Beginner’s Guide to Green Smoothies

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I love green smoothies. There is no way in hell you’ll ever catch me eating handfuls of raw kale, celery, spinach or cucumbers. But a tropical smoothie? You betcha. Green smoothies are the perfect way to ensure healthy vegetables and fruits make their way into your daily diet, ensuring powerful punches of vitamins and nutrients to help you stay healthy and lean.

But what exactly is a green smoothie and how do you make one? How will you know what combinations will be deletable and which will taste like pond sludge? When I first began my journey into green smoothies, I was a little overwhelmed with all of the information that was out there. I hope that this guide will give you a place to start in an exploration into your healthier side.

First, you will need a good blender. I personally use the Nutribullet, but have heard great things about the Ninja and Vitmaix lines. I know what you are thinking: “$90 for a blender? Seriously?” Yes, seriously. You can try your $15 blender from your wedding registry if you’d like, but the likelihood of needing to use your teeth to get your smoothies down the hatch will be pretty high. Being a notorious cheapskate, I balked at the price tag too, but I guarantee you, the investment is worth it! I love the personal portable size of the Nutribullet, which is the main reason I chose this blender over others on the market. It is so easy to pop my smoothie in the blender and head right out the door without having to transport it into a separate travel mug and dirty up more dishes (and the Nutribullet is dishwasher-safe!) Additionally, you never have to worry about waste with the Nutribullet. It blends up the perfect personal sized smoothie with no extra leftover. I can personalize a smoothie for myself and one for my husband without pouring remnants of either down the sink.

Now, what makes a green smoothie work? You need three main components: greens, fruits, and liquid.

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Here are some typical staples I use for each category:

Greens: kale, spinach, swiss chard

Fruits: bananas, peaches, berries, mango, pineapple

Liquid: water, coconut water, almond milk, low-calorie orange juice, low-calorie lemonade

I use something from each of these three areas in every green smoothie I make. They are your staples. Then you can add in your extras. Some common ones I use include:

Celery, carrots, peanut butter, greek yogurt, ground flax seed, almond butter, protein powder, coconut oi;

The key in any green smoothie is to perfect your fruit to vegetable ratio. You want the sweetness of your fruit (or extras like peanut butter or yogurt) to overpower the bitterness of your greens and other vegetables. I typically use approximately 1/2 cup of fruits to ever large handful of spinach or 3 leaves of kale. Celery and kale have a stronger taste than spinach, so you might want to up your sweets a bit when using these.

I prefer to use fresh vegetables and frozen fruits. I like buying fruit already frozen and bagged up from the store due to the convenience factor, but you can certainly buy fresh fruit and freeze it yourself if you have that kind of time.

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I recommend starting light on your liquid. You can always add more, but cannot take it away! You want your smoothies to be a creamy, smooth consistency. Too much liquid will cause a runny mess. Too little will cause your blender to not work correctly and result in a chunky soup.

I recently blogged about juicing. I am certainly still a fan of juicing but green smoothies have found a special place in my heart. Two benefits of smoothies come to mind in comparison to juicing: 1. Smoothies fill you up better than juice. I will often replace a meal with a smoothie and find myself feeling fully satisfied when pairing one with a slide of cheese, handful of almonds, a few pretzels, etc. 2. Produce goes much further with smoothies than with juice. When juicing, I found myself using two apples and a half a bag of kale for one juice concoction. For smoothies I can use only three kale leaves and a half an apple. So with this being said, smoothies are a much more budget-friendly option. However, I still do juice and find it can be a great way to add nutrients into my diet without making myself stuffed.

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There are plenty of recipes out there for creating a variety of green smoothies, but be creative and try your own! Just be sure to follow the key formula listed above. I swear they taste 100 times better than they look! I’ll post some of my favorites in the weeks to come, so be sure to check back!

What are your favorite green smoothie recipes?

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