Are freeze-dried smoothies healthy?

Freeze-dried smoothies have become an increasingly popular portable nutrition option in recent years. But are these powdered smoothies actually good for you? Here’s a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of freeze-dried smoothies.

What are freeze-dried smoothies?

Freeze-dried smoothies are made by taking fresh smoothies containing fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients and processing them through a freeze-drying machine. This machine instantly freezes the smoothie and then removes almost all moisture through a process called sublimation. What’s left behind is a shelf-stable powder that weighs only a fraction of the original smoothie.

To enjoy a freeze-dried smoothie, you simply add water or milk to the powder and shake or blend to incorporate the ingredients. The rehydrated smoothie is meant to taste just like the original fresh version.

Companies like Snack Pack and Amazing Grass have popularized freeze-dried smoothies that come in single-serve pouches designed for portability. You can also find larger containers of various smoothie powders meant to be mixed at home.

Benefits of freeze-dried smoothies

There are some advantages to choosing freeze-dried smoothie powders over fresh smoothies:

  • Long shelf life – Freeze-dried smoothies can last for many months or even years when stored properly, while fresh smoothies last for a few days at most.
  • Portability – The powders are lightweight and pack down small, making them ideal for carrying in bags or taking along on hikes, camping trips, and other activities.
  • Nutrient retention – The freeze-drying process preserves many of the nutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Studies show these powders retain higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than you’d get from store-bought bottled smoothies.
  • Dietary flexibility – Many brands offer types like whey protein, plant-based protein, keto, and probiotic smoothies. So you can find an option tailored to your particular diet or nutritional needs.
  • Lower cost – Making your own smoothies from freeze-dried powder can cost less per serving compared to purchasing pre-made fresh smoothies.
  • Simple preparation – All you have to do is add water or milk, shake, and drink. There’s no chopping or blending required.
  • Precise portions – The single-serve pouches make it easy to control your serving size and calories.

Downsides of freeze-dried smoothies

On the other hand, there are some drawbacks to freeze-dried smoothie powders:

  • Higher sugar content – To improve shelf life and flavor, many powders contain added sugars or natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
  • Lacks fresh taste – Rehydrated powders don’t fully replicate the flavor and texture of fresh blended smoothies made with whole fruits and veggies.
  • Nutrient loss – Some nutrients like vitamin C degrade over the long shelf life before you mix and drink the smoothie.
  • Pouches create plastic waste – The single-serve pouches don’t break down in landfills and are difficult to recycle.
  • Contains additives – To improve flow and rehydration, companies add anti-caking agents, emulsifiers, and flow agents that fresh smoothies don’t require.
  • Cost comparison – While cheaper than pre-made smoothies, freeze-dried powders can cost more per serving than if you made your own fresh smoothies at home.
  • High in sodium – Added flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives boost the sodium content compared to fresh smoothies you make yourself.

Nutritional value

So do these convenient smoothie powders actually provide good nutrition? Here’s a deeper look at their typical nutritional profile:


When prepared according to package directions, freeze-dried smoothies contain 2-4g of fiber per serving. This comes from the fruit and vegetable powders used to make them. While not bad, fresh smoothies you make at home can easily provide 5-10g per serving when you include high-fiber ingredients like flaxseed, chia seeds, avocado, and leafy greens.


The freeze-drying process removes most natural sugars. Companies then add other sweeteners to improve flavor. An average serving can contain 10-20g total sugars. For comparison, a homemade fruit and veggie smoothie will have around 5-15g sugars naturally coming from ingredients like bananas, pineapple, and beets.


Freeze-dried smoothies contain around 200-400mg sodium per serving. This sodium occurs naturally in the fruits and veggies. But added flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives boost the levels higher compared to homemade smoothies, which have less than 100mg sodium when no salt is added.


If made with a protein source like whey powder, plant-based protein powder, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or milk, freeze-dried smoothies offer 10-20g of protein per serving. Homemade smoothies can have just as much or even more protein depending on your ingredients and portions.

Vitamins and minerals

Testing shows freeze-dried smoothies retain a lot of the vitamins and minerals naturally present in the whole food ingredients. Levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, calcium, and potassium are similar to what you’d find in fresh homemade smoothies. Just be aware that some vitamin C and other water-soluble vitamins degrade over the long shelf life before consumption.


