Getting Started with Green Smoothies

Green smoothie

(Healthcastle.com) Green smoothies are all the rage these days, have you ever wondered what all the fuss is about? Find out what the benefits of green smoothies are today and get a great starter recipe that can be made with easy to find ingredients. 

What are green smoothies?

Green smoothies have added veggies- usually dark leafy greens like spinach or kale- in addition to the usual smoothie suspects like fruit and yogurt. For the more adventurous, there are also a ton of veggie only smoothies that are incredibly tasty and packed full of extra nutrients for repair, prevention and energy.

For green smoothie novices kale is the best starter ingredient. I find its flavour milder and a bit of extra blending time breaks down its thick leaves. Spinach is the next on my list, but sometimes it can overpower milder fruits with its spinach-y flavour. In some combos this tastes fab, in others it’s a little weird for me. So experiment and find flavours that make your tastebuds sing.

Why should I drink a green smoothie?

In a food culture that is overwhelmingly shy on veggies and plant foods in general, green smoothies are a great way to pack in extra nutrients in a tasty package and without a lot of effort. Sometimes there are only so many veggies you can eat in a day- whether you’re limited by time, appetite or chewing power.

I personally find them particularly helpful during the winter when the need for immune boosting vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients is so high and the produce selection is not as wonderful as it is during the summer and fall here in BC. Dark leafy greens are such an important staple, so I love finding new ways to sneak in all that natural goodness.

Don’t be put off by the green colour, many a non-believer has been completely surprised at how fruity and normal tasting the end product is and the greens add body and a really lovely freshness to the whole thing.

Recipe : Mango Kale Green Smoothie – an easy introduction

The banana provides a creamier texture than without it, and the vanilla adds a natural sweetness and depth without much extra effort! Aim for your green smoothies to be about half veggies and half fruit, but start lower and work up if you need to. 

Yields ~ 2-3 tall glasses

Ingredients

  • 2 cups frozen mango
  • 2 cups of kale, tough ribs removed (about 2 large leaves or 3-4 small leaves)
  • 2 cups of water (or use milk of your choice for a creamier version)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 banana

How to

  • Place all ingredients in the blender and blend away! Depending on your blender this could take anywhere from 20 seconds to a full minute.

Especially if you’re a green smoothie newbie or sensitive to texture, keep blending until its quite smooth and any visible pieces of kale are very small for a creamier result. 

Green Smoothie Boosters:

  • Cinnamon provides kick and natural sweetness, as well as boosting natural plant anti-inflammatory action.
  • Vanilla is a great way to add a “sweet” depth of flavour without added sugars.
  • Ginger grated in to green smoothies provides a bit of zing and bite as well as aiding in digestion for some and, like cinnamon, some natural anti-inflammatory properties. Great if you’re using it post workout!
  • For the adventurous, try savoury green smoothies with herbs like parsley and green onion, arugula, spinach and a tomato. Make it taste like a clean Caesar by adding the juice that pools at the bottom of fresh salsa for crazy good flavour!
  • For a meal replacemtn don't forget some protein - chia or hemp seeds, protein powder, almond or peanut butter or greek yogurt are all great choices. 

Do you have any smoothie recipes that you swear by or flavour boosters that you love? Share in the comments below and happy blending!

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