Smoothie Tips & Tricks Google+0Facebook0Twitter0Pinterest2LinkedIn0Green smoothies are here to stay. And for damn good reason, too. They make it not only possible – but positively easy – for most of us to do something that most of us haven’t been so good at doing. Namely, eating our greens! For years, I’ve told myself I’d eat at least one salad a day. But unless I was at a nice restaurant that actually prepared the salad, I’d go days and days without eating anything remotely leafy green-ish. Sometimes, I’d get motivated and stock up on mixed salad greens only to put off eating them ’til they decided to do me a favor and commit mass suicide in my fridge. And then came the green smoothie and changed everything… So, What is a Green Smoothie? A green smoothie is simply a blend of leafy green vegetables and fruits. It’s a powerful drink because it takes a load of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables that you’d rarely take the time to sit down and munch through and blends it into a simple-to-consume drink, a veritable vitamin and mineral powerhouse that you can take along with you and drink as you please. This simple act of blending is sheer genius in that it transforms what may once have been a bother – wash veggies, prepare veggies, find salad recipe, make salad recipe, sit down and eat salad recipe – into something fun, easy, and efficient. The green smoothie is an easy-peasy, effortless way to get your fill of leafy green vegetables. And in the process, you’ll find that this little blending habit soon brings along a host of other, welcome changes in your life. Changes such as effortless weight loss, gradually changing taste buds and eating habits, an improvement in energy levels, easier digestion, radiant skin, and an overall healthier lifestyle. And it all starts with a green smoothie. Or two. How Do You Make a Green Smoothie? Honestly? Any which way you want. There are no rules. Okay – there is one: Use leafy greens. Lots of them. And rotate your greens (more on this here). But on the whole, the green smoothie is ridiculously simple to make and part of the fun is you can create and experiment with your own recipes. To start with, ‘though, here is a general formula for creating awesome green smoothies. Step #1. Choose your leafy greens Oh, there are so many! From the slightly-peppery arugula to the more mild, watery bok choy – the range of leafy greens is varied enough that you are guaranteed to find at least a few that you absolutely LOVE the taste of. To find out a whole bunch of leafy greens and their various nutritional benefits, check out our A-Z list of leafy greens. Step #2. Choose your fruit(s) If you thought you were spoiled for choice with leafy greens, wait ’til you see our list of awesome fruits to blend. There are sooo many to experiment with, you just might be creating new green smoothie recipes for the rest of your life! The lovely thing about there being so many fruits is that you can easily adjust for the benefits you’d like to have. Want to lose weight? Choose low-calorie, metabolism-boosting fruits. Want more healthy fats in your diet? Blend with an avocado for a super-green smoothie. Need an extra boost of sweetness? Well, you can’t go wrong with a mango or ripe honeydew. Looking for detox benefits? There are naturally detoxification-aiding fruits as well. The point is – you’ll be able to combine and adjust for any needs you’ll have. Step #3. Choose your liquid This one’s a special treat. Sure, you can just use water (and that’s a great choice, too!) but you can also take advantage of this ingredient and choose a liquid with the unique health benefits you’re looking for. In search of electrolytes and a little tropical flavor? Look no further than coconut water. Want a low-calorie, health-fat-rich option? Try delicious almond milk. How ’bout some fat-burning EGCG in your smoothie? Get some with a glass of green tea. Adding a liquid to your green smoothie doesn’t just help it blend easier – it can also add a lovely boost of extra nutrition to the mix. Want to see your options? Check out the list of healthy smoothie liquids. That’s basically it! Just 3 basic steps with which you can make an endless variety of green smoothies. Of course, you can always take things a step further, too. That’s what’s so incredibly awesome about green smoothies! You can virtually add in anything you want! Like a whole array of herbs, a protein powder if you need one, fillers like rolled oats, superfoods for a supercharged health boost, and a huge array of seeds and nuts – whatever you want (and will fit in your blender). What is the Ideal Fruit and Vegetable Ratio for a Green Smoothie? To be honest – this really depends on you and your goals and needs. Any smoothie