How to Make an Energy Smoothie

If you need a boost first thing in the morning or before a workout, get ready to rev up that blender. Smoothies are easy to prepare with fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and other ingredients that provide long-lasting energy. Once you know the wide variety of ingredients you can use to boost energy, you can make hundreds of different kinds of smoothies. Get creative and get going.

Energy Smoothie Basics
All nutritious smoothies require the same basic ingredients. They should contain all three of the macronutrients -- protein, carbohydrate and fat. Carbs are your body's premier choice for energy, so any energy smoothie needs a nutritious source of carbs. Healthy fats, another important source of energy for the body, enable the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K in your smoothie. Protein can also act as a source of energy, but it mainly supports muscle maintenance and growth. It also plays a role in transporting oxygen through your blood, which is crucial for energy.

Start With a Base
Your smoothie needs a liquid base to give it a thin enough consistency to drink. Plain water is an obvious choice. It keeps you hydrated to fend off the fatigue that dehydration can cause and doesn't add any extra calories to your drink. Cow's milk provides protein for muscle maintenance and carbohydrates for energy, but choose the low-fat or nonfat varieties to avoid too much saturated fat. Dairy alternatives such as almond, coconut, hemp and soy milks also provide protein and carbs, as well as healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Coconut water is another option.

Choose unsweetened varieties to avoid extra added sugar that provides a quick burst of energy but can then lead to an energy crash. That's also a good reason to avoid using fruit juice as a base -- it's a concentrated source of simple sugars that add calories, as opposed to a sustained source of energy.

Add Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds and Grains
Fresh fruits and vegetables are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that keep your body functioning optimally, and they're a rich source of energy-boosting carbohydrates. The eight B vitamins are especially important for energy because they play a major role in turning the food you eat into fuel for your body. Many fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains are rich sources of at least one of the B vitamins. For example, spinach is a good source of riboflavin, and its mild flavor works well in a smoothie. Oats are a good source of thiamine and can be added uncooked to the blender. Peanuts are a rich source of niacin. Avocado and papaya add creaminess and sweetness, respectively, to a smoothie and are both a rich source of folate.

Other Energy-Boosting Add-Ins
While carbs and healthy fats are most important for providing energy, you might want a little more protein in your shake, especially if you're drinking it after a workout. Cow's milk, nuts and seeds will provide some, but other sources of protein include whey, casein, hemp, brown rice and pea protein powders and silken tofu. Chia seeds and ground flaxseeds are excellent sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and matcha green tea powder provides a boost of energy from caffeine. The powder is also an abundant source of disease-fighting antioxidants. It creates a frothy texture when whipped up in a smoothie as well.