I am a self-declared green smoothie addict! I love the idea of whipping up a nutrition packed portable breakfast in no time at all. I also love how easy it is to sneak an extra serving of vegetables into a smoothie for me, or home-made frozen treats for the kiddos.
If you are new to the smoothie craze, you will need to find a blender that is powerful enough to cut through chunks of frozen fruit, ice, and seeds. I have tested out a few different models over the years; once I decided to incorporate green smoothies into my regular diet, my husband encouraged me to invest in a Vitamix 5300 — a game changer in our book. I found this review by Consumer Reports to be helpful: “Best Blender for Your Lifestyle”
When selecting what goes into the blender, think quality. I always aim for organic greens and fruits, whether fresh from the farmers market or the grocery store. Obviously, you are what you eat/drink, so make your selections based on what you hope to accomplish:
1. Weight loss: If you are planning to replace a meal with a smoothie, I suggest including healthy fats such as coconut oil; protein in the form of nuts or non-fat plain greek yogurt; and limiting the amount of fruit that is going into the blender to about a 1/2 cup. Remember, calories can add up, even if you are drinking them.
2. Regularity: Fiber, fiber, fiber! May I say more? I purchase whole raw flax seed and grind (to aid in digestion) with a coffee bean grinder prior to tossing into the blender. 1 Tbsp of ground flax seed includes 2 grams of fiber. Chia seeds (yes, the same seeds that grew into the popular “pets” of the 80’s/90’s) pack and even bigger punch with 5 grams of fiber in 1 Tbsp. I use both! Keep in mind that your smoothie will already be packed with whole food fiber contained within the fruits and greens you select.
3. Getting your “5 A Day”: The USDA recommends consuming an average of 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day; that equates to a minimum of 2-1/2 cups. No….I am not advocating that you toss all of these servings into a morning smoothie, 2 cups of greens and 1 cup of fruit points me in the right direction for the day.
So…..what makes the PERFECT green smoothie?
Add 1-2 cups of liquid to the blender. I prefer coconut water, filtered water from the tap, or chilled green tea. I use omega-3 fortified whole milk for the kiddos. You can also almond/coconut/soy milks.
Choose your greens. Add 2 handfuls (about 2 cups) of spinach, kale, or romaine. I prefer kale, but recommend starting off with spinach as it is not as bitter. You can also play around with other veggies. Carrots and celery tend to blend up nicely.
A mid afternoon snack; 1 cup coconut water, 2 handfuls of kale, 1/2 tbsp. flax seed, 1 tbsp. chia seed, 1/2 banana, and 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
Toss in your fixings: ground flax seed, chia seed, hemp seed, nuts, melted coconut oil, plain greek yogurt, flavor extracts…..whatever you need for an extra boost.
Select about 1 cup of fruit for flavor; fresh or frozen. Bananas tend to add a nice thickness to the smoothie.
Crank up the blender! You can choose to add ice to add an instant chill. Blend until smooth.
Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays for a healthy frozen treat.
What is YOUR go-to smoothie concoction? Rum-free of course.