Hop on the Green Smoothie Love Train for Breakfast
Green smoothies are all the rage these days. And I, being a fan of rages, have fallen in love with the green smoothie. I was first inspired by the Healthy Librarian at her blog, Happy Healthy Long Life. Then, after some illnesses in my family and pleas from my sister for us to all eat well and stay healthy, I was primed to impulse buy a fancy blender on sale at Whole Foods while on my way to visit my mother in the hospital. I have been making the most of my impulse buy, however, and have been making green smoothies on the regular ever since.
Image by vanessayavonne via Flickr
Don't let their beautiful emerald green (or, sometimes, dark red, deep purple or lovely mud brown) color fool you. Green smoothies don't have to taste like you are drinking a glass of ground up grass. Many people, myself included, simply add leafy greens to fruit smoothies as a way of getting another couple few servings of veggies in their day in easy, convenient drinkable form.
The trick to making green smoothies not just palatable but downright tasty is to add copious amount of fruit. I'm having a hard time ditching my sweet tooth so I also add fruit juice. Water is a healthier choice. Weaning, people. I'm weaning!
The other trick is to use a strong blender. Using a juicer gives you a nice thin juice but also separates the pulp and fiber from your fruits and vegetables. If you use a strong blender (I use a pricey but very good Vitamix) you get a thicker, smoothie-textured, liquid that has the fiber from the whole produce that goes into your smoothie. And that's what helps makes green smoothies nutritional powerhouses.
Another step I take in turning my green smoothie into great breakfast food is to add in protein powder which helps make it not only kick-start the day but stick. I'm personally a fan of hemp proteins because they have more fiber and Omega-3's than whey protein. For the vegans in the house it also keeps your smoothie free of animal proteins. My current favorite is Amazing Meal Pomegranate Mango Infusion but there are several other less expensive varieties on the market now. And if you don't have a Whole Foods nearby or other hippie supplement source, many can be ordered online.
I don't have a set recipe and I generally just throw in whatever looks good in the produce section and I have on hand. An example of a loose green smoothie recipe for me might start with a base of
1. orange juice (6-8 oz)
2. a few slices of fresh ginger
3. a scoop of protein powder
4. 4-5 oz of baby spinach leaves, 2-3 leaves of rainbow chard or 2-3 leaves of dinosaur or curly kale sliced into ribbons for easier blending. Parsley is a popular choice, as well, but I personally don't care for the flavor it gives a green smoothie.
plus some of the following fruit or sweet veggies(always some frozen to create a nice smoothie texture)
1 pink lady apple, skin on, seeds removed
10 or so baby carrots
1/2 cup pineapple
1/2 cup mango
1/2-1 banana (frozen bananas make for an excellent smoothie)
1/2-1 cup berries (fresh or frozen) - you might wish to strain for seeds before drinking if using raspberries.
Fill up your blender (in the order suggested by the manufacturer), add water as needed to thin out the mixture, blend until smooth and enjoy. I generally mix up 32oz and bring it to work with me so I can sip throughout the day as breakfast and a snack.
If you'd like a more precise recipe, the following bloggers can hook you up:
BlogHer Contributing Editor, Kalyn Denny wrote a Weekend Menu Planning wrap up of smoothie recipes including green smoothies.
And the Vitamix site of course has recipes (because they'd like to sell you a fancy blender) but it's also a nice resource for additional nutritional information for various greens.
Are you riding the green smoothie train? What's your favorite recipe? Please do share below in the comments or give us a link.