It’s easy to get lost in the intricacies of therapeutic diets and lifestyle habits that target specific health issues and problems. When you get right down to it and strip away all the extras, the core of healthy eating is about consuming lots of plant-based foods, choosing best quality ingredients that you can afford, and making food using whole foods as much as you can. One of the best ways to pack a nutritious wallop into your day is by making green smoothies a regular habit.
why drink green smoothies?
It’s easy to down a sweet smoothie loaded with bananas or strawberries. While I’m not knocking fruit-based smoothies, incorporating more smoothies with greens and other vegetables has numerous benefits. Dark leafy greens:
- Are high in fibre, which benefits our digestion and cholesterol levels
- Contain Vitamin K, magnesium and calcium for good bone health
- Are loaded with antioxidants to combat damage to our cells
- Have a boatload of B vitamins, which help us maintain energy levels and deal with stress
- Are low on the glycemic index to help manage blood sugar levels
When consumed in blended form, green smoothies allow you to sip up far more foods and nutrients than if you ate each vegetable or fruit on its own in a salad, for example. They’re an easy and quick food that can be portable for when you’re on the go (and even made ahead) and can be adapted so they’re kid-friendly.
Choosing greens for your smoothies
Most greens have a similar nutrient profile, but the flavours are definitely different! Some greens have strong, bitter and spicy tastes. If you’re new to green smoothies, or aren’t used to bitter flavours, start off with:
- Lettuces, such as romaine, bibb, Boston or leaf
Then, you can start mixing in stronger greens like:
- Beet and turnip greens
- Mustard greens
- Swiss chard
Don’t forget to play with green vegetables other than leafy greens, such as:
- Bok choy
And even though cucumber and avocado are technically fruits, those are some excellent green ingredients for your smoothies. Cucumber adds a little sweetness and hydration, while the avocado makes every smoothie ultra luxurious and creamy.
best blender for green smoothies
The best blender to use to make your green smoothies is the one you already have!
If you don’t have a blender and are looking to make a great investment, the Vitamix is it for me. I am a huge fan of using a high-speed blender such as the Vitamix, as this kitchen tool is essential to my cooking in multiple ways.
If you’re working with a non-high-speed blender, start off by blending your greens with 1 cup of water and one or two high-water fruits (watermelon, cucumber, etc.). Then add the remaining ingredients in small increments as to not overwhelm your blender. This helps blend more smoothly. Add water as needed to reach desired consistency. Blend for longer than you think is necessary and then blend a little more.
8 Ways to Make your Green Smoothie More Delicious and Flavourful
The advantage of a green smoothie is you can pack it with nutrient-dense veggies – but you don’t want it to end up tasting like a blended salad, either. The following are some great ingredients that add flavour and nutrition to your green smoothies.
1. Add Sweet Fruits
When you first start blending green smoothies, you may find yourself relying on the sweeter fruits and vegetables. This is absolutely fine – just don’t get yourself stuck in a smoothie rut where you’re only loading them with bananas and mango. Aim to reduce the sweetness of your smoothies gradually, adding fewer super sweet fruits and focusing on the lower glycemic fruits like green apples, berries, lemon/lime and pears.
Some fruits to consider:
2. Add Sweet Vegetables
Sweeter veggies are great to add to your smoothies. Some to consider:
- Sweet Potato
- Winter squashes
3. Add Herbs
Fresh herbs are a fantastic way to add flavour and a load of nutrition to your smoothie. What you add will depend on your tastes. Mint, parsley and cilantro are good basics.
4. Add Nut or Seed Milk
Skip the store-bought almond milk and blend your own, which you can flavour to your heart’s desire. Strawberry Almond Milk? Yes, please!
5. Add Coconut in Multiple Forms
Coconut products are packed with nutritious fats and fibre. They help make your smoothies sweet and creamy. Try:
- Coconut water (great for hydration)
- Coconut milk
- Coconut meat
- Shredded coconut
- Coconut butter
- Coconut oil
6. Try Herbal Teas
Chilled tea is a nutrient-rich base for smoothies. Make a large batch to enjoy in smoothies throughout the week, or freeze in ice cube trays for easy smoothie additions.
7. Try Nut and Seed Butters
Nut and seed butters offer fat, protein, fibre and a creamy texture to your smoothies. Like nut and seed milk, you can flavour these up handily.
8. Try Delicious Superfoods
Smaller amounts of superfoods can add a load of flavour to your green smoothies. Some of my faves include:
- Cacao powder
- Goji berries
- Bee pollen
- Chia seeds
- Turmeric (fresh or dry)
- Lucuma powder
- Essential oils
- Protein powder (I like collagen)
- Flax, chia or hemp oil
- Walnut oil
putting it all together: creating a balanced and tasty green smoothie
For a smoothie to function as a complete, balanced meal or snack, it needs to contain fibre, fat and protein. It’s also important to use green smoothie ingredients in the optimal amounts (for example, 2 Tbsp of turmeric will make it undrinkable).
To maximize both flavour and nutrition of green smoothies, I recommend the following formula:
- 2 cups base liquid
- 1–2 cups green veggies
- 1/2–1 cup sweet fruits or sweet veg
- 1–2 Tbsp protein
- 1–2 Tbsp fat
- 1 tsp–1 Tbsp extras
Making Kid-Friendly Green Smoothies
In our house, we try as much as possible for our son to eat whatever we are eating rather than making separate meals. The same goes for smoothies. Thankfully, our son is an adventurous eater for the most part and loves to drink smoothies.
If your kids (or family) is smoothie averse, try:
- Using sweeter fruits and milder greens
- Have them make the smoothie with you
- Freeze your smoothie into popsicle molds (kids are sometimes much more willing to eat them this way!)
Let’s put our green smoothie making into practice! Try this green mojito smoothie recipe – it’s a very delicious starter smoothie.Print
Starter Green Smoothie
- Total Time: 6 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
A very easy and mild green smoothie recipe.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup almond milk
- handful of spinach or kale
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 pear, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro or parsley
- 1 scoop protein powder of choice or 2 Tbsp hemp seeds
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- 1 Tbsp flax oil
- Crushed ice, if needed, for a thicker smoothie
1. If using a high speed blender: Place all ingredients into the blender in the order listed and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides to incorporate the mixture as necessary. Add ice if needed.
2. If using a non-high speed blender: Blend the water, nut milk, greens and cilantro until mostly smooth. Add the remaining ingredients slowly and blend until smooth. Add ice if necessary.
- Prep Time: 6 minutes
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These tips for green smoothies are a guideline, but I encourage you to experiment and get creative!