Getting Started With Green Smoothies

Green smoothies are not only one of the most healthy drinks around, they are also one of the most delicious!

Leafy green vegetables are rightly considered one of the world's best "superfoods" for their amazing nutritional qualities. Leafy greens are rich in calcium, dietary fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin C, many other vitamins and minerals, and even protein! They are also extremely low in calories, so they're great choices for people trying to lose weight. For example, one cup of fresh spinach contains just seven calories. Leafy green vegetables are one of the most perfect foods known to man. Unfortunately, hardly anybody eats enough greens for optimum health, and when we do eat them, we often ruin the health benefits by slathering them in fatty salad dressings or other sauces.

Green smoothies get around this problem by combining leafy greens with another group of nutritional powerhouses: fresh or frozen fruits. Although it sounds strange to toss a handful of lettuce or spinach into a smoothie, the truth is that the taste of the fruit almost always overpowers the taste of the greens so that you can't even taste them. This makes green smoothies a great way to add lots and lots of leafy greens to your diet and an especially good choice for families with picky eaters, both kids and adults.

Tools You'll Need

Another advantage for many families is that green smoothies can easily be made with tools most families already own.

Although frequent smoothie drinkers might want to invest in a high quality blender such as the Blendtec and Vitamix models to the right, you can get started with an inexpensive Osterizer blender of the sort many people already own.

If you don't already own an Osterizer, you can often find a cheap used blender at garage sales or thrift stores, or buy a new one for as little as $20 online or in stores such as Wal-mart and Target.

A green smoothie in the making. Photo by wrestlingentropy.
A green smoothie in the making. Photo by wrestlingentropy.

Green Smoothie Recipe

In order to make a green smoothie you will want to mix the following:

  • 60% fruits (such as bananas, pears, peaches, berries, mangos, pineapple, papaya, etc.)
  • 40% greens (such as spinach, Romaine lettuce, kale, parsley, bok choy, dandelion greens, etc.)
  • water, ice cubes, or yogurt to taste

Beginners may prefer a 70/30 ratio of fruit to greens.

If you already have a favorite smoothie recipe, you may want to experiment by tossing a handful or two of baby spinach or Romaine lettuce leaves (the two mildest greens for smoothies, in my experience) in next time you mix it up.

My favorite green smoothie recipe is the following:

  • two ripe bananas
  • ~1 cup of frozen or fresh mixed berries
  • two handfuls of washed baby spinach leaves
  • ~1/2 cup water or 1 cup plain yogurt

Blend at high speed (I use the Liquefy setting on my elderly 10 speed Osterizer) until smooth and serve immediately.

When whipping up a concoction of your own, remember to taste test before you pour. If you find the smoothie too bitter, add more fruit.

Green Smoothie Demo

More Green Smoothie Tips

  • In addition to traditional fruits such as berries and bananas, you can also use vegetable "fruits" such as tomatoes and cucumbers to create savory, rather than sweet, green smoothies. Avoid using starchy root or flower vegetables such as potatoes or broccoli in green smoothies.
  • If you know what you're doing, wild greens such as dandelions can also be used to whip up a tasty green smoothie.
  • Experiment with ways to make your smoothies look more attractive, especially if you are hoping to get kids or other beginners to drink your smoothies. For example, greens with light colored fruits such as banana, pear, or pineapple, will produce a beautiful emerald colored smoothie. Add in enough blackberries and blueberries and you'll have an equally beautiful berry colored smoothie. But if you add in too few dark colored fruits, your smoothie may come out an unappetizing greenish brown color reminiscent of something the dog barfed up all over the living carpet. Do your best to avoid this. Attractive presentation matters when trying new foods.
  • If you drink a green smoothie every day, alternate the type of greens you use day-by-day to prevent the build up of alkaloids. Each type of green has a different type of alkaloid, but excessive build-up of any one type of alkaloid over too short a period of time can be toxic. If your mouth feels dry after drinking your green smoothie, switch the type of greens you use in your next smoothie, or skip a day to let your body process the alkaloids.

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Comments 9 comments

stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

great stuff.gby


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 6 years ago from Central United States of America

I have not used lettuce or spinach in my smoothies, just seem to forget when I make one. :-) I will have to try that now. Thanks for hub!


casey kaldal profile image

casey kaldal 6 years ago

I start every morning with a green smoothie, and I definitely notice the difference in how I feel. One of my favorites is one bunch of swiss chard, a kiwi, a banana, and a cup or two of frozen blueberries. Personally I would not add yogurt or dairy to my green smoothies, because it makes it more difficult for the body to process it.

Though I started with more fruit and less greens, it's funny how your body naturally craves more greens and less sweet over time. I still make sure there's enough fruit in it to taste good - it should be enjoyable after all - but I love knowing that I've eaten half a bunch of kale or other dark greens at the start of my day.

Great article!


Greenheart profile image

Greenheart 6 years ago from Cambridge

Hi Kerryg and thanks for this hub.

I love green smoothies.When i have had them.

I know that my body needs the greens in that broken down form.Yet i have gotten a bit lazy.I am sure i will go back to it in the near future.

And anyone into green smoothies,or health in general,Victoria Boutenko's "Green for life" is a must read book!.

Finally,i love your wolfie photo.

May i ask.Is it a true likeness!

:-)

Happy 2010.

Gavin


Mama Sez profile image

Mama Sez 6 years ago from Canada

I tried including celery which is good in preventing/managing hypertension but turned out too strong for me. I need to modify the proportion, I guess. Thanks for the tips.


MrSpock profile image

MrSpock 6 years ago

Lettuce in a smoothie? Hmmmm, that's definitely "green".


Frances_30s profile image

Frances_30s 6 years ago from Texas

Great hub. I've never had a green smoothie, but I will definitely try one!


Bethany Lynn profile image

Bethany Lynn 4 years ago

I love green smoothies! Thanks for the informative hub!


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 6 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great hub! I'm planning to do green smoothies as my post-workout smoothie when I return to the gym. Thanks for the tips!

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