[Recipes] Welcome To The World Of Green Smoothies — 3 Killer Recipes To Green Up Your Diet
Unless you’re sitting in a cave right now (and if you are, let me ask — how did you get WiFi?), you’ve definitely heard about the green smoothie trend that started in 2013 and has been going strong into 2014.
Green smoothies are all the rage and for good reason. Based on veggies like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard, they’re a quick and easy way to load up on vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients that we haven’t totally figured out in the nutrition world. If you’re new to the green smoothie trend, or just stuck in a rut making the same flavor combinations over and over again, then our guide to green smoothies is a perfect way to kickstart the habit.
And if you’re looking for recipes, we’ve got three to get you started — the Forget The Java Green Smoothie, Carrot Cake Post-Workout Green Smoothie, and Sparkle and Shine Green Smoothie.
The Basic Green Smoothie Formula
For those of you who don’t know where to start, there are four basic ingredients you’ll need to whip up a green smoothie:
- Greens – 2-4 cups of kale, spinach, Swiss chard, etc.
- Liquid base – 1-2 cups of water, freshly pressed juice, coconut water, or dairy substitute
- Fruit – 1-3 GIANT pieces of fruit
- Supplements – unlimited spices, vitamins & minerals, superfoods, amino acids, etc.
With this formula, I could make a smoothie using 3 cups of kale, 2 cups of water, 1 banana, 1 pear, some goji powder, and a little cinnamon. Sounds good, right? This formula easily takes the guesswork out of making green smoothies, ensuring you’ll have a dreamy concoction each and every time.
A Few Tips About Green Smoothies
Image: Mark Freeman
Here are a few simple tips to make your green smoothies even better:
- (1) Add Greens Gradually — If you’re new to the green smoothie world, or even smoothies in general, I recommend having the smoothie at first be about 60-80% fruit. As you continue to drink them and get used to the flavors and textures, gradually cut back on fruit and add more greens. When I first started drinking green smoothies, I HAD to have two pieces of fruit blended in. Neither my world nor my smoothie felt complete without two whole fruits. But about a year into drinking the smoothies, I realized that I could cut back to just one fruit and it still tasted just as great.
- (2) Invest in a High Speed Blender — My world completely changed when I switched from making my smoothies in a regular blender to using a Vitamix. I know a lot of Vitamix users sound like they’re in a cult. But if there’s one cult to be in, this is it. A high speed blender is MUCH better at chopping up and pureeing greens than a standard blender. Not only were my smoothies smoother and tastier, but I also noticed an improvement in my digestion from the better blending. They’re pricey, but they’re sturdy and come with a 5 year warranty — over the lifespan it more than makes up for the cost of constantly replacing low-quality blenders (available on Amazon).
- (3) Green Smoothies Aren’t Always Green — Don’t think that you have to stick to a certain flavor or color profile to reap all the health benefits of a green smoothie. Depending on which fruits, vegetables, and supplements you use, you could have a variety of smoothie colors. I’ve made smoothies that look brown. I used pitted cherries in my smoothie the other day and my smoothie turned out black (yes, black). If you use beets, it’ll likely turn out purple. As long as you have a deep, rich color that you know is loaded with antioxidants, feel free to experiment with all types of fruit and vegetable smoothies.
- (4) Rotate Your Greens — I’m sure this isn’t the first place where you’ve heard this tip. Rotating your greens doesn’t just vary nutrition; it also keeps you from getting bored. I’ve had enough green smoothies to instantly tell the difference between kale, spinach, and Swiss chard. Remember that you don’t need to switch your greens every day. I tell clients to rotate greens on a weekly basis if that’s easier for them. So if you bought a bunch of kale last week, this week opt for spinach. Next week try dandelion greens. Rotating greens by the week instead of the day is a much easier way to keep track of your produce and prevent vegetables from spoiling.
Three Amazing Green Smoothie Recipes
Are you exhausted in the mornings? Do you need a quick and easy shot of post-workout nutrition? Or do you simply want a drink that makes your skin glow and your hair shine? In the world of green smoothies, there’s something for everyone.
Try these three super simple and delicious green smoothie recipes:
(1) Forget The Java Green Smoothie — This smoothie is great for those of who you swear they can’t wake up in the mornings without a cup of coffee. The combination of cacao, goji, and maca root are nutritional powerhouses when it comes to energy and stamina. Coconut water is also super hydrating, which is great since most people are probably dehydrated first thing in the morning. These superfoods will instantly perk you up and have you ready for whatever the day brings.
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 banana
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 2 tbsp. raw cacao powder
- 2 tbsp. raw goji berries
- 1 tbsp. raw maca root powder
- 2 cups of coconut water
(2) Carrot Cake Post-Workout Green Smoothie — Have you ever really wanted to indulge in something sweet and delectable, but didn’t want to ruin your clean diet? Now you can have the best of both worlds. This fast-absorbing post-workout green smoothie is perfect for any gym rat. The carrots, pear, apple, and cinnamon have all the warm spice and flavor of a traditional carrot cake. Adding protein powder and carrot powder gives this smoothie a boost of vitamins A + C and protein, respectively; all of which are essential for muscle growth and recovery.
- 2 cups romaine lettuce
- 1 cup raw carrots
- 1 apple
- 1 pear
- 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored protein powder
- 2 tbsp. raisins (or 1 date)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. carrot juice powder
- 2 cups of water
(3) Sparkle and Shine Green Smoothie — If you’re looking for a facial from the inside out, than this smoothie has your name written all over it. Greens like Swiss chard and cilantro are known for their detoxifying capabilities. Berries provide a rich source of free-radical fighting antioxidants and are a sure way to fight signs of premature aging. Did you know that in ancient Chinese medicine goji berries were used to reverse grey hair? If you want a smoothie that will help you radiate health and beauty, this is the smoothie for you.
- 2 cups of Swiss chard
- 1 cup of cilantro
- 1 cup of frozen assorted berries
- ½ avocado
- 1 cup of fresh carrot juice
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tbsp. raw goji powder
- 1 tbsp. spirulina
The world of green smoothies isn’t as scary or intimidating as you would think. Drink enough of them and before you know it, you’ll start to crave them or feel incomplete when your day doesn’t include one. Make a habit of drinking green smoothies every day and you’ll definitely notice an improvement in your health.
is the founder of We're Talking About Food
. Devoted to democratizing health, Taji believes that anyone CAN live a healthy lifestyle regardless of medical condition, career, budget or other secondary factors.
Besides contributing to Lean it UP, Taji has been published for her health and fitness advice in journals like Thought Catalog. Taji has been supported by numerous health and fitness companies such as Navitas Naturals
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