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Nutrient Packed Smoothie vs. Smoothie Bowls

Save a ton of money by making your own smoothies and smoothie bowls at home. Learn how to create your own recipes and which ingredients provide the best nutrients for your health.

A smoothie is a simply a beverage made by pureeing fruits and vegetables with other ingredients in a blender. A smoothie bowl is a thicker more nutrient packed smoothie, thick enough to eat with a spoon, and often topped with fruit, granola, nuts, and seeds. Lets review some common smoothie vs. smoothie bowl questions and how to pack them with nutrients.

Disclaimer: The statements made regarding these recipes have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these recipes have not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These recipes are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Smoothie vs. smoothie bowl

A smoothie is thin enough to drink through a smoothie straw. For a smoothie bowl you can use the same ingredients to make a smoothie, but it will be thick enough to eat with a spoon.

Basic smoothie vs. smoothie bowl ingredients:

Smoothie: 1 cup (8 ounces of fruits and veggies) to 1/2 cup to 1 cup of liquid. Less liquid will make a thicker smoothie, more liquid makes a thinner smoothie.

Smoothie bowl: 2 cups (16 ounces of fruits and veggies) to 1/4 cup liquid.

Optional additives can be mixed in in small quantities. For example, a tablespoon of honey or a scoop of protein powder.

Basic Smoothie recipe example:

1/2 cup frozen mixed berries

1 frozen banana (sliced before freezing) ~1/2 cup

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup milk

Optional: 1 tablespoon elderberry syrup.

Puree in a blender

Serve in a cup with a straw.

Basic Smoothie bowl recipe example:

1.5 cups frozen mixed berries

1 frozen banana (sliced before freezing) ~1/2 cup

2 tablespoons yogurt

2 tablespoons milk

Optional: 1 teaspoon honey

Puree in a blender

Top with fresh blueberries, almond slices, and hemp hearts. Serve in a bowl with a spoon.

Smoothie vs. smoothie bowl infographic

Which blender is best for making smoothies?

I personally prefer the Ninja Professional Blender. It has a large capacity, it blends everything smoothly. It is also dishwasher safe for quick and easy clean up.

Another awesome option for delicious smoothies is the Vitamix Blender. The only drawback is the price. Although it is expensive, it has a few features that the Ninja does not have. It will heat soups, but that is not necessary for smoothies.

If you need a smaller blender for a college dorm or a small kitchen, a handheld immersion blender or a personal size blender are also great options.

Lastly, there is the Ninja Creami which is perfect for making smoothies and best for making smoothie bowls with the added benefit of making ice cream.

Ninja blender making a smoothie

Can you make a smoothie the night before?

The best way to make a smoothie the night before is to prepare all of the ingredients. Chop and freeze the fruit you wish to use. Measure out the liquid ingredients and place them in the refrigerator. Then you can quickly blend them together in the morning.

Can you store a smoothie in the refrigerator or freezer?

If you prepare a smoothie with ice or frozen ingredients then it will thin with refrigeration because the ice will melt and the frozen ingredients will thaw. The smoothie will be thinner, but still tasty. It will probably need to be stirred before consuming.

You can freeze a smoothie, but it will thicken like ice cream or sorbet. Frozen smoothie would require a spoon to consume. You can defrost it but depending on the ingredients, it may not remain smooth. It is possible to blend it again, but the consistency may not be the same.

Are smoothies and smoothie bowls healthy?

Smoothies and smoothie bowls can both be very healthy depending on the ingredients you choose. Read on to learn about healthy and unhealthy ingredients found in smoothies and smoothie bowls.

Which smoothie is anti-inflammatory?

Most smoothie ingredients are naturally anti-inflammatory, which makes smoothies and smoothie bowls a great option for an anti-inflammatory diet. Here are some ingredients to avoid and some to include in anti-inflammatory smoothies and smoothie bowls:

Smoothie ingredients to avoid because they can increase inflammation:

  • Processed foods
  • sugar
  • sweetened teas
  • sugary drinks
  • sweet cereal
  • canned fruit packed in heavy syrup
  • non-dairy creamers (unhealthy fat)

Best Anti-inflammatory smoothie ingredients:

  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Citrus fruits: oranges/grapefruit
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach/kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Quinoa
  • Soy
  • Nuts/seeds
  • hemp hearts/chia
  • Spices: ginger/turmeric/cinnamon

Which Smoothie is best for weight loss?

