8 Dessert Smoothies That Are Secretly Healthy

By Christine Byrne |

These four-ingredient treats are packed with vitamins, protein, fiber, and flavor.

dessert smoothies

Smoothies sure have gotten complicated—especially for a snack meant to be quick, easy, and mess-free. By the time you take your first sip, the kitchen counter usually looks like it lost a fight to a rabid pantry.

Worse, more ingredients doesn’t equal more taste. Usually, it’s quite the opposite.

Luckily, a few tricks can make your smoothies taste like creamy milkshakes, and you don’t need more than four ingredients.

The first trick: frozen bananas, one of the best foods to keep in your freezer. Peel and freeze them when they’re starting to turn brown. This coloring tells you that they’re very ripe—and sweet—but not past their prime. They’ll give you the sweetness you’re craving without having to use added sugar.

The second trick: Greek yogurt. It’s thicker than regular yogurt, so it’ll give you the creamy texture you’re going for. Plus, it delivers high-quality, muscle-building protein, making it a top food for older adults.

The final trick: water. Add small amounts as needed—a tablespoon at a time—to help you reach the desired consistency.

Ready to give these ideas a whirl? Below, top dietitians share their favorite recipes for dessert smoothies.

Dessert Smoothie #1: Vanilla and Berry

Vanilla and Berry Smoothie

Frozen mixed berries deliver an impressive mix of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, say Lyssie Lakatos, R.D.N., and Tammy Lakatos Shames, R.D.N., authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure.

You can use any berries you like, but if your combo includes strawberries, know that you’re getting a nice amount of folic acid, which your body uses to help make new cells. Blueberries, meanwhile, are packed with antioxidants that help tame chronic inflammation­—an underlying factor in many health woes, including joint pain and high blood pressure.

You’ll need:

  • ⅔ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1⅓ cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup unsweetened frozen mixed berries
  • ½ small banana, frozen and cut into chunks

What to do: In a blender, puree half of each of the almond milk, Greek yogurt, and berries until combined. Add the remaining ingredients, and puree until smooth.

Pro tip: If you don’t have a high-performance blender, let frozen fruit thaw for a few minutes before blending. It also helps to start with a low setting and work up to a high speed.

Dessert Smoothie #2: Orange and Banana

Orange and Banana Smoothie

This double-layered smoothie was inspired by a classic summertime frozen goodie, the orange creamsicle, and makes for a fun brunch treat.

“It’s rich in potassium, which helps control blood pressure, and magnesium, which is important for proper muscle function,” says Amy Gorin, R.D.N., owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area.

You’ll need:

  • 5 ounces 100% orange juice, divided
  • 1½ medium bananas, frozen and cut into chunks
  • ½ cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 8 strawberries, frozen

What to do: In a blender, puree 3 ounces of the orange juice and bananas until smooth. Pour into freezer-safe cup, cover, and freeze until mixture sets, about 5 minutes.

Rinse blender, then puree remaining ingredients until smooth. Remove cup from freezer, and top banana layer with strawberry layer. Enjoy right away.

Pro tip: Your liquid ingredients—juice or milk—should be the first thing in the blender. As the blade starts to spin, these liquids will draw down the other ingredients for better mixing.

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Dessert Smoothie #3: Cocoa and Pistachio

Cocoa and Pistachio Smoothie

Cocoa powder plus vanilla-flavored soy milk equals a health-conscious chocolate lover’s dream combo.

Cocoa is high in naturally occurring antioxidants called polyphenols that play a part in taming chronic inflammation and weight control, notes Jennifer McDaniel, R.D.N., coauthor of Mediterranean Table Cookbook.

The key is to make sure the cocoa powder you’re using is unsweetened. That means it has all of the good stuff—including the flavor—and just a fraction of the calories and fat in processed cocoa.

Pistachios are an unexpected final touch that add healthy fats, protein, and vitamin B6, which helps keep blood sugar steady.

You’ll need:

  • ½ cup vanilla soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted pistachios, shelled
  • 1 large banana, frozen and cut into chunks

What to do: In a blender, puree ingredients until thoroughly combined and smooth.

Pro tip: If a smoothie recipe calls for any type of powder, place it in the blender after the liquid to make sure it gets fully incorporated.

