Smoothie season is upon us! There is nothing quite like a cold, refreshing smoothie to help keep you cool during those long, hot summer days. Smoothies are simple and easy to whip up, and they can be packed with nutrition when done right. If you are looking to ramp up your smoothie game this summer, here are three tips that will help take your next smoothie to the next level:

1. Mix Up the Base

Real milk and Greek yogurt are the staples in smoothie-making 101. Since dairy has a significant amount of protein as well as a powerful package of thirteen essential nutrients, it’s a no brainer to use real dairy products as your smoothie base.

Use Real Dairy as the base of the smoothie.

  • Milk has a significant amount of protein as well as a powerful package of 13 essential nutrients including calcium, protein, phosphorus, vitamin D, Vitamin A, and several B vitamins. Add more or less milk depending on how thick you like your smoothie.
  • Yogurt is another great source of protein and 9 essential nutrients. Most yogurts are made with live and active cultures, and some also provide probiotics – or good bacteria – that may help maintain digestive health, boost immunity, fight infection and protect against diseases.
cottage cheese

Here are a few alternatives that can also be used for a base:

  • Kefir is a fermented milk drink that has a tart, tangy taste. Strained kefir is also available in spoonable cups and has a creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt with up to twice as many probiotics. Check out this Kefir smoothie by Savor Recipes.
  • Icelandic style yogurt (aka Skyr) is a strained yogurt that’s creamier and thicker than Greek yogurt. So thick in fact that it takes almost four cups of milk to make just one cup of Icelandic yogurt, which is why it contains more protein than regular yogurts. Check out this Skyr smoothie by Siggi’s.
  • Cottage Cheese is a fresh cheese known for its small curds and slightly savory and creamy taste. High in protein, cottage cheese adds a velvety, creamy texture to smoothies when blended. Check out this Cottage Cheese smoothie by Savor Recipes.

2. Go Tropical

While strawberry-banana smoothies or chocolate-peanut butter smoothies are definitely crowd pleasers, you can really shake things up by adding in more unique, tropical fruits. You can find many of these in the frozen section year-round, if they are not available fresh in the produce department. Whether fresh, frozen, canned, or dried, fruit contributes essential nutrients to your smoothies like potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C and folate. Frozen fruit helps add that thick, frothiness to your smoothie.

Try adding some of these tropical fruits in your next smoothie:

bowl of kiwis

3. Texturize It

Try adding just one or two of these nutritional boosters to your next smoothie to ramp up the texture and nutrition. These add-ins can boost the protein, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals to your smoothie, as well as add more flavor and texture!

  • Flaxseed
  • Chia seed
  • Hemp seed
  • Rolled Oats
  • Nut butters
nut butter

Smoothies are an easy, portable and nutritious beverage any time of day. While the options truly are endless when deciding what ingredients to add into your next smoothie, keep these three tips in mind to ensure you are getting a well-balanced beverage that’s packed with nutrition.

Click here for more tips on how to Build a Better Smoothie.