There are plenty of fad diets out there that will each have their own smoothie recipes. The key to consuming smoothies for weight loss is choosing the right ingredients. Fruits and vegetables are typically the main ingredients in most smoothie and smoothie bowl recipes. The reason why fruits and vegetables are good for weight loss is because they have low energy density. Meaning they have few calories in a large volume of food. This way you can fill up, and feel full while consuming fewer calories. There is some research to prove that consuming low-energy-dense foods will lead to weight loss without feeling hungry.

If you choose low-energy-dense ingredients for your smoothie, you can stay full longer on fewer calories and lose weight.

Best ingredients for a weight loss smoothie or smoothie bowl (low-energy-dense foods)

  • Fresh or frozen vegetables
  • Fresh or frozen fruits
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy products with no sugar added
  • Whole grains
  • Water or ice

Worst ingredients for a weight loss smoothie or smoothie bowl (high-energy-dense foods)

  • Fruits canned in heavy syrup
  • Juice
  • Sweetened yogurt
  • Sugar
  • Full fat dairy products
  • Dried fruits
  • Refined grains: white rice or cereal made with white flour

Smoothie vs. smoothie bowl, which is good for diarrhea?

If you have diarrhea hydration is important. If you are recovering from a stomach bug and have been vomiting also, you should probably start with clear liquids. Once you are feeling better, then a smoothie would still be better than a smoothie bowl because smoothies have more liquid. In the past a BRAT (banana, rice, applesauce, toast) diet was often recommended as a bland diet to eat for the first day of solid food after a stomach bug. These four foods are still a great option, but many experts recommend adding in a few more foods for better nutrition. There are still some foods that should be avoided when you have diarrhea.

Ingredients to avoid adding to a smoothie when you have diarrhea:

  • Dairy (with the exception of yogurt or kefir-especially with antibiotic associated diarrhea)
  • Citrus fruits
  • pineapple
  • leafy green vegetables
  • raw vegetables
  • Spices
  • berries or seedy fruits
  • oils
  • caffeine

Best smoothie ingredients to add when you have diarrhea:

  • Banana
  • Cooked white rice (gritty)/baby rice cereal
  • Kefir or yogurt
  • Apple sauce or juice
  • Pedialyte
  • Coconut water
  • Peaches
  • Melons
  • Squash-e.g. pumpkin puree
  • Cream of wheat
  • Oatmeal

Smoothie vs. Smoothie bowl for constipation?

Hydration and fiber are both important for prevention and treatment of constipation. Smoothies will help more with hydration, but you can pack more fiber in a smoothie bowl. Both are good options for constipation. I unusually try to help my patients choose good foods to treat occasional constipation before resorting to medications.

Best Smoothie and smoothie bowl ingredients for constipation

  • Prunes or prune juice
  • All Bran
  • Plums with peel
  • Berries
  • Squash
  • Leafy Greens
  • Water/Ice
  • Flax seeds
  • Nuts
  • Kombucha
  • Apples with peel/apple juice
  • Kiwi

Which smoothie is best when you are sick with a cold or flu?

If you are sick with a cold or flu you need hydration, especially if you have a fever. Smoothies are a great way in increase hydration. Fruits, vegetables and other immune boosting foods are also beneficial when nursing a viral infection. A cold smoothie made with frozen fruits and/or ice can help to sooth a sore throat. Top your smoothie bowl with my immune boosting granola.

Best Immune boosting smoothie and smoothie bowl ingredients:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Berries
  • Elderberry Syrup
  • Matcha
  • Ginger/turmeric
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Leafy greens
  • Peppers
  • Sweet Potato
  • Pomegranate
  • Yogurt
  • Papaya
  • Kiwi
  • Acai
Immune boosting smoothie and smoothie bowl ingredients infographic.

How to make a hydrating smoothie.

Although both smoothies and smoothie bowls contain hydration, smoothies are more hydrating because they contain more liquid. There are some fruits and vegetables that have a higher water content and are better for improving hydration. Electrolytes are important for improving hydration lost due to sweating from exercise or illness. For more hydration tips, check out my post on hydration.

Most hydrating Smoothie ingredients:

  • Celery
  • Watermelon
  • Peaches
  • Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Leafy Greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Cantalope
  • Strawberries
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Ice
  • Coconut Water
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By Kristin

I am a part-time pediatric pharmacist, full time wife and mother of three teens. I’m also a home chef, gamer, and love to entertain in my home. I know how to relax and enjoy my home life and would love to share my ideas with you.

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