need to make it a complete meal. This is usually so filling that I am satisfied until lunchtime.

A balanced smoothie also:

  • Balances blood sugar
  • Supplies brain power from healthy fats
  • Provides fiber that keeps you full and aids in healthy motility
  • Is hydrating for cells and increases water consumption from ice, fruits, and wate
  • Is energizing + healing for cells

And not to mention, it’s easy to make and take on the go.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF BALANCED SMOOTHIES

The key to a nutritious and delicious smoothie is one that is balanced. Balanced smoothies are packed with protein, carbs, and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals. These nutrients boost overall health and specifically aid in gut function and autoimmunity, including:

  • Improving digestion
  • Healing the gut lining
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Increasing satiety
  • Reversing nutrient deficiencies 
  • Boosting brain health
Health benefits of drinking a healthy smoothie such as balanced blood sugar and brain power

And smoothies specifically help the gut microbiome in many ways as well, including:

  • Digestive rest and predigested macronutrients 
  • Activates digestion later in the day 
  • Balanced with the right amount of PFC to keep you full and satisfied  
  • Fiber & MCT fats + antioxidants and polyphenols are essential to a healthy & balanced microbiome
  • Help maximize absorption of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are easily transported to mucosal cell membranes 
  • Improves motility and constipation 

Once you learn how to make a balanced smoothie, you can sip on a refreshing, delicious smoothie, while also nourishing your body from head-to-toe.

Benefits for the gut microbiome when you drink a smoothie in the morning
THE BEST PROTEIN POWDER FOR SMOOTHIES


A key ingredient to balanced smoothies is protein, typically in the form of powder. Protein is essential because it heals the gut lining, reduces inflammation, and boosts the immune system. However, when gut issues and autoimmunity are present, not just any protein powder will do. Actually, most protein powders can exacerbate these symptoms. So, choosing the right protein powder is necessary to prevent G.I. distress, like bloating, gas, and indigestion, and promote healing. You’ll want to look for protein powders that are not made from whey, contain minimal, non-GMO, organic ingredients, and are tested specifically for heavy metals.

My favorite protein powders for those healing their gut and autoimmunity are all listed here in detail. I highly recommend reading through each option and choosing the best fit for you and your needs. 

We also love the protein powder Drink Wholesome for those with sensitive stomachs. This protein powder has super simple ingredients and tastes delicious! We recommend this one for those who are not in active healing stage. You can use code wholesome10 for 10% off your order!

HOW TO MAKE A BALANCED SMOOTHIE

Creating a balanced smoothie will not only satisfy your taste buds, but it will also keep you physically and mentally energized for hours. Trust me, your hormones will thank you for keeping your blood sugar regulated and steady! Here’s what you need to make the perfectly balanced smoothie:

The 7-step formula for a perfectly balanced smoothie
Liquid Base

½-1 cup

Start with a liquid of your choice such as filtered water or a non-dairy milk alternative such as nut milk, coconut milk, almond milk, flax milk, hemp milk, etc. Your base should consist of a dairy-free liquid. I recommend nut milks without gums and fillers, like Malk or you can even try making your own homemade version. You can also make your own and store in  the fridge by using an Ellies Nut milk bag.

Superfood Powder 

1 scoop

Including a scoop of superfood powder will drastically increase the amount of nutrients (ie. antioxidants) in your smoothie. Look for superfood powders containing one or more of the following: beets, acai, greens, camu camu, acerola cherry powder, turmeric, cherry, elderberry, mushrooms, pomegranate, matcha, cacao. Superfood powders are not only potent, but they are the highest on the ORAC antioxidant scale. Consuming antioxidants that have a high ORAC score (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) and help fight free radicals can undo a lot of the damage due to a toxic buildup. By incorporating more potent antioxidants into our diet, we experience improved energy, digestion, mental clarity, circulation, and so much more. This helps us age more gracefully too from the accumulation of these free radicals over time. 

Fruit 

½ cup

Adding fruit is key for flavor, texture, and nourishment. And not to mention, a ton of antioxidants. A variety of fruit provides a variety of nutrients that help feed your good gut bacteria. These vitamins are key when it comes to healing the gut. I recommend using fruit that’s in season and freezing it yourself. I encourage you to seek out organic fruit from your local farmer. Locally-sourced produce is often richer in nutrients, juicier and tastier, and more affordable. 

