Have you been looking longingly at other people’s smoothies?
Is Pinterest calling your name?
Is Pinterest calling your name?
Are you bored with your coffee in the morning?
Are you looking for a new, healthy way to find energy in the morning?
Do you LOVE the color green?
Then THIS is the blog post for YOU!
Today I am going to deconstruct the elusive green smoothie for you and help you with some hints on what to stock your cabinets with, why we drink green smoothies & what tastes best (seriously).
A co-worker of mine recently asked me for some recipes and additional information on green smoothies. She mentioned that she is trying to be healthier and wants to know more. She tries her best (and looks amazing, especially for someone who gave birth this past year) but wants a few helpful hints. I thought I would help not only her but also all of you with deconstructing green smoothies.
First of all a green smoothie is an acquired taste. There are many ways to build up to this taste and many ingredients that are still not in my own repetoire but it’s important to experiment and have fun, knowing that it will all come together eventually.
1) Greens (spinach, kale, parsley, cilantro etc)
Spinach is the first ingredient I would try as a part of a green smoothie. I LOVE KALE but as I mentioned there are certain ingredients (kale being one of them) that are an acquired taste and need some adjusting to. I would start with a typical strawberry and banana smoothie and add a hanful of spinach. It turns your smoothie green and adds a few additonal nutrients to your breakfast. Spinach is full of protein and iron and delicious nutrients.
I would add kale whenever you’re ready! It really does amp up your nutrients and after a little adjusting it tastes delicious.
The other greens I have not yet experiemented with are a bit too much for me as of now. They include cilantro, parsley etc. I HAVE tried fresh mint and a DASH of peppermint extract which is minty and delicious! Go ahead and begin experimenting, it’s the only way you’ll learn what you love.
I use a number of powders in my smoothies. They all add a different set of nutrients, or energy and amp up my smoothie to not only be delicious but practical. My doctor loves that I drink them every morning and says that we should all “eat breakfast like a king.” When I am running around and out of time in the morning, I pop in a few of my favorite ingredients to keep me going and make sure that even if it isn’t large it is FULL of whatever I need for my day.
Spirulina is a vegetarian supplement that is 60% protein and contains B12. It is wonderful for those of us who are meat & dairy concious and would like or need a little protein boost in their diet. When I began using it a girlfriend of mine told me to use a pinch (no bigger than my thumbnail). I listened to her for a while and then began to use more – not a good idea. It definetly has a taste and I would recommend using a 1/2 tsp at most. You can add it to most any smoothie and it will absolutely add green & protein!
Amazing Grass Green Foods is not only delicious but also nutritious. I have been adding this particular supplement to my smoothies for a few years now. It was the first one I was brave enough to add and I love it! I use the chocolate grass as it is a nice flavor but have heard that the berry is also really good. It is a quick & easy way to add greens to your smoothie if you run out of them or if perhaps you just want more nutrients!
I typically use my green foods powder with raw cacoa which is really yummy! I do this if I want my smoothies to be chocolatey! Lately I have been using the dark chocolate which I picked up by accident. I have always used Hershey’s Powder but there are many others to choose from if you hunt around! Give them all a try.
Maca Powder is a powder for energy. It is grown in the Andes in Peru and used for medicinal purposes, a vegetable and supposedly an aphrodisiac. Brought down to a powder it is now used as an energy boost. Many of my friends claim it is as good as coffee. I do not say this quite yet, I’m still thinking it is as strong as a caffinated tea, but it’s a good start. I have just recently started using it so any suggestions below are welcome.
3) Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are so yummy that they deserve their own category! And before you ask: chia seeds are the same seeds used to grow a chia pet and NO it will not make your insides look like the outside of a Chia pet!
It supports heart health, helps with omega 3 intake, is full of antioxidants & is rich in calcium as well!! This little article introduces a few of the “Why” questions around Chia seeds.
The best part of chia seeds? I don’t just use them in smoothies. I use them in overnight oats, chia seed pudding & a handful of other recipes.
4) Fruits & Veggies
This category should be self-explanatory! You can add in whatever nutritious and delicious fruits and veggies you like. I keep some in my freezer for an added cold burst or if I run out of fresh. I also buy fresh fruits & veggies often for my smoothies.
Simple veggies that are easy to digest and throw in your smoothie: zucchini, kale, spinach, celery, carrot & cucumber.
Fruits: berries, bananas (I freeze mine – peeled first and cut in half), apples, pears, pineapple and more.
Added yumminess: ginger root, lemon, mint leaves, extracts and more!
5) Liquid Base
If I want a milkier taste, I use half almond milk and half water (or all almond milk if I need it). When I run out of almond milk, I use my husbands skim! Occassionally I use coffee and almond milk for a coffee smoothie (recipe below) or juice. Typically the juices my hubby buys are a bit too sweet for my taste so I again use half water and half juice.
My favorite “juice” base at the moment is the 15 calorie lemonade from minute maid with half water! My favorite chocolatey smoothie at the moment is coffee, almond milk & water as a base.
Now you have all of these powders, greens, fruits/veggies, liquid base & your chia seeds. But it just doesn’t taste right. Maybe you need a sweetener or an extract?
Sweeteners I love: raw sugar, stevia, maple syrup, agave & ocassionally (in coffee) regular old sugar. I try not to use too much white sugar as it isn’t good for my body, but sometimes I use it in the morning coffee for hubby & I so there it remains.
Extracts: I like to use only vanilla & peppermint extract at the moment. I have heard some amazing things about hazelnut and almond though! My biggest suggestion is that you use a capful or less. Especially with the peppermint which can become VERY strong.
I have two recipes here for you all to try!
Chocolate Aztec Smoothie
*1 capful of vanilla extract
Pinch of cayenne pepper
This simple and delicious smoothie is adapted from the recipe book Crazy Sexy Kitchen (go buy it now!) and if there is a * next to it, it is something I’ve added on my own 🙂 YUMMY!
Ginger Lemon Smoothie
1 Squeezed Lemon
YUMMY! I made this one up because I love, love, love ginger and lemon.
Both of these two recipes may be too spicy for you – so hunt around the internet, play on pinterest and pull out your blender. I hope you enjoy!
Please, please, please let me know YOUR smoothies, what you add, what I missed and what YOU love.
Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!