When it comes to eating healthy, many struggle with incorporating enough vegetables into their nutrition, or simply don’t enjoy eating veggies that much.
A great workaround would be to make smoothies - they can be customized to your taste, quick and easy to make at home.
Did you think smoothies are designed mainly for fruit? What about adding vegetables to the mix?
If you’ve never considered putting items like carrots, kale or spinach into your smoothies, then you are missing out big time. Adding veggies to your drinks will ensure that you get a proper balance of vitamins and nutrients, as well as reduce your overall sugar intake.
So, to help you upgrade your healthy nutrition habits, we’re going to dive into the world of green smoothies.
Unlike the ones you’re probably familiar with, these concoctions are designed to pack as many essential nutrients as possible into one delicious beverage.
Yes, they can be green AND delicious at the same time!
We’ll go over how to make these incredible mixtures as well as show you our own favorite recipes to help you get started.
Here's the best video I know on YouTube that shows how to make green smoothies (apparently, they're big in South Korea as well 🙂
What is a “Green Smoothie”?
At first glance, it should be obvious what constitutes a green smoothie as the title sort of gives it away.
Most of these blends turn out green in the end because they use verdant vegetables instead of an assortment of fruits and other ingredients.
But do all green smoothies have to be green?
To put it simply, the color is not as important as what goes inside. Even if your result turns out a bit more purple or brown (not in a bad way, mind you) it can still be classified as a “green smoothie.”
Technically speaking, what qualifies as a green smoothie is a drink that incorporates leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, or kale, along with other plants that would fit that category.
As long as you put a good amount of any of those leafy ingredients into your smoothie, it will be considered “green.”
Benefits of Green Smoothies
So why go through the trouble of adding leafy vegetables to your drink? Won’t that make it thick and lumpy with bits of lettuce floating inside?
While you may be thinking that that is the case, the fact is that green smoothies can be just as creamy and smooth as fruit smoothies, provided that you have a decent blender that will chew through everything equally.
Even if you don’t have a high-tech blender, you can pre-chop your leafy greens so that they will get processed much easier.
Nonetheless, the reason that you want to add these ingredients to your smoothie is to give it a big nutritional boost. Using only fruits and some liquid base means that you are ignoring a significant section of the food pyramid, and thus setting yourself up for an unhealthy lifestyle.
A green smoothie gives you the opportunity to consume a good portion of veggies in one glass of drink. You're getting the well known health benefits of vegetables, tied together in a beverage that’s customized to your taste.
Green smoothies are designed to give you as many vitamins and minerals as possible so that you can ensure that you’re getting your recommended amount every day. The healthier you are, the better you feel, and green smoothies are a quick way to get there.
Boosts your energy
For most people, fatigue and sleeplessness are common side effects of a poor diet. By adding green smoothies into the mix, you can ensure that you are getting all of your proper nutrients every day, which can go a long way towards making you feel more energized and healthier.
While it is not a guarantee, most people who start drinking green smoothies notice a big difference in the way that they feel throughout the day.
Instead of getting sluggish in the afternoon, they can make it through work without being exhausted by the time they get home.
To learn more on how to make energizing and fatigue-busting smoothies, check out our guide here.
Boost your immune system
In addition to giving your body energy, green smoothies can also boost your immune system by providing high levels of vitamins A, K, and C.
But it’s not just the veggies that can work in your favor. You can enrich your smoothies with ingredients such as olive leaf extract, elderberry extract and probiotics for an additional immunity effect.
Thus, if it’s the flu season or you get sick a lot you may notice a decrease after you start drinking these smoothies.
Get your antioxidants
Antioxidants have been found to help prevent damage from free radicals, and this damage is associated with cancer.
But that’s not all…
Many experts believe that increased antioxidants in the body can also help slow the process of aging or even increase longevity.
Can Green Smoothies Help Me Lose Weight?
Technically speaking, the smoothies themselves will not help you lose any weight. However, for most people, they do describe weight loss as a common side effect, but usually, that is because they are paying much more attention to the food that goes inside their bodies.
Basically, if you drink a green smoothie but do nothing else to change your eating habits, you probably won’t notice a big difference in your waistline.
However, if you use these smoothies as a meal replacement or as a jumping off point to eating healthier meals all of the time, then you should be shedding pounds in no time.
What You’ll Need
Now that we’ve seen what these smoothies can do for your body, it’s time for us to start making them at home. Before we begin, you will need the following materials and equipment.
