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.
The Best Blenders for Green Smoothies
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.
More Green Smoothie Recipes
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.