Differences Between Shakes And Smoothies: Is There A Difference?

So many health websites are there, telling you about all these drinks you can make to help you look and feel healthier. You can make a protein shake or a green smoothie, but is there any real difference between these two types of drink

They may seem very alike, and in many ways, they can be interchangeable, but there are a few differences that can make you have a favorite. 

Let’s take a look at the overall smoothie vs shake debate that is rocking the world! 

Differences Between Shakes And Smoothies


Let’s look at a few things to begin, the things that pin-point the true differences between these very separate beverages: 

  • Smoothies are usually very thick, this is thanks to the fruit and vegetable pulp they have in them. Shakes are often creamier in their ingredients.
  • Typical smoothie flavors include –  mango, green veg, pineapple, kiwi, and strawberry.
  • Shakes will often contain a significant dosage of protein, but smoothies usually do not (although some do). 
  • Smoothies are great pre-workout, and shakes are great post-workout. 
  • Typical shake flavors include –  chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, and caramel. 
  • When you order at a restaurant, you should always make sure that you are not actually receiving a milkshake dressed up to ‘seem’ healthy. 
  • Smoothies or shakes can be a healthy option, but they are best made at home. 

The Texture & The Base

A shake will have a much creamier texture than a smoothie does, they are usually thick enough that you could use a spoon if you wanted. 

For us, we are only talking about the shakes that are made in a healthy manner. So, this will exclude any shakes which are made with ice cream. 

Shakes can be made from healthier bases, such as avocados, frozen bananas, and coconut milk. 

Smoothies do not always have a creamy texture, they could be thick though, as they will contain pulp from whatever fruit and veg you put in there. Especially when you use frozen fruits. 

Liquid bases for smoothies often include almond milk, or water, whereas for smoothies it is milk, yogurt, or coconut milk. 

How Much Protein?

Differences Between Shakes And Smoothies

Shakes are usually drawn apart from smoothies in their protein count. Smoothies do not always contain protein, in fact, they rarely do, unless specifically requested/made to have protein.

Smoothie ingredients are often fruit and veg only, sometimes including nut butter or chia seeds to increase the protein count. 

Shakes will often be fortified with a protein powder, which will add a creamy texture and helps you to feel fuller for longer. Shakes will also often be used as a meal replacement food, as they have a high nutrition ratio.

If you wanted, you could add protein powder to smoothies as well, in fact, this is all you need to do to make your smoothie into a protein shake. 

Flavor Options

Most people will think of a smoothie and think of bright colors. This is often thanks to many smoothie flavors being fruit combinations such as mango and pineapple, strawberry and kiwi, berry and bananas, and so on. 

However, if you choose a green smoothie, this includes romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, cucumber, or even celery.

Shakes will usually be more healthy fats in terms of ingredients. Popular shake flavors will include chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, and caramel. The base will often be a frozen banana, coconut milk, avocado, and so on.

Smoothies Vs Shakes

What are the burning questions everyone has about the differences between these two different healthy beverages?

Smoothie Or Shake: Which Is Healthier?

Honestly, neither one of these two beverages is healthier than the other. It just depends on what ingredients are in it. 

If you have a smoothie that contains mostly fruit and vegetables then it is more likely to be healthy than a shake that is high in fats, with ice cream and chocolate flavoring. 

Using fruit and vegetables makes the recipe high in carbohydrates, carbs are easy and fast to digest. 

However, if you have a protein shake, these are better for after a workout, with protein and carbs. 

It depends on the contents and the purpose of drinking the beverage.

What Should You Choose At A Smoothie Bar/ Restaurant?

When ordering shakes or smoothies, you need to make sure you get natural products with no additional sugars, you can always find out if something is healthy by looking at how they are made: 

  • Does it contain ice cream or frozen yogurt?
  • Is it fresh, frozen, or concentrated fruits?
  • Is there nutritional information available?
  • Does it contain syrup to add flavor?

You need to try and get a list and overview of the information about nutrition, as most major chains for smoothie bars and the like will have to share this information. 

You should try to order drinks that only have 45 grams or lower of carbohydrates and have the lowest amount of sugar possible. Sugar should come straight from the fruits and not from added sweeteners.

Should You Make Your Own?

Any shake or smoothie that is made at home will always be healthier than one that is ready-made. Period.
You decide what and how much goes in the drink. You have full control.

Shakes Vs Smoothies: What We Think

While these two beverage types are very similar, they do have differences. You should use smoothies pre-working out and shakes post-workout. 

When purchasing a ready-made shake or smoothie, check the ingredients and nutrition, and that they are not a milkshake in disguise. 


Are Smoothies And Shakes The Same?

Smoothies and shakes are similar but not the same. Smoothies tend to have a water base and contain fruit or vegetables, whereas shakes tend to be more protein-heavy with yogurt or coconut milk bases.

Which Is Healthier Shakes Or Smoothies?

A smoothie or shake is only as healthy as its ingredients, regardless of which it is.

What Is Considered A Shake?

A shake has a thick texture and usually has a high dose of protein in it.


Shakes and smoothies are both equally good. It all comes down to how they are prepared. So, based on what has been used and the quantity, this will determine whether the drink is healthier or not.
To ensure what you are drinking is healthy, make it yourself!

Follow Me!
Latest posts by Ella (see all)

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply