Eating all those fruits and veggies each day can seem like quite a feat of gastric endurance, but if munching your spinach, kale or bok choy is just too much, try drinking them instead. Green smoothies pack in several servings of fruits and vegetables along with tons of nutrients in a creamy, delicious meal. They’re perfect for breakfast or a midday pick-me-up.
Don’t let the green color fool you. These smoothies are actually very tasty when you know what you’re doing. Having the right combination of leafy greens and sweet fruits is the key to making a healthy and tasty smoothie. Still not sure? With our guide, you’ll know how to make a healthy green smoothie that doesn’t taste like you’re drinking a salad.
General Health Benefits of Green Smoothies
Before we get into how to make a smoothie, let’s explore why you would even want to add green smoothies to your menu. Green smoothies aren’t just colorful. They’re packed with health benefits that last well beyond your last sip. Here are a few of the healthful reasons to drink green smoothies:
- Weight Loss: When you make green healthy smoothie recipes, you may be helping yourself lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. All those healthy greens and the fruits you include pack plenty of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that support weight loss. When you skip the added sweeteners, you keep the calorie count lower and the smoothie healthier. Green smoothies are also full of filling fiber that won’t leave you hungry an hour after you eat it. Less snacking means fewer calories overall to help you lose weight.
- Energy Boost: All those healthy nutrients give you a natural boost in energy that lasts much longer than the unhealthy sugar high you get from a morning donut or sugar-filled coffee drink. You may even find yourself thinking more clearly by replacing processed foods or caffeine drinks with the natural ingredients in a green smoothie.
- Daily Recommended Intake: Do you find it tough to hit the recommended five to nine servings of fruits and veggies each day? A green smoothie counts toward multiple servings for your daily intake. The exact number of servings depends on what you include and how much you consume. If you’re not a huge fan of the nutrient-packed leafy greens on their own, a smoothie is a great way to hide them behind strong fruit flavors. It’s sort of like all those times you diced up veggies and hid them in your child’s spaghetti, but this time you’re doing it for your own health. Plus, you cut back on the fat and oil you might consume from leafy greens in the form of a salad topped with dressing.
- Easy Digestion: The blending process breaks down the fruits and vegetables on a cellular level, making them easier for your body to digest. Nutrients from the fruits and veggies are more easily absorbed by the body. Who doesn’t want to start the day with a powerhouse meal that’s easy on the digestive system?
- High Fiber Content: All those leafy greens and fruits serve up a healthy dose of fiber in your green smoothie. Not only does fiber help keep you regular, it can also help lower your cholesterol and glucose levels. Using whole fruits and vegetables in your smoothie provides more fiber than juicing.
- Quick and Healthy: It’s easy to toss your green smoothie ingredients in the blender, process them and head out the door. Prep the fruits and veggies the night before so they’re already washed and measured when you’re ready to make your smoothie. You can even blend it up the night before and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Pop your smoothie in a travel cup with a lid, and you’re ready to tackle your day with your nutrient-rich smoothie in hand.
Anatomy of a Green Smoothie
If you’re not sure what to put in a healthy green smoothie, you’re not alone. A general guideline is the 40/60 rule to make sure the greens don’t overpower the smoothie. When picking your ingredients, stick to 40 percent greens and 60 percent fruits. You don’t have to measure or weigh it out unless you want to. Just add a little more fruit than greens to keep the flavor balanced.
While the fruits and veggies make up the bulk of the smoothie, you’ll need other ingredients in your smoothie to create the creamy texture. A basic green smoothie contains the following:
- Leafy greens: kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, bok choy, Swiss chard, collard greens, dandelion greens
- Ripe Fruit: berries, citrus fruit, bananas, cherries, pineapple, pears, mangoes, apples, peaches, avocados
- Liquid base: water, nut milk, green tea, coconut water
You can mix and match these ingredients to complement your taste preferences. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Some of your experimental green smoothies will turn out better than others, but trial and error is a great way to perfect your recipe. Keep in mind the color of your smoothie may not always be a bright green. Dark berries change the color, for example. It may even turn out a brownish color. Don’t let the color fool you. Judge your smoothie on the flavor and benefits, not the color.
If you want to boost your smoothie with extra nutrients or texture, add one or more of these ingredients:
- Protein source: Fruits and vegetables don’t offer a lot of natural protein. Add more with healthy protein smoothie ingredients, such as nut butters, protein powder, seeds or Greek yogurt.
- Seasonings, spices and flavorings: Extra flavorings, such as vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg, add depth to the flavor and help mask the green flavor. Many also have health benefits. Cinnamon boosts your metabolism and supports weight loss, for example.
- Natural sweeteners: Fruit gives a smoothie natural sweetness. Bananas and dates in particular add a healthy sugariness to the mix. If you still need a little more sweet, stick with natural sweeteners like honey. Add just a touch to keep the smoothie healthy.
- Ice cubes: If you want a thicker, creamier texture, add some ice when blending your smoothie. Another option is to use some frozen fruits instead of all fresh fruits.
The saying goes “there’s a million ways to crack an egg,” but there’s even more ways to create the perfect green smoothie! Before you toss just any ingredient into your blender, check out VF Outlet’s tips for making a full-bodied and delicious green smoothie to keep you energized and satisfied. We recommend 1 cup of liquid base, 2-3 cups of ripe fruit, 1-2 cups of leafy greens, and just a pinch (1 tablespoon or more) of natural boost. Voila! You have the ultimate foundation to create a tasty yet healthy green smoothie right at your fingertips.
How to Make the Perfect Green Smoothie
Before you start filling your blender, it’s important to know how to make a green smoothie, and it’s more than simply knowing which ingredients to use. These tips and tricks help you blend the perfect green smoothie:
- Wash your greens well. The last thing you want in your smoothie is grit from greens you didn’t thoroughly wash. Rinse your greens until you think they’re clean, and then rinse them some more. You can also submerge the leaves in clean water to remove the grit.
- Use a good blender. If your blender can barely pulverize soft foods, you won’t have much luck blending thick, leafy greens into a smooth, creamy smoothie. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a high-end blender, but use one that can handle the green smoothie ingredients so you aren’t stuck with large chunks of greens.
- Blend longer. A trick for making green smoothies with a lower powered blender is to keep blending. Don’t give up if the blender doesn’t immediately create the smoothie texture you want. Give the blades time to pulverize the ingredients. Stop the blender and stir around the ingredients, or add more liquid to help the blender process everything if needed. Cutting or chopping the ingredients into smaller pieces before you start blending also helps the blender do its job.
- Start with your liquids and greens. Putting all of the ingredients in right away can be a lot to ask from your blender. Start with your liquid base and greens, processing them until they are smooth. The liquid helps the blades tear through the greens. When nothing else is in the blender, you can make sure the greens get fully processed so you won’t end up with large leaf chunks in your smoothie. Once you’re satisfied with the green texture, add your fruits and other ingredients and blend again.
- Adjust to get the right texture. Your smoothie won’t come out to the perfect consistency the first time, every time. Once you have everything blended well, take a little sip. If it seems too thick, add more of your liquid base and blend again. If it’s too thin, add more ice or fruit.
Detox Smoothie Recipes
Most of us come into contact with toxins throughout the day. Even if you eat clean, you still may ingest contaminants in your drinking water or encounter environmental toxins. Short of living in a bubble, it’s impossible to avoid all toxins. A detox smoothie is a healthy way to help cleanse those chemicals out of your body.
The best detox green smoothie recipes use organic fruits and vegetables to make the smoothie full of antioxidants and easy to digest. Since your goal is to remove toxins from your body, the last thing you want is to add more chemicals in your detox smoothie. The fiber in fruits and veggies help clean out intestines. Other tips for green detox smoothies include:
- Load up on fruits and veggies, which are full of water and fiber that support detox.
- Skip powdered supplements or lots of fats. Simple smoothies work best for cleaning out the body.
- Include ingredients high in vitamin C, which helps with cleansing.
- Citrus fruits are particularly helpful in cleansing the body. Add oranges, grapefruit, lemons or limes to your detox smoothie.
- Use lots of leafy greens to take advantage of the chlorophyll, which may also help cleanse the body.
- Incorporate fresh ginger, an ingredient known for its detoxifying qualities.
Try this recipe to detox your body:
½ cup of almond milk
2 cups of kale
1 small lime
Fresh, grated ginger
Add the almond milk and kale to the blender. Blend until smooth. Add the fruits and ginger. Blend again until smooth.
Weight Loss Smoothie Recipes
You know fruits and veggies are an important part of losing weight, but eating the same stuff over and over can get old. Enter the green smoothie. With several different tasty combinations, you can fill up on healthy smoothies to stay full longer. Green smoothies for weight loss typically contain high-fiber fruits and veggies to keep you full. Consider these tips for your weight loss smoothie:
- Skip added sweeteners. Use bananas or pitted dates for natural sweetness.
- Incorporate healthy fats from nut butter, avocado or coconut oil to help feel full.
- Use water or tea as the liquid base to cut extra calories.
- Don’t skimp on the leafy greens. They are low in calories and high in fiber, making them ideal for weight loss.
- Sprinkle in cinnamon to help control blood sugar levels and maximize glucose metabolism.
Here is one example of a weight loss green smoothie:
½ cup water or unsweetened almond milk
2 cups spinach or other leafy green
1 small banana
½ cup pineapple
1 pitted Medjool date
1 tbsp. nut butter
Blend the water or almond milk with the leafy greens. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
Metabolism Boost Smoothie Recipes
Green smoothies for metabolism boost give you a natural burst of energy to keep you going all day. Here are some tips for getting a metabolism boost from your smoothie:
- Use citrus fruit, which offers a natural energy boost.
- Replace water or milk with tea to boost metabolism.
- Incorporate fruits high in vitamin C, which supports healthy metabolism.
- Boost your metabolism with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Try this smoothie to boost your metabolism:
½ cup water or almond milk
2 cups leafy greens
1 pitted Medjool date
Blend the leafy greens and liquid until smooth. Add the oranges, date and cinnamon. Blend until smooth.
Hair and Nail Growth Smoothie Recipes
Green smoothie benefits aren’t always health related. Try green smoothies for hair and nail growth for a cosmetic perk. An overall healthy diet full of nutritious foods improves the health of your hair and skin. The hydration from green smoothies also helps hair and nails grow well. Here are some tips for smoothies that help your skin, hair and nails:
- Include avocado. The monounsaturated fats, oleic acid and linoleic acid in avocados are good for both skin and hair.
- Use a variety of fruits and vegetables. Hair and nails need vitamins and minerals for healthy growth, so incorporating different fruits and vegetables expands the types of nutrients in the smoothie.
- Ingredients with vitamin C, vitamin B3, folate and silica in particular may help with hair and nail growth.
- While not a leafy green, cucumber is a good source of silica, making it a good option for hair and nail smoothies.
Here is a smoothie recipe option to support hair and nail growth:
1 ½ cups cucumber
1 ½ cups melon
½ cup plain yogurt
Fresh mint leaves
Fresh lemon juice
Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Garnish with additional mint leaves or lemon wedges if desired.
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