A tutorial: How to make the PERFECT green smoothie
I’ve mentioned a couple of times in the past few days, that as a short-term new year’s goal, I would like to drink one green smoothie everyday in the month of January. I’m a HUGE fan of green smoothies, so this typically wouldn’t be too difficult for me. However when it’s freezing outside, the last thing I want is a snack or meal made with ice. I do feel so good and way less bloated when I make veggie-filled smoothies a part of my meal plan, though. So for the sake of feeling great, I will endure the chill of the smoothie!
This post is for those of you looking to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet, but get totally turned off by the thought of drinking something green and in the case of the Blueberry Apple Green Smoothie….. dark blue green. It doesn’t look too pretty, but let me tell you, it is delicious! There are so many variations of the green smoothie; different liquids, fruits, veggies and add-ins that you can use. I’m going to share with you ideas for building your green smoothie and then you can play around with some of your favorite ingredients to make it your own.
Liquid: The liquid is the first thing that you will add to your blender. My liquid of choice is usually unsweetened vanilla almond milk and I like Silk brand because it doesn’t contain any of the controversial ingredient, carrageen. Any type of milk or yogurt will work here; coconut milk, soy milk, cow milk, kefir, chocolate milk, rice milk and the list goes on. Water works too.
Greens: If you’re a green smoothie virgin; you’ll want to use spinach because it is not as strong as kale, collard greens, chard, romaine or green leafy herbs like cilantro, parsley and mint. All of these are great choices and I personally like to combine my greens…. a bunch of spinach, some kale and a little chard. When adding your greens, a handful is about 1 cup and if you’re using spinach you can pile it on because the flavor is so mild.
Fruits: There are so many options when it comes to fruit. If you’re a banana lover like myself; an extra ripe banana will sweeten your smoothie perfectly and add such a lovely flavor. Apples are also a really great choice for making your smoothie taste nice and sweet. I like for my fruit to be frozen because it will make your smoothie extra thick. I commonly buy extra ripe bananas, unpeel them and freeze them in a huge baggie. Be sure to unpeel them before freezing…. I speak from experience! Some of my other favorite fruits in green smoothies are pineapple chunks, strawberries, blueberries and mangos. I also typically add 1-2 stalks of celery and about 1/4 of a cucumber to up my green intake.
Nuts, Seeds and/or Superfood Add-ins: You want to add in some healthy fats because they will help you to properly absorb all of the vitamins and minerals that you are taking in. Dr. Oz recommends 1 tablespoon of Chia seeds daily and these are my favorite superfood to add to my smoothies. I also like adding ground flax seed, hemp seeds, hemp oil, coconut oil, flax oil, 6-8 almonds or walnuts and/or a tablespoon of nut/seed butter. Now you don’t want to add all of these at once….. choose one or two.
Extras: If I’ve used an extra ripe banana or an apple, I usually don’t need to add any extra sweetener. If your smoothie needs to be sweetened up a little; add pure raw honey, maple syrup, raw pitted dates, raisins or stevia. If you’re feeling fancy, top your smoothie (after blended) with dried fruit, cereal, granola, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or additional fresh fruit and eat with a spoon.
Method: After all ingredients have been added to your blender, blend away. You may have to stop and start your blender several times, pushing ingredients down as you go. If you like your smoothie extra thick and a little slushy (and you didn’t use frozen fruit) add a cup or two of ice (after blending other ingredients) and combine.
- 1 cup liquid I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk.
- 1/2 cup blueberry yogurt I used Stonyfield blended blueberry yogurt.
- 2-3 cups greens I used spinach.
- 1 apple cored (I didn't peel mine, but if you don't have a Vitamix, Blendtec or Ninja you may want to consider peeling your apple.)
- 1/2 cup blueberries frozen
- 2 teaspoons-1 tablespoon Chia seeds or ground flax seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon almond butter any nut or seed butter will work
- 1-2 cups ice optional
- Add ingredients in the order listed above to a high-speed blender and blend. Add ice, as desired after you have blended other ingredients and blend.
The specific ingredients are optional. Switch out with your favorites to make it your own. For example, if you can't eat almond butter use sunflower seed butter or leave out completely.
I drank this blueberry apple green smoothie yesterday for lunch. It sure was tasty, but I did not enjoy shivering and shaking while I was drinking it. But that’s what electric blankets are for. 😉 When I add yogurt to my green smoothie, like the one above, I usually use Stonyfield brand. The reason why I love Stonyfield organic yogurt so much is because they have always produced their full line of dairy products without the use of toxic persistent pesticides. To help consumers identify the healthiest yogurt on the shelf, Stonyfield packaging now features a call out; which states that the yogurt was made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics or GMOs. See the graphic below for a visual and visit Stonyfield blog for more information.
Additional green smoothie tips:
1. Be sure to use organic ingredients, when possible, and wash all produce before using.
2. Be careful with how long you’re leaving your blender on and with the speed; you don’t want to heat your ingredients because you may kill nutrients in your fruit and veggies.
3. When using flax seed, buy *ground* flax seed. When the seeds are ground, the contain more nutrients.
4. After pouring your smoothie into a glass, run your blender under warm water and let it sit while you drink. Rinse and let the blender air dry, for easy clean-up.
5. I have used a Vitamix, Ninja Ultima and Cuisinart high-speed blender. I will tell you, the Cuisinart does not even compete with the Vitamix and Ninja. Both the Vitamix and Ninja Ultima make an awesome green smoothie.
6. Get creative! Try adding avocado, sweet potato, beets, cocoa powder, Nutella, coffee, cinnamon, watermelon, cottage cheese and pumpkin.
Something to think about…..
Have you ever tried a green smoothie? If so, what are your favorite ingredients?
Have you made any short-term January goals? If so, please share!
Have a wonderful weekend!