- Food and Cooking
Green Smoothie Ingredients for a Healthy Meal or Snack
Healthy Green Smoothies
With just a few simple green smoothie ingredients, you can make a simple, healthy breakfast, light lunch, or snack. Taking only about 5 minutes to prepare, green smoothies are a tasty way to get your recommended daily servings of fruits and veggies.
What is a green smoothie?
At the most basic level, a green smoothie is a blended salad, flavored with fruit to make it palatable. Unlike salads that can be topped with tons of fatty ingredients, green smoothies are low fat and chock-full of vitamins and minerals to keep your body healthy and strong. Because the blender breaks down cell walls, these nutrients are absorbed very well by the body.
How to make a Green Smoothie
It only takes a few green smoothie ingredients for this simple template recipe. You choose whatever fruits and greens you have on hand. The wonderful thing is that this recipe is easily adapted to your own taste and preferences.
Basic Green Smoothie Recipe
* 2-3 cups liquid to facilitate blending
* 4-6 cups dark leafy greens
* 2-3 fruit choices
* 1-2 tsp of honey or agave nectar (optional)
* add-ins like ground flaxseed or nut butters (optional)
Throw everything in the blender and process at high speed until smooth. Makes 3-4 servings
It really is that simple!
I recommend choosing organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible to limit pesticide and chemical exposure.
Image: Jennifer of Healthy Kitchen Guide
If you are using a less expensive blender, I find it helpful to liquefy the greens first. Blend your greens and liquid until smooth. Then add your other green smoothie ingredients. It seems to get things smoother that way.
Green Smoothie Ingredients - Liquid Choices
The first green smoothie ingredient you should consider is what liquid you are going to use. I always add 2-3 cups of liquid to my green smoothies There are a wide range of liquid choices you can add to your smoothie to get the blending action started.
* Water with 2-3 tablespoons frozen juice concentrate like orange, apple, or grape
* Milk (Non-Dairy is fine too! I like making mine with almond milk.)
* Yogurt thinned with a bit of milk (Supplies probiotics)
* Kefir (Supplies probiotics)
* Fruit juice
Green Smoothie Ingredients - Leafy Greens
I generally use 4-6 cups of greens. This isn't rocket science so you don't have to measure. Just use what you have.
Leafy Green Choices:
* Romaine Lettuce
* Kale (cooked and pureed, or raw)
* Micro greens
* Sunflower Sprouts
* Arugula (spicy)
* Mustard (spicy)
* Collard Greens
* Beet Greens
* Dandelion Greens
* Swiss Chard
These are just suggestions. If you can eat it in a salad, you can use it in a green smoothie. Feel free to use a mixture of these as well. Some of these greens have a strong flavor so you will want to start out with a small amount.
Don't get in a rut and use the same greens every day. Mix it up a little so you are getting a broad range of vitamins and minerals. If you eat Kale or spinach regularly in your green smoothies, you may want to consider cooking it. Kale and other cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens which can mess with thyroid function when eaten in large quantities. Spinach, beet greens, and swiss chard all contain oxalic acid which can block calcium and iron absorption. Cooking destroys goitrogens and oxalic acid. Just something to consider.
Green Smoothie Ingredients - Fruit
Depending on the greens I have chosen, I use 2-4 servings of fruit. If you are using greens that are stronger in flavor, you will probably want to add more fruit.
* Banana (can be used as a sweetener)
* 1-2 cup Berries (such as Strawberries, Blueberries, or Raspberries)
* Medjool Dates (can be used as a sweetener)
Prepare the fruit like you would for eating - remove pits and seeds. If the peel is edible, go ahead and leave it on. I routinely throw unpeeled apple slices in my smoothies.
I haven't found a fruit yet that I don't like in a smoothie. Don't be afraid to experiment!
Green Smoothie Ingredients: Add-ins
While greens, fruit, and liquid form the basis of your green smoothies, don't be afraid to experiment. For example, I love peanut butter and banana in my green smoothies. Here is a list of some add-in ingredients that might spark your imagination.
*1-2 tbs of Nut Butter
* 1-2 tbs of Ground Flaxseed
* 1-2 tbs Chia Seeds
* 1 shredded carrot
* 1 cucumber
* 1-2 celery stalks
* 1 tbs coconut oil
Blender Tips for Green Smoothies
Image: Vitamix Blender on Amazon.
Vitamix Vs. Blendtec - The Debate rages on
People tend to be quite loyal when it comes to the best blender for making green smoothies. What do you think?
Which is the better high-powered blender?