Green smoothies are everywhere! You can find recipes on-line, buy a ton of books on the subject and even purchase them in a bottle. From all of my reading and now three year’s worth of daily smoothies, I can share a few words of wisdom.
It’s all about the greens! No matter what else you like in your smoothie, be sure to use good quality greens that are high on the nutrient scale. An easy rule of thumb is, the darker the green, the more the nutrients. According to a nutrient scale I picked up at Whole Foods collard greens and kale top the list. We have also enjoyed Swiss chard, parsley, dandelion leaves and various types of lettuce. Personally, I’m not a fan of lettuce in my smoothie, but if it’s dark green and you like it, blend it!
Use FRESH fruit! This means fruit that has NOT been cooked, canned or processed in any way. The exception is the fruit that you may have frozen when you had more ripe produce than you could eat. OR, you could consider the unsweetened fruit you can find in the freezer section of the store. Your best bet is to use what’s fresh, in season, and local. This can lead to interesting winter smoothies, but do try to eat as much fresh seasonal fruit as is possible.
Liquid keeps it loose. I’ve read lots of suggestions on what to add to your fruit and greens. There’s green tea to speed up fat loss, chamomile tea to slow down the aging process, water to stay natural, coconut water to help hydrate. And then there are times you don’t want to add anything, like when you’re using melons. A cantaloupe and a small bunch of parsley make a refreshing drink that is plenty hydrating. At our house we use water or whatever’s in the tea pitcher in the fridge. With the summer heat we’re doing a lot of hibiscus tea. Avoid adding fruit juices. They are all sugar without the fiber. You’ll get plenty of flavor from the fruit you’re using. There’s no need to add juice.
Putting it together: You MUST have a high-speed blender. The long-standing favorite is Vita-mix, but there are others on the market. If you’re new to smoothies and don’t want to invest a lot of money I suggest you begin with a NutriBullet. There are a few styles, but all you really need to get started is their small blender. Here’s a link to their website. NutriBullets are also available at places like Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond at reasonable prices, and no waiting for delivery!
Basic Green Smoothie Recipe:
- 1 cup of fruit
- 1 cup of greens (tough stems removed)
- 1 cup of liquid
Create your own medley of fruit(s) and greens. Sometimes simplicity is best, as in the cantaloupe and parsley mentioned above. Sometimes, it’s clean out the fridge smoothie and I throw in odds and ends of what’s left over. I’ll list a few of our favorites, but like I said, green smoothie suggestions are everywhere. Once you get started though, you’ll find yourself free-forming and enjoying!
Summer in a glass: double handful of rinsed strawberries with their greens, an orange (peeled), half of a ripe banana, handful of parsley* & 1 cup of cold green tea.
Christmas fruit: apple (cored), orange (peeled), 2 dates (pits removed), 2 cups of cranberries, handful of kale* & 1 cup of cold cinnamon tea.
Blueberry/peach yum: 2 peaches (pit removed), 1 cup of blueberries, 1/2 banana, handful of collard greens* & 2 cups of cold peach tea.
If you like your smoothie a little thinner, add more liquid. If you like it colder, add some ice.
- Don’t worry about sticking to specific greens. Use what you have available. In fact, if the greens from radishes and beets are fresh and vibrant we trim and clean them for use in smoothies. The taste of most greens doesn’t usually come through the fruit. Good all round greens are kale and collards. Beware cilantro and beets as they do have a district flavor. Experiment and find out which greens you like best.
** Add Ins: Some people really like to add other items to their drinks, such as chia seeds, flax seeds, whey powder, raw soaked nuts… I’m sure you’ll experiment once you get started, but a simple fruit and greens smoothie gives your body a refreshing & hydrating start to the day, without weighing it down and requiring a lot of energy for digestion. If you’re feeling sluggish when you get up, consider making a basic smoothie and sipping it throughout the morning. Unless you participate in really strenuous work you will probably find that a basic smoothie will be plenty until lunch.
I own many green smoothie and raw cookbooks, but my favorite for the basics on green smoothies is Victoria Boutenko’s Green Smoothie Revolution available at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.