Eating Well With Kim: Green Smoothies … What Is All the Hype About?

By: Kim Beavers Email
By: Kim Beavers Email

While it was common for our ancient ancestors to consume a diet loaded with greens, few Americans are able to consume the recommended three servings of dark green leafy vegetables per week!

Can you imagine going to the grocery store and leaving with a bag full of greens? Probably not, and yet these veggies contain a large amount of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are beneficial to our health.

Which brings me to my next point: Green smoothies seem to be everywhere these days, from juice bars to daytime TV shows. But what exactly are green smoothies? When people talk about green smoothies, they are not talking about regular smoothies with food coloring in it for St. Patty’s Day!

A green smoothie is a smoothie that is blended with dark green, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, dandelion greens and romaine lettuce. I personally like to add fresh green herbs like mint and parsley into my green smoothie. If you are feeling like a true health nut, feel free to add protein for muscle growth, or ground flaxseed with omega 3 fatty acids. However, green smoothies are nutrient dense enough and are healthy enough without additives.

Now, if you are someone who truly despises the taste of greens, that’s fine. Most green smoothie recipes are 60 percent fruit and 40 percent greens. When blended in a green smoothie, the flavor of the vegetables is masked by that of the fruit. The greens add plenty of color to your recipe, and you may get a few odd looks from your friends and family members, but one taste and they will be hooked!

Now that you know a little about green smoothies, here are some pointers that will help you get started making the perfect green smoothies:

  • 1. Add a liquid. Liquid is necessary to help your blender mix the ingredients. Use filtered water for most green smoothie recipes or juice. Coconut water can be used if you want to add a tropical taste to your smoothie.
    If you want to use milk for added calcium and protein, use lower fat dairy milk or choose plant-based milk like soy and rice milk to go vegetarian.
  • 2. Pick your base fruit. Base fruit gives your smoothie that creamy smoothie texture.
    Use creamy fruits like bananas, mangos, peaches, pears, apples and papaya. Water-rich fruit like watermelon, grapes and oranges work well as flavor, but make sure to include a base fruit as well for the creamy texture.
  • 3. Delicious flavor combinations. These are my favorite, but everyone’s taste buds are different!
    -Banana with strawberry
    -Mango with pineapple
    -Pear with orange
    -Apple with blueberry
  • 4. While you can make your smoothies with just fruit, I consider greens to be an essential part of a healthy smoothie regimen. What’s a green smoothie without the greens?
    Once the fruit is added, you can add your greens like baby spinach, kale, dandelion greens and romaine lettuce. The recommended percentage of greens to fruit is 40 percent greens to 60 percent fruit. You can start at a lower percentage of greens and work your way up!
  • 5. Now you are ready to blend it up!
    If you want to add flaxseed or protein powder, be my guest! If you need to sweetened your smoothie use honey, brown rice syrup or agave nectar. Using the “pulse” button, blend on high for 30 to 60 seconds, but no longer to reduce oxidation and nutrient loss.

What is available in the stores for those of us who do not own a blender?
There are plenty of options available at local supermarkets in the produce section. I personally have selected a few brands and flavors that I enjoy, taking into account price, taste and nutritional value.

  • Boathouse Farms has the largest array of smoothie options at the most reasonable prices. “Green goodness” is their green smoothie, but they also have flavors like vanilla chai tea, mocha cappuccino, breakfast smoothie, berry boost, strawberry banana and chocolate protein plus.
  • The brand, Naked, has a number of flavors, too, like protein zone mango, mango veggie, orange carrot, red machine, acai machine, blue machine and green machine, but this brand is more expensive and in my opinion, does not taste as good as the Boathouse Farms.
  • Odwalla is another brand that sells smoothies. However, I was unable to find a green smoothie in this brand and most the drinks were a little too thick for my liking.

Remember to choose the healthiest options. Look at the nutrition facts label for the smoothie that contain the largest amount of green veggies and the lowest amount of total carbohydrates! However, if you want the most nutrient dense green smoothie, be creative and start up the blenders in your home!

Until next time: Eat well, shop well and live well!

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