Green Smoothies Are Clean Eating At Its Best

Green smoothie I decided to try green smoothies after realizing I wasn’t getting nearly enough vegetables in my clean-eating diet – particularly dark leafy greens. I could see in my calorie tracker that I was woefully low on vitamin K, and it was time to face up to the fact that I was a fruit addict who didn’t eat many salads!

But why not eat loads of vegetables? Dark leafy greens are truly an elixir of good health. They’re full of vitamins (particularly folate, which promotes heart health and cancer prevention), minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Dark leafy greens may even help lower your cancer risk, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research [1]. Not only that, but dark leafy greens have a relatively low-calorie and carb content and low glycemic load, beneficial to those wanting to lose weight or simply maintain their weight.

As a newcomer to green smoothies, I wondered if a shake full of spinach would taste bitter and rank. But after diving in and experimenting with various ingredients, I discovered that green smoothies are delicious and help fulfill the recommended daily allowance of vegetables, too. The USDA’s ChooseMyPlate website recommends at least three to four servings of dark green leafy vegetables per week and four to six vegetable servings a day. I probably wasn’t getting that much, even though I eat very healthy.

Picking dark greens for your garden So I was happy to find that while green smoothies include nutrient-dense greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, they taste more like the other ingredients you add, such as pear, mango, pineapple, or banana.

Add green smoothies in your meal rotation to supplement your snacks, breakfasts, or lunches.

Planting a Green Smoothie Garden

Not only is planting your own leafy greens convenient and organic, it saves money! You can pick what you need during warm months and store the greens in the freezer for organic winter smoothies. Some plants, like chard, are perennials and will come back for several years.

This year we planted kale, spinach, and parsley. Of course, you can use these in salads too!

How to Make a Green Smoothie

The varieties of green smoothies are truly endless. The secret is in using a water-soluble fruit to provide creaminess and sweetness (see the list below). Incidentally, you can also put leafy green stalks in your smoothie, not just the leaves. (Just make sure you have a high-powered blender if you do.)

Add ingredients in this order: Liquids, fruit, and greens. Don’t mix the greens too long or their nutrients will break down. If this is your first green smoothie, try adding a bit more fruit than greens at first. Then, as you get more experienced, use about half greens and half fruit.

Base: Water, unsweetened almond milk, green tea, coconut water (or plain water), plain, fat-free Greek yogurt

Healthy fats: Chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almond, cashew or peanut butter (careful when adding whole nuts; they can be hard to grind), coconut oil

Fruit (fresh and/or frozen): To ensure proper texture and flavor, include at least one kind of fruit that is high in soluble fiber, such as banana, mango, orange, peach, pear, or kiwi. Then add other fruit, like blueberries, strawberries (with leaves!), watermelon, avocado, apple, pineapple, etc. Berries will turn the smoothie brown but it’s still tasty and nutritious.

Dark greens: Kale, spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, dark green leafy lettuce (like Romaine or watercress), beetroot greens, bok choy, cabbage, mesclun, Italian parsley

  • Low-carb version: Leave out the banana.
  • High-protein version: Add a scoop of vanilla protein powder.

Green Smoothie Recipe

Add the following to a blender and mix until smooth:

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
½ ripe avocado
1 small banana (leave out for low-carb smoothie)

Then add:
2 tbsp parsley (optional)
2-3 handfuls baby spinach
3-4 ice cubes

This article originally appeared on www.workoutnirvana.com.

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Comments

  1. Suzanne, I was hesitant to try green smoothies at first too. Now I LOVE em. Easiest way to get another serving or two of greens in my day without even noticing!
    Thanks for the recipe!
    Tamara recently posted..I’m in the spotlight! The FitFluential Ambassador Spotlight, that isMy Profile

  2. Nom. Sounds delicious. I could really go for a green smoothie right now. FEED ME!
    Yum Yucky recently posted..OMGeeeee. Raw Honey!My Profile

  3. I would also add that cucumbers naturally provide hydration, which is perfect for the summer months. I use coconut milk as the base creamy liquid sometimes instead of coconut water. I love it.

    My friend just bought me a green smoothie recipe book for my birthday and I can’t wait to try them.

  4. Nice article Suzanne! I have been on the #flushot green smoothie bandwagon for quite a while now and I can see and feel the benefits.

  5. I was wondering if I used water not a milk form if I could pour into ice cube trays, freeze and thaw for later use? Any thoughts?

  6. I’ve been doing green drinks for awhile but have fallen out of the habit. I was using something called Amazing Grass (LOVED the chocolate flavor). I’d add a bunch of fresh and frozen fruit, some protein powder and spinach. So tasty. Now that I have some kale in my garden, I plan on making my own from scratch.
    Lisa recently posted..Albion Fit GiveawayMy Profile

  7. I started reading this thinking I couldn’t have said it better myself! I Just started adding a pre-breakfast smoothie with greens for two reasons: 1, because I have a hard time eating enough leafy greens, and 2, I need more calories! 🙂

    I LOVE the avocado idea; I use water, 1/2 avocado, 4-5 frozen strawberries, heaping handfuls of spinach or kale, and a scoop of protein powder. My body craves this in the morning! YUM!
    jennifer recently posted..2 miles and 600 reps later..My Profile

  8. This smoothie looks very delicious, Suzanne. I never tried green smoothies before. Fortunately, I have spinach in my garden. I will definitely try this. Thanks for sharing the recipe. 😀

  9. Going to try that! I love bright green in my cup!

  10. Hi Suzanne, This smoothie looks very nutritious! I’ve never
    tried green smoothies before. BTW, I would like to add some
    avocados in it. Thanks for this wonderful recipe! 😀

  11. Reading this *might* just make me take the plunge. 🙂
    Mary C. Weaver, CSCS recently posted..Goodbye, FitBit–welcome back, BodyMediaMy Profile

  12. I’ve already tried this wonderful green smoothie recipe, Suzanne. BTW, I put some mints in it and it tasted really refreshing. My husband requested that I will make more of these smoothies after our workout. 😀

  13. I’ve had Whole Foods make these for me before and really appreciate this recipe. Love your new photo!
    Shira recently posted..Ten Foods to Never Eat: Easy Compliance or the Impossible Dream?My Profile

  14. I love creamy green smoothies! I love the combination of avocado, strawberries with dark green leafy lettuce. It’s so refreshing and delicious. 😉

  15. I’ve been hesitant to try green smoothies too but after reading your blog I am tempted to give them a try!
    Caroline recently posted..How I Have Reduced My Cholesterol LevelMy Profile

  16. This is a really nice way to get a lift after a walk or
    exercise, my partner whipped up a couple after our sunday ride and
    we both enjoyed them plus this smoothie is healthy, what more can
    you ask 🙂
    healthy smoothie recipes recently posted..Pink Smoothie With Watermelon, Strawberries and CherriesMy Profile

  17. It’s been way too long since I’ve made a green smoothie! I will have to add some of these ingredients to my shopping list this weekend. Mmm…
    Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout recently posted..January Goals, and December Goals in ReviewMy Profile

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