The fruit and vegetable powders used in freeze-dried smoothies supply antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and polyphenols that protect your cells from damage. However, antioxidants are most potent in fresh produce. So homemade smoothies with fresh ingredients provide higher levels.

Health benefits

Research on freeze-dried smoothies specifically is limited. But studies on freeze-dried fruits and vegetables suggest powdered smoothies likely share similar health benefits to fresh smoothies:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Improved heart health
  • Better blood sugar control
  • Increased antioxidant status
  • Enhanced immunity
  • Healthy digestion
  • Satiety and weight management

Some benefits like satiety may be reduced compared to whole fresh produce since freeze-drying makes powders more calorie-dense and less fibrous and hydrating. But overall, smoothly powders provide a quick, convenient way to increase fruit and vegetable intake and improve diet quality.

Best uses

Freeze-dried smoothie powders serve best for specific situations like:

  • On-the-go nutrition – Keep pouches in your work bag, gym bag, or hiking pack for instant access to a nutrient boost anywhere.
  • Post-workout recovery – Their combination of carbs and protein makes them ideal for refueling tired muscles after exercise.
  • Busy mornings – Mix up a fast morning smoothie without needing to chop and clean lots of fresh produce.
  • Camping/hiking – They’re lightweight and require no refrigeration, making them very camping and backpacking friendly.
  • Disaster preparedness – Store tubs of powdered smoothies for emergency food situations when fresh foods aren’t available.
  • Traveling – Powders are great for work trips and vacations where you lack a blender or fresh ingredients.
  • Breakfast replacement – Use them to make a filling and nutritious smoothie bowl in under 5 minutes.

For everyday smoothies at home, fresh produce blended up is still the healthier and less expensive choice. But freeze-dried smoothies can be a lifesaver when fresh isn’t practical.

Cost comparison

Freeze-dried smoothies cost between $1-$3 per serving when purchased in multi-serving containers. Single-serve pouches run $2-$4 each. This makes them cheaper than buying a fresh smoothie at a juice bar for $5-$10. However, homemade smoothies cost just $1-$2 per serving by making your own fruit and veggie combinations.

The initial upfront investment for a blender can seem high, but it usually pays for itself quickly when you calculate the long-term savings from homemade smoothies. So while freeze-dried smoothies save some money versus pre-made, they still cost you more than making it yourself.

How to choose the healthiest powder

When selecting a freeze-dried smoothie powder, check the label for:

  • Ingredient list – Choose ones where real fruit and vegetable powders are listed first. Avoid products with lots of added sugars.
  • Low sugar – Seek brands under 15g total sugar per serving.
  • High fiber – Look for at least 4g fiber from the real food ingredients rather than added isolate fibers.
  • No artificial ingredients – Avoid products with artificial flavors, colors, or chemical preservatives like BHT.
  • Protein source – Pick a protein you can tolerate like whey, plant, egg, or nut-based protein.

Also be sure to get enough calories. Options under 100 calories won’t be very filling. Better to have at least 150-200 calories per serving.

Making your own freeze-dried smoothies

While less convenient, you can also make your own freeze-dried smoothies at home. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Make a fresh smoothie using your favorite ingredients and seasonings.
  2. Spread the smoothie out evenly on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
  3. Place the baking sheets in the freezer for several hours until completely frozen.
  4. Remove from the freezer and place in a food dehydrator or oven on the lowest temperature setting.
  5. Dehydrate for 6-12 hours until the smoothie sheet becomes dry and brittle.
  6. Break the freeze-dried sheet into pieces and process it into a powder using a food processor or blender.
  7. To enjoy, mix the powder with water, milk, or juice and shake, blend, or stir to incorporate.

This process results in a freeze-dried smoothie powder with only the real-food ingredients you choose. You control what goes in it.

The only downside is freeze-dried smoothies made at home don’t reconstitute as well. They can be gritty and clumpy if you don’t have industrial grade equipment. But the nutrition can’t be beaten.

Are freeze-dried smoothies healthy: The bottom line

Overall, the convenience does come at a bit of a nutrition trade-off. But freeze-dried smoothies are still far better than skipping fruits and veggies entirely when you’re traveling or strapped for time. Just be mindful of added sugars and unlikely claims about “superfood” ingredients. For everyday use, homemade smoothies are your healthiest and cheapest choice.

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