smoothie bowl fruit

How to make that perfect smoothie

Gluten Free Man tells me that I have a magical 20 minute window in the day when I am up for going swimming.  If I miss this opportunity – forget it – there is no way I am getting to the pool.  I think he exaggerates somewhat.  However, it is true I like to swim on a morning, on an empty stomach, but before hunger starts to bite and my energy slumps.  So I have very definite ideas on what makes for a good swim.

When I’ve stayed in bed that little bit too long, when I can feel that 20 minute window closing, when I know that I’m going to be starving the second I get out of the pool, smoothies are a perfect breakfast solution.  Throw a bunch of ingredients into a blender, blitz, transfer to my drink bottle and I’m ready to go.

​Smoothies are also my ‘go to’ breakfast when I’m rushing about during the week.  When I’m trying to get 101 things done before I leave the house and breakfast is in danger of slipping off that list.  But how healthy are smoothies?  Are green smoothies packed with goodness but bright, berry smoothies packed with sugar?

​If Instagram is any benchmark I’m not the only smoothie fan.  Pictures of vibrant, rainbow coloured smoothies and smoothie bowls topped with all kinds of interesting additions attract plenty of likes on social media.  However, if like me you are using a smoothie as a meal replacement, there are some things you should bear in mind.

Portion Size

What would you normally eat for breakfast?  Is it a similar quantity to the contents of your blender or have you just blitzed up two bananas and a full punnet of strawberries with a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil?  Its very easy to blitz a large amount of ingredients into what seems like a reasonable size glass but that doesn’t mean you should.  I satisfy myself that I would be happy with my ingredients being served up to me on a plate and use plant milk or water to get my smoothie to my preferred consistency.


In the UK public health recommends counting a smoothie as only one of your ‘five a day’ because of the concern that they are very high in fruit sugars.  I’ve seen shop bought smoothies – including those that market themselves as ‘fruit and veg’ smoothies – that contain over 50% apple juice.  Pay particular attention to ‘green smoothies’.  There are plenty of recipes for smoothies with celery, cucumber and leaves giving a great green colour but with large quantities of pineapple and apple to sweeten.  Plenty of micronutrients but that’s a decent sugar hit without anything to slow the absorption.


 I think about which items in my smoothie are going to keep me satisfied until lunch.  That may include complex carbohydrates which release their energy more slowly but it will also include protein and fats.  Today that’s a spoonful of nut butter and a handful of oats.  Tomorrow it might be protein powder and avocado.


Food is all about flavour for me.  I want to savour and enjoy what I’m eating.  Likewise I don’t want to drink some dreadful tasting sludge because its packed with nutrients and superfoods.  So, I have a number of different smoothie recipes that I enjoy.  This is a great way to get variety – having these on rotation rather than throwing everything into a glass at once.  I don’t always add vegetables to smoothies.  I eat plenty of vegetables in my other meals.  If you’re not a fan of the leafy greens then a smoothie is a good way to up your veg count but balance the flavour with cinnamon, vanilla or blueberries (rather than dates or syrup to mask any bitter taste).


 I started this post by talking about the smoothie as a perfect breakfast when you are in a rush – this doesn’t mean it should be treated as breakfast on the run.  To allow your body to properly digest any meal, and to get the most of all those nutrients you have just ingested, you should take your time.  So find a moment of calm, less gulping and more enjoyment of those flavours!

Kim Adams, SAVI Nutrition

Looking for some smoothie inspiration? Check out my chocolate smoothie bowl.

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