3. Understand the give and take of your ingredients. This is true in terms of nutrition, flavor and consistency. Let’s say, for example, you use a banana in your smoothie. You probably won’t need Greek yogurt as your soft ingredient, and since you’re saving some calories by using the banana, you can add a tablespoon or two of almond butter to up the protein (and, you know, make it delicious). If you’re using avocado or sweet potato as a base, however, you might want to go lighter on some of your other ingredients since they both pack plenty of nutrition as well as calories.
A great place to add nutrition or cut calories is with your liquid. Almond milk, coconut water, juices and just plain water can all be great choices, although the water (coconut and otherwise) are better options for smoothies that are starting off on the heavier side.
And be sure to do the research on your protein powder — not only does nutritional value vary by type (soy, whey, hemp, plant-based, etc.) but also by brand … and even, sometimes, by flavor. Don’t assume that the new jar you picked up is the same as your old one without reading the label.
Start out by getting a feel for calories, protein, carbs and fats in your ingredients in order to balance them out nutritionally. Once you have a grasp on that, you can begin to focus more on other nutritional aspects like various vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and the different effects ingredients have on inflammation, sleep and energy. A great resource for this information — and I’ll talk more about it in a minute — is Power Smoothies, which provides detailed information on nearly every ingredient you’d ever consider blending (and then some).