Wondering why in the world anyone would want a green smoothie (besides a close cousin affectionately called the Shamrock Shake)?
Here are a few good reasons to add a green smoothie diet into your nutritional regimen:
- You want to consume more vitamins and minerals naturally
- You want to enjoy vegetables and greens more
- You want to fill up on healthy greens rather than eating more carbs
- You want to enjoy highly nutritious meals with little prep work
Don’t worry! Adding green smoothies to your diet isn’t hard to do at all. In fact, there are a lot of ways to incorporate a variety of greens into healthy smoothie recipes.
Check out these fresh new ways to add greens to your smoothies:
1. As Flecks
You don’t have to make greens the bulk of your healthy smoothie. Fruit smoothies are pretty heathy on their own, so adding greens as if they were sprinkles is a great way to keep the original flavor you enjoy with the added bonus of extra nutrients.
To use simple green flecks for smoothie nutrient boosting, mix up some of your favorite smoothie ingredients in the blender. Add milk, yogurt, tea, or whatever else you like to use to make it nice and smooth. When the smoothie is completely finished, sprinkle in some flecks of a mild-flavored green. Stir the drink and enjoy!
2. As Dippers
If you’re not a big fan of having fresh greens running through your smoothies, you can always just pair greens up as a side that can be dipped. Celery, for instance, tastes really good dipped in a fruit smoothie.
Softer greens are also an option. Just lightly toss in olive oil and bake them to create easy to dip and yummy to crunch green chip crisps. Your crisps can be seasoned or left plain according to your preferences.
3. As Seasonings
Some greens are not easily added as flecks or used as dippers because they have such a strong flavor. You can still use highly flavorful, bold greens in your healthy smoothie recipes though. Using a little more creativity, you can add greens to smoothies as seasonings.
Cilantro, for instance, is often used as a seasoning in recipes (especially at ethnic fast food joints). Often thought of just as a spice, cilantro is actually a green and offers a ton of nutrients. Also called coriander, some of the nutrients cilantro contains are magnesium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K.
Add cilantro to a smoothie that has a tropical or tangy bent, like an orange, lime, or papaya drink. If you find other greens with distinct tastes that could be seasonings, think about the kinds of foods they are commonly eaten with and use those foods and flavors as the base for a smoothie.
4. As a Base
If you’re a big fan of greens, use them as the base of a smoothie! Really powerful as pre-workout drinks and health-boosting beverages, smoothies made primarily from greens can be delicious and nutritious. Popular examples of greens used as a smoothie base include:
- Swiss chard
- Dandelion greens
You’ll need one to two cups of most greens to create a single-portion smoothie. Be sure to add seasonings and complimentary fluids, like honey or tea.
Most people, even those who love greens, don’t care for a plain green smoothie. So, you will also probably want some fruit in the beverage to add a little sweetness and a smoother texture. Bananas, mango, and pineapple are all great fruits for thickening and smoothing out mixed beverages.
5. As a Secret
Some of the guests you give smoothies to may dislike greens. Or, they may like greens as a side or in a salad, but think green smoothies are weird. There’s also the possibility that you don’t even like the idea of drinking greens (have no shame, that’s fairly normal!).
Take heart then and enjoy healthy smoothies anyway; greens can be added to smoothies secretly. Just choose to add only small amounts of healthy vegetation and select varieties that are easy to mask with fruit and other more traditional smoothie ingredients.
For example, choose easily masked greens like:
- Swiss chard
- Romaine lettuce
- Beet greens
6. As Friends, Not Family
All good things are best in moderation, even greens! As you embark on your green smoothie making adventure, you need to know that mixing greens matters. Different types of greens belong to families. Too many greens from the same family consumed over and over again can lead to alkaloid build-up, which has some unhealthy side effects!
It’s best to rotate your smoothie greens so that each smoothie is made up of “friend” varieties instead of close relatives. For example, the crucifiers family includes kale, arugula, and collard greens. The Amaranth family includes spinach, chard, and beet greens.
To get the most nutrients you can without eating too much of the same, make a kale and spinach smoothie or a chard and arugula smoothie, but not a kale and arugula drink!