Tips for Making Smoothies and Shakes


If you have specific questions about your diet, please talk to your health care team to determine what is best for you.

Smoothies and shakes are a great way to add protein and calories to the diet if you are having trouble eating well. Keep the following points in mind as you get started making high-calorie, high-proteinsmoothie and shake recipes.

  1. NEVER use raw eggs in a smoothie.
  2. If your mouth is sore, skip fruit that contains small seeds, such as strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries. These tiny seeds can irritate a sore mouth. Instead, use another fruit, such as a banana, or peaches, nectarines, or pears without their skins (peel first). Also, skip the flax seeds if your mouth is sore.
  3. Thoroughly wash all raw fruit and vegetables before using them in a smoothie. If your white blood cell count is low (you are immune-compromised), be sure to check with your medical care team that it is OK to eat fresh fruit and vegetables.
  4. Clean, peel, and prepare the smoothie ingredients and place in the blender.
  5. Blend all of the ingredients together to your desired consistency. Add additional liquid if needed to thin out and blend ingredients. Depending on the “strength” of your blender, you may need more or less liquid to make the mixture blend.
  6. If fresh fruit is not available, you can use frozen fruit instead. Frozen fruit will make a thicker smoothie than fresh, so you may need more liquid if you are using frozen fruit.
  7. For tofu, try a brand that does not need to be refrigerated until opened. You can find these brands on the shelf, in the nonrefrigerated health food or ethnic food section of your grocery store. Do refrigerate any left over portion of tofu after you open it at home.
  8. If you can't finish the whole smoothie at once, you can store the unused portion in the refrigerator or freezer. You can re-blend the smoothie later that same day by adding a little more liquid. Do not store any unused portion of the smoothie in the refrigerator for more than one day.
  9. In any smoothie recipe, you can use whichever liquid that you like. Examples of liquids that work well for making smoothies include soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, oat milk, or regular nonfat milk. You can use a liquid nutritional supplement, such as Boost® or Ensure® as well. To maximize the calories and protein in any smoothie or shake, try using Boost Plus®, Ensure Plus®, or a generic version of one of these products as your liquid.
  10. A common complaint during cancer treatment is that many foods taste too sweet. If food tastes too sweet to you during your cancer treatment, try substituting frozen cranberries for some of the other fruit in a shake or smoothie recipe. This will give you a tart, less sweet shake.
This content was last reviewed August 15, 2010 by Dr. Reshma L. Mahtani.
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