Dessert Smoothie #4: Spinach and Banana Nut

Spinach and Banana Nut

Fancy ingredients are fun, but they’re not essential to crafting the perfect smoothie. In fact, this one gets its satiating protein from regular old skim milk and some nut butter, which also adds heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

The handful of spinach helps you reach your daily fiber quota—and gives you a dose of potassium, an electrolyte that helps prevent muscle cramps.

“The combo tastes a lot like a peanut butter milkshake,” says Jonathan Valdez, R.D.N., owner of Genki Nutrition.

It’s perfect for those busy days when you want something simple to take on the run, adds Valdez, who is a spokesperson for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup skim milk or fortified soy milk
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter, such as peanut butter or almond butter
  • ½ medium banana, frozen and cut into chunks

What to do: In a blender, puree milk and spinach until combined. Add remaining ingredients, and puree until smooth.

Pro tip: Blending the leafy greens with the liquid first helps ensure no off-putting green chunks show up in the mix.

Dessert Smoothie #5: Peaches and Cream

Peaches and Cream Smoothie

The secret to this peach smoothie? A handful of walnut halves.

They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of good-for-you fat that helps with blood pressure control, notes Vandana Sheth, R.D.N., author of My Indian Table: Quick and Tasty Vegetarian Recipes.

Use fresh peaches when they’re in season, but know that you can typically find frozen peach slices in the freezer section of the grocery store. To up the sweetness factor, toss in a few frozen banana slices.

You’ll need:

  • ¾ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 small peach, chopped
  • 4 walnut halves
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 2 to 3 slices frozen banana (optional)

What to do: In a blender, puree ingredients until smooth.

Dessert Smoothie #6: Pineapple, Strawberry, and Kale

Pineapple, Strawberry, and Kale Smoothie

If you struggle to get enough vegetables, this is the easiest, most delicious way to overcome that challenge, the Nutrition Twins say.

Kale is packed with vitamin A for good vision and vitamin C for healthier skin. And if you’re not getting enough calcium, it’s a great nondairy source of the bone-protective mineral.

Here, pineapple stands in for the usual frozen banana because it’s also sweet. Again, if you can’t find fresh or want a shortcut, look for pineapple chunks in the freezer aisle.

You’ll need:

  • ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup kale, stems removed and sliced into 1-inch strips
  • 1 cup pineapple cubes
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries, halved

What to do: In a blender, puree ingredients until smooth.

Pro tip: Make multiple smoothies at once, and freeze single servings. Pour the mix in freezer-safe, airtight containers, and place them in the freezer. Pull them out to thaw in the fridge overnight to enjoy the next morning.

Dessert Smoothie #7: Vegan Nectarine

Vegan Nectarine Smoothie

Chia seeds are a great way to thicken a smoothie without using yogurt. They add a boost of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and will give your smoothie extra texture, Sheth says.

Soak them in a bit of water or almond milk overnight, and they’ll be softer and easier to blend come morning.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds, preferably soaked overnight
  • 1 small nectarine, chopped
  • ½ medium banana, frozen and cut into chunks

What to do: In a blender, puree ingredients until smooth.

Dessert Smoothie #8: Tropical Greens

Tropical Greens Smoothie

Who says a protein smoothie can’t sub in for dessert? It’s true that many protein powders tend to make smoothies a little chalky.

But Tori Schmitt, R.D.N., founder of YES Nutrition, says collagen peptides are her add-in of choice because they pump up the protein levels—each scoop has about 10 grams of protein—without messing with texture.

“Collagen is a type of protein found in the skin, hair, nails, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, bones, and other tissues,” she explains.

You can find collagen peptides online or at health food stores, but as with any supplements, it’s best to ask your doctor if they are right for you.

While Schmitt usually makes this recipe with a cup each of pineapple and spinach, you can substitute frozen mixed fruit and vegetables, such as Dole Fruit ‘n Greens or a similar blend.

The ground turmeric is an optional fifth ingredient that she likes to put in smoothies for an extra health lift. In particular, she likes to use this pantry staple for its role in helping to reduce arthritis symptoms.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 scoop unflavored collagen peptides or protein of your choice
  • 2 cups unsweetened frozen mixed fruit and vegetable blend
  • 1 small banana, frozen and cut into chunks
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric (optional)

What to do: In a blender, puree ingredients until smooth.

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