I was hesitant at first and imagined that green smoothies would taste bitter and rather unpleasant. How wrong I was as I immediately fell in love with the way my body responded to the increased energy and surge of nutrients that this smoothie packs and ever since then my love of green smoothies has flourished.
What are Green Smoothies:
Basically it’s a smoothie that combines simple ingredients; a liquid (such as filtered water or coconut water), fruits of choice and dark leafy green vegetables (this should ideally make up about 60-70% of the smoothie). Don’t be intimated with the greens, just have fun and create your own; that’s the beauty of it. What’s the buzz? Green smoothies are getting a lot of hype for good reason. Below I share my breakdown of why green smoothies can be an amazing addition to your eats.
Benefits of Green Smoothies:
Easy to digest: Because the raw/frozen fruits and raw greens have been blended, the cell walls where nutrients are encased, are then “broken”. Blending essentially makes the nutrients more readily available for use by the body. Think of it as being “pre-digested” in nature.
Nutritious: Packed with loads of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols and water.
Wholesome breakfast: Perfect first thing in the morning before your usual breakfast, snack, or increase the serving to take place of your entire breakfast (up to 1 liter).
Simple and quick: If you’re someone who is always on the go, this is a perfect way to ensure you’re getting a substantial amount of greens into your diet.
Veggie-love: Even if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy eating green leafy vegetables, this is a perfect way to “sneak” them into your diet. You won’t be able to taste the greens at all with the mixture of fruit and lemon juice- I promise, just give it a go.
Kid-safe: Not to mention, they are very kid friendly. It’s a fantastic way to get nutrient dense foods into their growing bodies. You’ll find the perfect combination for even the fussiest of kids. Give smoothies fun names so they have some fun in the process.
Versatile: You can always add/remove ingredients to your liking. That’s why green smoothies are so easy to incorporate into your lifestyle. The base recipe where I make additions from is my original Stripped Green Smoothie, from there the possibilities are endless.
Filling: Since the main ingredients of my green smoothie are only fresh/frozen fruit and raw vegetables, it’s loaded with fiber. 1 serving of my Stripped Green Smoothie has over 10 gms fiber.
Energizing: The main ingredients used are fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with nutrients, vitamins and minerals to give you sustaining energy in comparison to stimulating drinks that only last a few hours.
On-the-go: There’s nothing quicker than throwing heaps of veggies and fruits into a blender, blending and pouring it into a mug to go out the door. It’s a super simple breakfast or quick meal/snack idea for a busy day ahead.
Digestion: We mentioned the amazing fiber content in green smoothies, which is both soluble and insoluble. Having a food or meal that contains both types of fiber is fantastic for a healthy,regular and effecient digestive system.
Use a high speed blender: This will make a world of a difference between drinking a “salad” and drinking a creamy smoothie, trust me. I’m a huge fan of the Optimum blenders, it works well. Although it’s a little pricey it is honestly worth the investment especially if you plan to make more than smoothies. If you’re on a budget I recommend the nutribullet.
Beginners: I suggest having a higher ratio of fruit:greens (3:1), and gradually increasing the greens as your palate gets used to the green taste and texture. Ideally having about 70-80% greens and 20-30% fruits is the way to go.
Organic: Go organic as much as possible. Overall, the goal is to limit amount of pesticide exposure as much as possible. Another great option is to choose fresh produce from your local farmers markets. Find the best organic foods here ,by the EWG.
Fresh is best: Use fresh raw produce especially with the greens. Fruits are an exception- for example, if berries are not in season and you’re craving for some, opt for organic frozen varieties.
Use ripe fruit: That’s right, eat those spotted bananas and mushy pears.
Citrus: Always add a citrus component (lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit, etc.). Lime is my personal favorite.
Switch it up: Vary your greens. Some weeks you may use kale, spinach, romaine; maybe the next week you’ll use romaine, celery, and swiss chard, etc.Variety (with greens and fruits) is important for obtaining a wide variety of minerals and nutrients, but also to keep the flavors fun and interesting.
Bananas are great to add a “binding” effect and creates a thick, creamy texture. If you’re allergic to bananas, try pears, avocados, or mango.
Plan ahead: Make large batches. You can store this in the refrigerator for 3-4 days maximum. I suggest using mason jars with an air tight lid. You can purchase mason jars online, hardware stores, or even craft stores.
Experiment: Don’t be afraid to try greens that you’ve never heard of before. The sweetness from the fruit will “hide” much of the “green” taste.
Chew your smoothie: Don’t just guzzle down this green goodness, you need to slightly chew or swish it around. This sets up for better digestion by stimulating your salivary glands and digestive enzymes. Remember digestion starts within the mouth.
Get fancy: Add in superfood extras for additional nutritional value. Goji berries are a great addition among many others. Try as many as possible and you’ll discover an array of combinations.
How to Make a Green Smoothie:
Smoothie meal: 3 parts greens + 1 part fruit + 1 citrus + 1 part protein + 1 part healthy fat or carbohydrate + superfoods + liquid of desired texture.
Smoothie snack: 2 parts greens + 1 part fruit + 1 citrus + 1 part protein or healthy fat + superfoods + liquid to your desired texture
Blend the following ingredients to desired thickness.
Liquid: Can be filtered water, coconut water, matcha green tea, homemade nut milks, etc.
Greens: Select from the greenest vegetables like green kale, spinach, romaine, celery, swiss chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, cucumber, wheatgrass, herbs such as mint, cilantro, parsley, basil and more.
Fruits: Go for natural sweeteners like bananas, apples, green apples, pears, kiwi, pineapple, peaches, mango, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, papaya, blood orange, figs, dates, plums, açai, and more.
Carbohydrates: Possibly some sprouted buckwheat groats, gluten free rolled oats, pumpkin puree, etc.
Healthy fats: A wide range includes avocados, nuts, seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seed, flax seed oil, coconut oil, coconut meat and young coconut meat.
Citrus: Pick out anything that has some vitamin C; lemon, lime, grapefruit, Meyer lemon, orange
Protein: Plant-based protein powders. I love Organic Hemp Protein, Sunwarrior and Vega, hemp seeds, spirulina, nuts/seeds also contain healthy fats.
Superfood toppings/add-ins: Includes a wide variety including bee pollen, maca powder, lucuma, cacao nibs, spirulina, chlorella, cinnamon, cayenne, baobab, etc.
Hopefully you all learned a little today about green smoothies and their power as far as nutrient density, helping digestion and giving you natural energy. If you loved this, feel free to bookmark it or save it for later by sharing it with friends.
Have fun with creating your own green smoothie.