Google the words “green smoothie” and you’ll soon learn that it’s not green because an addition of fragrant kiwis, or ripe avocados. More like kale, chard, spinach and the like.
Green smoothies are one of those clever kitchen concoctions that hide the taste of the nutritious add-in with a mask of other ingredients (most often in the form a various sweet fruits). That add in? Leafy greens.
Eww, gross, perhaps? Not so much – in fact, if you can get past the (sometimes) dank colour of the drink, you’ll realize that it’s actually quite tasty, despite your upper lip bearing a resemblance of slime.
So we’re not painting the tastiest portrait, but maybe going in with low expectations is the key. Either way, here’s the down-low: by adding a handful or two of greens into your morning blend adds an abundance of nutrition – and you can’t really taste it.
Leafy greens are an excellent source of many vitamins and nutrients, notably vitamins A, K, as well as iron. [read more] If we’re not always keen to toss a spinach salad with dinner or add them to our meals, sneaking them into a nutrition-packed smoothie for a snack or light meal is a perfect alternative (oh, and kid-approved).
Green Smoothie Tips
- Add the green to taste – start with a handful, and work your way up, as you get used to the new ingredient in your mix
- Lemon juice is a pungent over-powering ingredient to mask odd tastes, but also gives a fresh spin in your traditional smoothie. Add a few squirts to your next one.
- Always use the whole fruit in your smoothie, as opposed to fruit juice or peeling it. If you’re going to make it good for you, then take the time to use whole, fresh foods
- A lot of people like bananas in their smoothies – it makes it creamy and thick
- Frozen fruits make it thick, cold and refreshing. Try freezing your favourites in chunks so they are ready to go
- Silken tofu doesn’t add any taste but a great creamy consistency with a load of protein
- Keep it simple: choose two fruits that compliment each other, some greens, and added protein (tofu, yogurt, cashews (really))
- If you want, add high-quality protein powder, like hemp protein
- Don’t try to make it gross. Putting 5 handfuls of kale in a blender with half-banana won’t sell you. And no, maple syrup won’t make it better.
- Collards and spinach are the most neutral in taste
- Add 1/4 to 1/2 of an avocado for extra creaminess and healthy fats
- flaxmeal adds a boost of Omega-3s and fibre
- Try using dates instead of sugar or other sweeteners if you need some extra sweetness in your smoothie
Try these combination or add to a current favourite. Mix and match your favourite fruits with a few greens and some add-ins to up the health benefits. Blend all ingredients (frozen fruit works best), adding water to desired consistency, and enjoy.
Tropical Twist: 1 cup pineapple chunks, 1 cup mango chunks, greens, 3 tablespoons hemp seeds
Banana Bread: 1/2 banana, 3 dates, greens, and 1/4 cup walnuts (soaked overnight)
PB & J: 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1 cup strawberries, greens, and 1/2 banana (optional)
Our standby: 1/2 avocado, 1 cup fruit, 3 handfuls spinach, 1 scoop hemp protein powder, a date or two (depending on fruit)
Image courtesy of puregreeni.us