The world has been taken over by green drinks! Ok, ok maybe it’s just hipster San Francisco and Seattle where I’ve been lately but seriously they are everywhere. Green juice, green smoothies, green kale as far as the eye can see. You can’t avoid it if you try, which isn’t a bad thing, I happen to love it because it makes staying healthy easier when you are out and on the go. Only problem is if you’re buying these drinks on a regular basis you are going to be broke before you can say wheatgrass please! A green smoothie habit is cuhhrazy expensive, I’ve seen prices as high as $14 a drink!!! I get it, especially the cold pressed spots, it takes a ton of fruits and veggies to produce that little glass of health and they are highly perishable. But I have found that I’m so much happier making them at home because not only do I save like a million dollars a year, but I can load it up with the flavors I like and focus on keeping the sweet add-ins under control. I’ve got the Vitamix on full blast this month coming off of the holiday food marathon and figured I’d share some of my favorite combinations in case you are looking for some inspiration. Happy green drinking!
The Basics: In addition to the veggie/fruit combo I go with for the day I also tend to add a variety of extra fats, proteins or greens depending on my mood and hunger level. All are great to experiment with to find what you like best, just remember you want this to be healthy, so focus on staying heavy on the veggies, lighter on the fruits and being smart about how many healthy fats you are adding. For example, if I add avocado I usually skip the coconut oil and vice versa. (products I like in image above)
The Greens: I switch up the greens I use in my smoothies all the time. Different greens offer different flavors and they also provide slightly different nutrients. Spinach is the best to start with if you’ve never done green smoothies before but eventually baby kale, swiss chard, basil, parsley, basically anything green and leafy is all worth trying.
The Spices and Sprinkles: Adding spices can seriously kick your smoothies up a few notches. I love adding a variety of items like cinnamon, nutmeg and raw cocoa powder. I also like to sprinkle coconut, bee pollen, ground flax or chia seeds on top to make it look beautiful and add another little healthy kick. Oh, and a little scoop of peanut butter or almond butter is heaven.
The Liquids: I use water and/or unsweetened almond milk to help everything blend down nicely. Add ice cubes at the end to make sure it is nice and refreshing…I think it makes it taste better.
The Sweeteners: When you first start making smoothies I suggest using fruits and if you have to a little maple syrup or honey to make sure you are enjoying the experience. The last thing you want is to force yourself to gag down a glass of pureed spinach. But as you get used to the taste it is best to slowly ease up on the amount you use. For example, instead of using 1/2 of a banana and a drizzle of honey in my smoothie (which I used to do, and it is delicious!) I now stick to 1/4 to 1/2 of a banana and usually skip the extra drizzle of honey entirely.
The Recipes: Below are a few of the winning combos I have been blending up lately (fruits get more exciting in the spring and summer, use what you have). The measurements aren’t an exact science but I always use at least 2 big handfuls of greens, a source of fat (1/4 – 1/2 avocado or 1 tablespoon of coconut oil), and some sweetness from fruit. The variables like spices and toppings are then fun to play with depending on the base of the smoothie.
Avocado, Grapefruit, Banana, Greens– Smooth and creamy thanks to the avocado and slightly sweet with a bit of tart from the grapefruit. I always remove the grapefruit segments before adding the the blender because the white pith and membrane skins are really bitter. For a visual on how I do it check out method 1 in THIS EXAMPLE.
Blueberry, Banana, Greens, Coconut Oil – My husband’s favorite and the best smoothie to start with if you are new to the green smoothie game. I highly suggest using fresh spinach as your leafy green of choice if you are just starting out as the flavor is the most mild and easiest to mask.
Lemon, Greens, Avocado, Frozen Mango – If you have a powerful enough blender cut the lemon into pieces and throw them in including the skins! The result is a powerful wake-up call of energy and some fresh breath…I know that’s weird but it’s true.
Raw Cocoa, Avocado, Greens, Banana, Peanut Butter – I refuse to tell you this is like dessert, because it’s not, but it is still decadent and always makes me really happy when I make it. You can swap banana for a drizzle of maple syrup if you want something sweeter. A treat for sure!
Greens, Cucumber, Ginger, Orange, Parsley, Coconut Oil – Very clean tasting, almost more like a juice thanks to the cucumber. I like to zest some of the orange on top for a really bright addition to each sip.