I simply love starting my day with a green smoothie. Not only are they are wonderful way to get the vitamins and minerals sorely lacking in the standard American diet, but they taste amazing too. My kids are among the pickiest eaters ever, and even they will drink a green smoothie and ask for seconds. I believe they can be a valuable addition to anyone’s diet.
One book I frequently recommend to people is the Green Smoothies Diet: The Natural Program for Extraordinary Health by Robyn Openshaw. Although I am not sure about all of the books claims, I do know there are many, many health benefits that come with drinking green smoothies regularly. Dark leafy greens are nutrient dense and extremely low in calories. You get a lot of bang for your buck! Nearly everyone would benefit from adding more leafy greens to their diet (unless they have a medical condition that contraindicates it of course). I know I don’t always get enough greens in my diet unless I drink green smoothies regularly. With a green smoothie, I am getting all of the benefits of the greens but the flavor is masked by the fruit. It’s a win-win situation in my opinion.
Another benefit of the green smoothie is that it makes it easy to add more fiber to your diet. The green smoothie recipe I drink throughout the day provides me with a whopping 17.3 grams of fiber. That’s more than most Americans get in a day!
Basic Green Smoothie
2 cups water
3 cups spinach, washed
1 carrot, peeled and grated (if you don’t have a Vitamix or Blendtec. Leave them whole if you do.)
2 medjool dates, pitted
1 apple, sliced and seeds removed
1 clementine, peeled and sectioned
1 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
Pour water into the blender. Drop in dates and grated carrot. Pack in spinach. Blend on high speed until greens are liquified. You may need to stop blender to press greens back down into liquid a couple of times before it finally all blends nicely. Then add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
Anyway, this is just a base recipe. You can play around with it to your heart’s content to adapt it to your tastes. You can use a variety of greens and fruit in this recipe. Spinach and Romaine are good starters for the greens as they are relatively mild in taste. The flavor of the greens is masked by the fruit. As for sweeteners, I like to avoid white sugar and use healthier, less-processed options. I used medjool dates for a sweetener in this recipe. You can also use a half a banana, some stevia, agave nectar, or a little bit of honey. As for the fruit, you are really only limited by your grocery store’s selection. If you are fortunate enough to have a Trader Joes nearby, they have a nice frozen mixed berry blend that is great to use in place of the strawberries. You can also find tropical blends containing pineapple and mango. If you aren’t avoiding dairy, you can add plain yogurt or kefir in place of some of the water to boost the nutrients. It doesn’t really matter how you change it up as long as it succeeds in getting you to consume more fruits and veggies!
In the summertime, you can even make popsicles out of this. My kids love green popsicles. Much better than the sugar-laden nutritionally-bankrupt popsicles you get at the grocery store. Score one for mom!
A quick note: Despite what some recommend, you do not need an expensive professional blender (like the Blendtec or Vitamix) to make a smoothie with whole fruit. Although I do now have a Vitamix, I made green smoothies for years with a cheap discount store blender. By altering your prep, like grating the carrot first and blending greens before adding the rest of the ingredients, I have found that a $30 Walmart blender can handle this recipe just fine. It’s not ever completely smooth but it works well enough. If you have the money though, I highly recommend the Vitamix. I love mine. It has a hefty purchase price ($400 and up) but I view it as an investment in our family’s health. Plus the thing’s a work horse and has a great warranty. I never knew green smoothies could get so smooth! I love being able to throw in whole carrots and fruit and watch it completely liquefy!
Anyway, regardless of what blender you use, green smoothies are a great way to fit the daily recommended amount of fruits and veggies in your diet. So tell me… What is your favorite smoothie blend?