Alternatively, you can buy frozen fruit from the store. My favorite fruits include: banana, berries, peaches, mango, and pineapple.

Vegetables 

A handful

Believe it or not, you can add a handful of veggies to your smoothie without ruining the flavor or texture. These veggies will add a hefty dose of vitamins to your smoothie, like B vitamins, vitamin C, and fiber. Try a handful of kale or spinach, or even a few florets of cauliflower! My personal favorite is chopped and frozen zucchini or delicata squash because it makes your smoothie nice and thick. It’s a great way to get extra veggies in without sacrificing taste. And if you have kiddos, smoothies are a great way to be a bit sneaky and hide nutrient packed vegetables in your child’s breakfast or snack. 

Protein powder 

1 serving

Use 1 scoop (or 1 serving) of a quality protein powder to increase your protein consumption and better balance your smoothie. Protein plays an essential role in the body, as it’s responsible for building and maintaining muscle mass, providing energy, healing infections, and much more. When looking for a protein, I suggest you skip the whey, look for purity & quality, and check for minimal ingredients. Otherwise you mind find protein powder can make you feel more bloated, gassy, and can even contribute to stomach pain and discomfort. 

These are my favorite protein powders!

Healthy Fat 

1-2 tablespoons

Fats help regulate blood sugar by slowing the absorption of nutrients. Your body needs fat for fuel! Saturated and monounsaturated fat provide essential fatty acids that your body doesn’t produce on its own. Healthy fats are also crucial for staying satiated and keeping consistent energy levels. Including lots of unsaturated fats in your diet supports gut health, balances hormones, reduces inflammation, and promotes healthy cell growth. Add 1 tablespoon of fat, like nut butter, hemp seeds, flax, chia, coconut oil, MCT oil, or avocado to upgrade your smoothie and increase creaminess.

Healthy fats to love such as nut butter and seeds
Optional: Boosters + Toppings

Try adding nutrient-rich boosters to your smoothies, like cilantro, ceylon cinnamon, sea salt, cacao nibs, grain-free granola, shredded coconut, etc for additional nutritional benefit and extra healing properties! I love topping my smoothies with Freebird cereal or Purely Elizabeth grain-free granola for some extra crunch. It helps activate digestion through chewing and also makes it feel like I’m eating dessert for breakfast! 

TRY YOUR OWN SMOOTHIE RECIPE USING MY FORMULA

One of my all-time favorite balanced smoothie recipes is the Strawberry Almond Protein Smoothie. It’s delicious, refreshing, and nutrient-packed!

Print
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Strawberry Almond Protein Smoothie


  • Author: Nikki Yelton
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 serving 1x

Description

Try out my formula for a perfectly balanced smoothie in this delicious Strawberry Almond Protein Smoothie recipe!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 tsp Beetroot Powder
  • 1 cup Strawberries (frozen)
  • 1 cup Organic Frozen Zucchini (chopped)
  • 1 serving Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 tbsp Almond Butter
  • 1 tbsp Ground Flax Seed 

Instructions

1. Place all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy! 

 

Notes

Nut free: Use sunflower seed butter instead of almond butter and coconut milk instead of almond milk.

No almond milk: Use coconut milk or cashew milk.

More fiber: Add in some chopped leafy greens like spinach or kale.

Keywords: balanced smoothie, gut healthy smoothie, strawberry smoothie, delicious smoothie, healthy breakfast

GRAB THE ULTIMATE SMOOTHIE RECIPE BOOKLET!

Sometimes it can feel intimidating to make a smoothie without knowing what combinations of each layer will taste good. If that’s you or you need some inspiration, look no further. I created this bundle with 35 gut healthy and autoimmune friendly smoothie recipes so you can take the guesswork out. You can grab the booklet for only $27 here!

WRAPPING IT ALL UP

Smoothies are such a fantastic way to start your day and it is what I recommend to all my clients once we begin customizing their health journey. If you love the idea of healthy, quick, balanced smoothies but often lack time, I recommend either making them the day before or check out Daily Harvest! They provide organic, pre-made smoothies. All you have to do is throw it in the blender! Use this code for $25 off your first box!

Balanced smoothies can make for a healthy meal or snack, especially during the hot Summer months. Using this balanced smoothie formula will help effectively regulate your blood sugar, encourage healthy digestion, and fuel your body well!

My Formula to Make a Perfectly Balanced Smoothie + The Best Superfood Powders
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"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."

-Nikki Yelton, RD

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