For health and healthy weight, the green smoothie is where it’s all at. Drink up good health with your fruits and veggies.
I'm sure you're well aware of the health benefits of drinking green smoothies. (Sparknotes: they give you a huge amount of nutritional bang for your buck, improve your digestion, boost your energy, strengthen your immunity, detox your body, and beautify your hair, nails and skin.) Drinking daily green smoothies can inch you closer to hitting your recommended daily dose of fruits and veggies and also take inches OFF your waistline.
The point is, life is better when you drink green smoothies.
But it can be hard to make regular healthy smoothie drinking an enjoyable habit. Even though green smoothies are one of the most simple, nutritious, delicious meals you and your blender can make, just one little mistake can throw off the taste or texture, leaving you with a blender full of unpleasant mush.
Here are 7 great secrets to guarantee you'll dump your green smoothie down your throat and not down your drain:
1.) A smoothie's not a smoothie without some plant-protein.
For me, a smoothie = a meal. Maybe not a meal as large and filling as dinner, but definitely a breakfast, lunch, or mini-snack-meal. And what's the key to making a meal filling? PROTEIN. Way too many people (myself included for a number of years) make the mistake of not adding protein to their smoothies and then wondering why the heck smoothies don't fill them up! They wonder why, after drinking a super nutritious green smoothie, they still feel hungry—maybe even hungrier than before they drank it! The answer is a lack of plant-protein in the smoothie, because without the protein, you're just drinking a cup full of fruit (and greens) which is very likely to spike your blood sugar and jumpstart your hunger!
DO THIS --> NEVER serve a smoothie without 2 tablespoon to 1 full scoop (1/4 cup) of plant-protein.
2.) De-stem your greens.
Another huge mistake newbie green smoothie drinkers make is not realizing the dire need to de-stem their greens! With spinach this isn’t a problem, but with kale, oh me oh my. Whenever people complain about the horrible consistency of a kale smoothie, 9 times out of 10 it’s because they’re blending up the stems. Even in a super powerful blender you’ll be better off without those harsh, thick, stringy stems. Just remove them! You (and your teeth) will be happy you did.
DO THIS --> Save your stems! Instead of throwing them away, try boiling them for about 20 minutes and then adding them to a pesto recipe. Or, try chopping them up and sautéing them with a medley of sautéed veggies. Or just juice them raw!
3.) Leave your ice in the freezer.
Believe it or not, adding ice to your smoothie typically turns it from smoothie to slushy. The texture can get thrown way off when you use ice, unless what you’re going for is a mock 7-11 Slurpee. Instead, use frozen fruits in your smoothies! They’re a two-for-one deal: they add wonderful flavor and nutrients AND they act as ice, making your smoothies thicker and chilled just the way you want it.
DO THIS --> Tired of blending the same fruits from your grocery store's freezers? Try freezing ripe fruits that you cut up at home! You can buy a ripe papaya or cut up a perfect watermelon and freeze them in chunks to add to your smoothies.
4.) Freeze your bananas.
Frozen bananas are what make smoothies creamy (and dreamy). They are the perfect thickener, making it so you can’t even tell they’re accompanied by stringy kale or spinach. Frozen bananas also add a substantial, yet mellow, sweetness to smoothies, making it so you can’t even TASTE that the kale or spinach are in the same drink.
DO THIS --> Peel and cut (in half or fourths) ripe (aka brown, speckled) bananas. Then, throw them in a baggie and freeze them so they’re ready to grab and blend into your green smoothies.
5.) Throw in fun flavors.
Adding herbs and spices to your smoothies is a fun and calorie-free way to really improve their yum-factor. Herbs like mint and basil are wonderful paired with berries and tropical fruits like mangos, watermelon and pineapple. Spices like cinnamon, ginger and even cardamom are lovely with peaches and bananas. Pumpkin pie spice and allspice are great with nut butters and pumpkins. The only limit is your imagination (and what's available in your garden or at your local store).
DO THIS --> Freeze your herbs when they’re on the verge of going bad. You’ll waste less and you can use those frozen herbs to greatly enhance your smoothies.
6.) Think outside the (base) box.
While every smoothie needs a base (a liquid), every smoothie's base need not always be the same! There’s no hard rule saying you have to make your green smoothies with almond, soy, rice or hemp milk. How about adding the low calorie, natural sweetness of coconut water? Or the zero calorie, yet super practical, no-excuse liquid called water? Or even a lovely flavored chilled green tea? You can even go halfsies on these liquids — half coconut water and half water. Half water and half milk. The options are really endless, but the bottom line is vary your base!
DO THIS --> Brew a large batch of green tea, pour it into ball jars, and keep them in your fridge. Use this chilled green tea as a base for your morning green smoothie to give you an added boost of energy to kick off your day.
7.) Pre-portion your plants.
If you find that time is coming in the way of you and your daily green smoothies, there is a way to beat the system, and that's with pre-portioning (and packaging) your plants! The night before you're planning to make your morning smoothie, throw your ingredients: fruits, herbs, greens into a Ziploc baggie or Tupperware and store in the freezer. When it's smoothie time, all you'll need to do is dump in the pre-portioned plants, add your liquid and a scoop of protein and you're off to the races!
DO THIS --> On Sunday, pre-portion your smoothies for a full work-week! That way lack of time will never be an excuse to not get your AM blended juice!