Liquids. Let's just say they can make or break your smoothie. And smoothies are a great way to get a boost of nutrients and energy, but it's not always easy to decide what liquid to use as a base for your smoothie. From traditional choices like milk or water to more unique options like organic coconut water or almond milk, the options can seem endless. In this blog post, we'll be ranking the top liquids for smoothies based on their nutritional value, taste, and overall health benefits. In my experience I have been juice fasting annually since 2006, curated our amazing menu and introduced superfoods to the mainstream juice bar industry making smoothies, juices, salads, bowls and farmacy shots for over 14 years so we'll take a look at the pros and cons of each liquid and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision when choosing the right liquid for your next smoothie. Whether you're a smoothie pro or new to the game, this post will give you the inside scoop on the best liquids for your next smoothie.
#7: Apple Juice
First Impression: It's sweet, slightly tart. Green apple (in my opinion) makes the best apple juice. I'm not a huge fan of sweets (not since college when I gained 15lbs on Minute Maid juice!) and
How have I tested it: We use cold pressed apple juice as an option which is a step above cheaper apple juice from concentrate. Customers love it! If can only afford cheaper apple juice, be sure to dilute it with water and boom! you can balance out the extra sugars. I actually love a little green apple in my smoothies whole, because they are easy to blend and has fibers that are great for the digestive system.
Pros: Guaranteed delicious tasting smoothie which can hide the taste of bitter veggies. Perfect for parents to hide the greens.
Cons: Most apples are higher glycemic so make sure it counts towards 50% of your daily sugar intake.
The Final Score: 7.5/10
#6: Coconut Water
First Impression: It's an acquired taste and depends on the brand. I grew up with Coconut...everything so I love the taste. If you did not grow up with it, it might taste underwhelming!
How have I tested it: We use it as an option for any smoothie base. It's low in sugar and is most requested by health fanatics.
Pros: Coconut water is an excellent source of Potassium (and it's not easy to get potassium from natural sources) Potassium is one of the most important nutrients in our body. It's impossible to be truly hydrated without the assistance of minerals and electrolytes. It also supports nerve function, stroke prevention and reduce blood pressure & benefit diabetics specifically.
Cons: Some brands add sugar...stay away from those! Try real coconut water from local Caribbean markets, Zico, Harmless or any brand that keeps it as close to its' natural state as possible.
The Final Score: 10/10
#5: Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
First Impression: Another great coconut ingredient but it's creamy, low in sugar and full of nutrients. The coconut oil in coconut milk is one of the reasons we choose this base.
How have I tested it: Unsweetened Coconut milk is our nutrient dense alternative to almond milk. Try it if you're not afraid to really taste your ingredients.
Pros: Contains medium-chain fatty acids which helps reduce body weight and body fat because it's so good for the liver. Coconut milk is also lactose free and healing for stomach ulcers
Cons: If you're allergic to nuts, this is not for you. If you want creamy AND sweet, try traditional almond milks!
The Final Score: 8/10
#4: Orange Juice
First Impression: Sweet and tart like apple juice, it hide the flavor of greens, but not my favorite.
How have I tested it: We use it in our Tiny's Juice (Grapefruit, Orange, Ginger) and Cloud 9 (Pineapple, Lemon, Orange, Ginger) The Cloud 9 is a top juice in our bar, but we juice fresh oranges. From concentrate is just too sweet for our customers.
Pros: Sweet, happy oranges are full of vitamin C making it great for the immune system. Oranges can also take credit for kidney health, glowing skin and eliminating free radicals. Oranges just make me feel great, amiright?
Cons: Not too many cons, but if it's too tart, acidic or triggers reflux for your stomach, then it's not the best base for you.
The Final Score: 6.5/10
First Impression: I love oats. Oatmeal, Oat bars, Oats and honey, oat soap, honey oatmeal hair products, oatmeal baths. So when I first tried oatmilk a few years ago in my coffee, I fell instantly!
How have I tested it: Aside from coffee, it's a great option for smoothies and we offer it a few times a month. But not too many people have requested it.
Pros: Oats generally have a comforting, filling taste to them. It's also one of the creamier non-dairy milks available making it great for tea and coffee.
Cons: Might be too filling for a smoothie. And we make smoothies to feel satiated AND light.
The Final Score: 7.5/10
#2: Almond Milk
First Impression: Almond Milk is the most popular and there's a reason
How have I tested it: We have used almond milk in most of our smoothies and protein shakes. It's a customer favorite and we also love to make it from scratch at home.
Pros: Literally perfect for any kind of smoothie, any fruit, veggies and superfoods. Almonds are native to the middle east and are know for benefitting gut health, skin appearance, weight regulation and heart health. Almonds, brazil, pecans and other nuts also help reduce blood pressure and improve vascular function, helping reduce artery stiffness increasing or maintain good cholesterol while lowering bad LDL levels.
Cons: Not ideal for people with allergies. Make sure you can tolerate the ingredients in almond milk or make it at home form scratch.
The Final Score: 8.5/10
#1: Spring Water
First Impression: When I was a kid nothing was less exciting than drinking water, unless is was a sugar water sports drink or the salient liquid was crashing against a the rocks of a mountain river. Once I learned to replace my freshman year daily store juices with water, 15lbs melted away and i've been craving and loving water ever since.
How have I tested it: When I need to keep my smoothie simple I use cold spring water. We actually never use ice as an ingredient. Why pay for ice when you can have more frozen blueberries?!
Pros: It's water. We're made of it. Our cells need it. And if you're a health warrior, you're not afraid of the texture of kale or the taste of soursop.
Cons: Not ideal for people that need the creaminess of non-dairy milks needed to make a smooth...smoothie. Not ideal for the best tasting smoothies and shakes.
The Final Score: 8/10
#Bonus: Dairy Milk
First Impression: After spending 10 years as a vegan, I reintroduced dairy products (mostly fermented dairy like Kefir and yogurts) to my diet with success. I use them strategically and sporadically. For example, if I eat cheese, i'll use softer cheeses like feta over cheddar and american. So I am NOT opposed to using dairy milk in your smoothies if you have not issues with them.
How have I tested it: I tried a smoothie once with dairy milk. However it was raw dairy from a farm in upstate new york with oats, honey, strawberries and banana. It was great, but i'm just not a fan of drinking Cow's milk on a regular basis. I'm still cautious in regards to my digestive health!
Pros: Best I think for protein shakes. Dairy milk a rich source of protein, fats, calcium, riboflavin, phosphates and B12. If you're all about protein then dairy milk has more than our other contenders above.
Cons: Not a good fit for vegans, passionate animal lovers or people with lactose intolerance. Does not have a long enough shelf life unless it's pasteurized.
The Final Score: 6.5/10
Leave a comment, share your favorite smoothie bases or let us know which liquids you love (or don't).