that’s at least 30% leafy greens is a bona fide green smoothie. Consider this the green smoothie for beginners ratio. When you’re ready, you can up it to a 50-50 ratio. This ‘intermediate’ range is probably what most people are comfortable with – you’re getting tons of leafy greens and the smoothie blends taste phenomenally great. But there are some people who’ll gradually want to push the leafy green ratio up higher – and that’s totally cool, too. These are the hardcore green smoothie ninjas. Even if you’re a green smoothie newbie now, you might get to hardcore ninja status one day (secret: some greens are easier to do this with than others). Tell us if you ever get here – leave it in the comments, at least just to brag 🙂 When Should I Drink My Green Smoothie? The short answer is – pretty much any time you want to. The long answer is – green smoothies are best on an empty stomach and worst to drink after a big meal, especially a meal including meat. This is because green smoothies are entirely comprised of fruits and veggies, which both digest quite quickly (fruit more so than veggies). On an empty stomach, your digestive system can get to work on the green smoothies right away but if you consume a green smoothie after a heavy meal, the fruits and veggies can’t “cut in line” in the digestive process, especially when there’s a big, mean, beefy steak standing in the way. That’s why you might incur indigestion, bloating and gas if you downed a green smoothie after a meal. Try to avoid this and drink the smoothie first thing in the morning when you wake up and before meals (which also means you’ll eat less). Can I Store My Green Smoothie and Drink It Later? Anything fresh and raw is best when it is fresh-est and raw-est, so the best time to drink your green smoothie is straight from the blender. That being said, most of us live busy, busy lives and it’s nice to be able to have a smoothie or two on the go. You can totally store a green smoothie for up to 3 days in the fridge – as long as it doesn’t have yogurt (stick to 1 day max if there’s yogurt – it’ll curdle). Should I Go For Green Smoothies or Green Juice? Oooooh. Good question. I’m going to say both. It’s awesome to add a little, super-concentrated shot of something like wheatgrass juice or mixed-greens juice to a green smoothie so don’t feel like you have to choose one or the other. Both play a useful role. Green smoothies have fiber and fill you up longer, helping you take full advantage of the fiber to eat less and be more “regular.” Green juices have no fiber and allow your body to digest it easily and quickly, giving you an instant dose of nutrients and energy. In short – both are great. Can I Drink Green Smoothies as a Meal Replacement? Totally. Yes. Especially if you add in filling foods like rolled oats and nuts. And you make sure you vary the nutrients you get by blending the whole range of leafy greens and fruits out there. If you’re using green smoothies as a meal replacement – just make sure you’re not ONLY drinking green smoothies ALL the time. Eat some other stuff too – your teeth and jaws can’t go unemployed forever. And up the portions if the green smoothie is meant to replace a meal – give yourself the treat of an extra serving. Or two 😉 Can I Use Frozen Fruits and Vegetables for my Green Smoothies? Fresh is best, but frozen is fine, too. Frozen fruits pose no real problem, as long as your blender can handle them. As for veggies, it’s advised that you buy fresh veggies, cut them up and then freeze them yourself instead of buying frozen veggies from the supermarket. That’s ’cause frozen vegetables are not usually meant to be eaten raw and don’t follow the same safety guidelines. Why is My Green Smoothie So… Gross. If the taste of your green smoothie is really turning you off, it’s probably because you added more leafy greens than your taste buds wanted. Up the fruit factor and try it again. A simple fix is to add a creamifying sweet fruit like banana or mango – sweetens it up immediately! Brown. Fruits oxidize pretty quickly and when they do, they turn brown. Think apple slice when left out for a few minutes. Avocados go brown pretty quickly and they’ll take the whole smoothie with them. For certain fruits – apples, avocados, etc. – try to drink them as soon as possible to avoid this browning phenomenon. A squirt of citrus – vitamin C! – helps slow the oxidation process as well. Chunky. We’ve all been there. The funky, chunky green smoothie. It’s not so pleasant to drink. Thankfully, a banana or yogurt will creamy-it right up! Even an avocado will do the trick. Or add in more healthy liquids (or good old H2O) ’til it gets to a more palatable consistency. 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