Green Smoothies: Not So Scary

Green smoothies are one of those things that once you’re hooked on, you’re never gonna want to go back to life without them. They just make you feel so good- satisfied and energized from all the good sugars and carbs. Wether its for breakfast or an afternoon pick me up, they can be a meal or even a replacement for the caffeine you usually rely on for your energy fix. They’ll fuel your workout or help you recover, give your day an energized start or keep you going at that 2 o’clock lull.  Most people either hate green smoothies or swear by them. Some gawk at their distinguished colour and assume they must taste as healthy as they look- and who wants to drink a blender worth of swampy slush? Newsflash: they ARE as healthy as they look, and they taste fantastic. All you need to know are some basics for creating a perfectly sweet green smoothie every single time.

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  • Greens: Of course the key ingredient in a “green” smoothie are the greens: spinach, kale, or any other dark green vegetable (or a combination of). If you are new to green smoothies, I would recommend starting out with a mild green like spinach, and slowly increasing the amount as your tastebuds adjust. You’ll find that in no time you’ll be adding half a blender of kale and you won’t even notice it.
  • Frozen Bananas: I love a thick smoothie, so whenever I can I use at least 1 frozen banana in my smoothies. It adds sweetness and creates that milkshake texture without the crunchiness or wateriness of ice.
  • Fruit: Other than frozen bananas, the most important piece for creating a smoothie that actually tastes good is to not be afraid to load up the fruit. People are often cautious of the sugars and calories  in fruit, and try to minimize it for that reason. From my own personal experience and the results I’ve seen from others, I would say eat as much fruit as your body and heart desire. As long as you are active and getting the other nutrients your body needs, you should be able to use fruit as fuel. If, however, you need/want to lower your intake, just make a smaller smoothie and follow the same guidelines. If you try to make up for the fruit with water or nut milks it just won’t be the same. In terms of the type of fruit you add, it is entirely up to you. If you add dark fruits like berries, the mixture of greens and fruit will create a dark brown colour that will taste just fine but will not be that vibrant green colour you may be trying to achieve. I almost exclusively make “tropical” green smoothies with frozen mangos and pineapple, and save the berries for smoothie bowls (see previous post for tips/recipe). I always prefer frozen fruit as they thicken the smoothie without a need for ice, they’re often cheaper, and they are available all year.
  • Nut Milk: I use organic unsweetened almond milk to thin out my smoothies enough to blend them. This is where you can experiment with how much milk you’d like. It will determine the texture, and also tone down the sweetness the more you add. Depending on the kind of blender you have, you may have to use a lot more if it is not very powerful. I use a Vitamix and can add pretty much as little as I’d like as it does an amazing job at breaking everything down.
  • Add-Ins: This is where you can add in whatever you’d like to suit your taste and your nutritional needs. Post workout? Add in some hemp hearts. Need more energy? Blend in some oats. Throw in chia seeds, flax seeds, acai powder, maca powder, anything at all! Have fun experimenting with ingredients and do what works for you and your lifestyle. IMG_0827

In summary:

  1. Greens
  2. Frozen (or fresh) fruit
  3. Nut Milk

My approximate recipe:

  1. 1+ frozen bananas
  2. 1+ cup frozen mangos
  3. 1+ cup frozen pineapple
  4. 2 cups almond milk

 

Now go make one!

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