If you have an older or smaller blender, it can still work fine for green smoothies, but you will most likely have to do more prep beforehand.
If possible, get a machine that can pulverize all ingredients equally well so that you won’t have bits of leaves floating in your drink.
Another thing to think about with getting a blender is whether you want to make big batches or individual servings.
Some models give you the option to do both, while others have only one or the other. The benefit of making big batches is that you can save the excess for later, but it does mean that you have to wash more dishes.
For our complete guide on choosing the best blender for your needs, click HERE.
Cutting Board and Knife
Even if your blender is top of the line, you will still have to prep your ingredients before you can toss them in.
Not only will you have to wash your veggies but you will have to cut them into pieces so that they don’t clog up your machine. The more fibrous your ingredients are, the more likely it is that you will have to cut them first.
If you do plan on making your smoothies ahead of time, then you will need a place to store them. Mason jars are the best option because they are easy to use and won’t spill. Also, they won’t leach any plastic taste into your mixture, which is an added bonus.
Although we will be giving you recipes to help you get started, it’s always best to come up with your own mixtures. That way, you can tailor the flavor and the amount of nutrients to fit your needs and preferences.
However, to do that properly, you will have to write down the foods that you use as well as the amounts of each. That way, you can customize it much more easily when you want to make it again.
How to Make a Green Smoothie - Step by step Instructions
Step #1 - Ingredients
As I mentioned, a green smoothie has to have some kind of dark, leafy green as part of the blend.
As such, it’s imperative that you buy a bundle of green veggies before you start. Spinach, kale, and romaine lettuce are the best options, but feel free to experiment with other foods as well.
In addition to your leafy greens, make sure that you also include fruits and liquids into your mix. If you want to keep things light, then water is a great base fluid.
If you want to make them creamier and more flavorful, milk could be a good option. This could also be almond milk or soy milk.
Step #2 - Preparation
To make an ideal smoothie, you should freeze as many of your ingredients as possible. The reason for this is that it will make for a more refreshing blend, and you won’t have to dilute it too much by adding ice. If you are already using water as a base, then adding ice will make it too thin.
Freeze your fruits beforehand and chop them into smaller pieces if necessary (such as with bananas and pineapple). If you are using milk, then feel free to freeze that as well into ice cubes.
Important! for blending ice and frozen ingredients, make sure your blender can handle ice. Otherwise, the blender might be damaged, or you'll get frozen chunks in your beverage.
For storing leafy greens in the refrigerator and keeping them from going bad, cover your veggies with a paper towel and place them in a storage bag, and remove as much air as possible.
Step #3 - Blending
For the most part, it’s best to mix your ingredients in two stages. First, you will want to blend your non-leafy foods until they make a thick mixture.
Then, add your liquid and greens and pulse the whole thing until it becomes as smooth and liquefied as possible. Doing it this way will reduce the chance of having thick pieces of leaves in your smoothie.
If your mixture is too thick, then add more liquid. If it’s too thin, then add more fruits. Bananas are the best at thickening up a smoothie, so keep plenty of those on hand. If you don’t like bananas, strawberries are another excellent choice.
Step #4: Boosting
Because the point of green smoothies is to give you as many nutrients as possible, you may want to add “boosters” to your recipes as a way to ensure that you’re getting a full range of vitamins and minerals.
Here are some common ingredients that can be added to virtually any smoothie.
- Chia Seeds: these will add some calcium and fiber to your blend. If you want, you can add them on top of your smoothie or toss them in as you pulverize everything. You can find them at most health food stores.
- Nuts: if you want to add some healthy fat (omega 3 and 6) to your drink, then nuts are a fantastic way to do it. This is especially true if you want to avoid dairy for any reason. Walnuts, almonds, or cashews are full of nutrients and will give your smoothie a nice texture. You can also use nut butters, but don’t put too much.
- Protein Powder: for those who are avoiding meat, adding a bit of protein powder ensures that you don't lack in that department. However, if you do eat meat on a regular basis, then adding this won’t do you much good overall.
- Raw Cacao Powder: unlike cocoa, cacao is a less processed version of the plant. Using this ingredient will give your smoothie a light chocolate flavor (dark chocolate, that is) as well as provide some caffeine.
Green Smoothie Recipes
With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at a couple of recipes that can help you get started on your path to a healthier you.
Want more green smoothie recipes? Most of the smoothies you’ll find in our recipes section here contain vegetables as their top ingredient, so just choose the flavor you like best!
If you have any questions regarding green smoothies, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll be glad to help!
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