It’s no wonder smoothies are traditionally made with yogurt – the smooth and thick texture of the dairy product is just the right consistency for tasty smoothies. If you can’t or don’t want to drink smoothies with yogurt, there are plenty of alternatives. Whether you’re going dairy-free because you’re lactose intolerant, dieting, or you simply don’t like yogurt, there’s a lot of ingredients you can use as a substitute for yogurt, so I recommend you to experiment and find the combo that you love the most.
So let’s jump straight into it and see what the best alternatives to yogurt in smoothies are!
Bananas are awesome and honestly, my personal favorite. If you’re craving a creamy smoothie, banana is the right way to thicken the texture. When blended, bananas give you a perfect base for a bunch of smoothie recipes, and you can combine it with a huge variety of other ingredients since the aroma of bananas is so mild. What’s more, the delicious fruit is mess-free, easy to peel, and chock-full of potassium! However, no matter how delicious, you should ration your portions. More than three bananas a day can be too much since the fruit is also rich in natural sugars.
Avocadoes truly are a fantastic addition to any smoothie. Not only do you get some of that divinely soft and creamy texture from it, but you also provide your body with plenty of useful nutrients. The green fruit contains a lot of good stuff, including pantothenic acid, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, folate, niacin, and vitamins C, E, K, and B-6.
2.1 Flax Seeds
It might seem counter-intuitive to add seeds instead of yogurt, but if you need a good thickening agent, there are few ingredients as good for the job. Flax seeds are a great way to add some texture to your smoothie and increase viscosity. Besides being a perfect smoothie thickener, flax seeds are extremely healthy as well – a tablespoon of ground flax seeds contains as much as 2 grams of Omega-3 essential fatty acids which are amazing for your heart. Along with Omega-3, flax seeds also contain plenty of lignans, which is a powerful antioxidant.
However, to reap the benefits of flaxseed, you should make sure the seed is ground or crushed before eating – it will just pass through if it’s whole. Additionally, you should add flax seeds to your smoothie little by little to reach a good consistency. Because of that, it’s a good idea to prepare the seeds beforehand. Simply blend the seeds until you reach the texture you like the most, pour in a jar, and store in a refrigerator.
2.2 Chia Seeds
In the previous decade, the chia seed went from a lesser-known South American specialty to a worldwide craze. A staple in ancient Aztec and Mayan cuisines, the little black seeds are back for a reason. Namely, chia is fun and versatile, and it has a mild flavor so it’s easy to combine with other ingredients. It has a high content of beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium. In fact, if you’re looking for a great source of calcium, look no further than chia, since a single ounce of the seeds contains about 18% of the recommended daily intake.
Once you take a look at the seeds, you might question putting them in your smoothie. But let it soak the juice for 10 minutes, and you’ll see how tiny black seeds swell up and become gelatinous like tapioca. You add chia first to let it soak longer, add it later (letting it sit for a while), or even pre-soak it and just add to your smoothie. Just remember that little goes a long way since the seeds can absorb quite a bit of liquid.
3. Yogurt and Milk Substitutes
If you’re looking for a non-dairy product that’s a direct alternative for yogurt or milk, there are few solutions as obvious as plant-based yogurt and milk substitutes. I highly recommend almond milk yogurt, though soy milk is great too! However, make sure that your substitute of choice has no added sugar.
4.1 Coconut Cream
Browsing the web, you might notice that coconut cream is one of the favorite yogurt substitutes for smoothies. What makes it even better is that you can also use the coconut cream to top your smoothie with a coconut whipped cream. When it comes to coconut cream in smoothies, it really does work wonders in terms of making your drink thicker and creamier, and it’s delicious as heck. However, coconut cream is not an ingredient you should use every day. You should use coconut cream in moderations because it’s very high in calories, especially saturated fats which can lead to cholesterol and heart issues. On the other hand, the cream is quite nutritious and it contains vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6, and minerals like selenium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous.
4.2 Nut Butters
Now we get to possibly the tastiest ingredient on our list. Peanut, almond, and cashew butter can all work to make your smoothies crazily delicious, thick, and smooth in texture. Additionally, nut butter is a great source of nutrients like protein, healthy fats, and potassium. Obviously, nut butter is very tasty, but it has a rather strong flavor so there’s not much room for creativity when it comes to mixing and matching smoothie ingredients. The most common smoothie recipes with peanut butter involve bananas, oats, and blueberries.
5. Protein Powders
If you’re looking for a way to increase your protein intake (whether to increase your muscle mass or simply to maintain a balanced diet), you shouldn’t shy away from adding the powder to your smoothie as well. Protein powders are designed to be mixed with water or milk to make a shake, and since proteins themselves often act as thickening agents, a scoop of the supplement will make your smoothie divinely thick and creamy. Unless you have a blender food processor combo, you just have to be careful that your blender gets all the powder mixed in right, so you don’t have to chew through clumps of dry powder.
You can get protein powders in many flavors, and both dairy and lactose-free. The most popular alternatives to the traditional whey (milk) protein are egg white, brown rice, and coconut protein powders.
Going Dairy-free is That Easy
I used to be one of the many people that couldn’t even begin to imagine using something other than yogurt in smoothies. It felt like yogurt is the very soul, the one essential ingredient, when in fact, it’s so easy to replace. Once I decided I wanted to explore the dairy-free options out there (due to health issues), I realized I was so, so wrong. In fact, there are few things I enjoy as much as a banana-base smoothie with berries, and it doesn’t contain a drop of dairy. I hope you’ll find your new favorite on this list as well!