There are two things that almost all health gurus seem to agree that we should do: get more sleep and eat more green veggies. In fact, statistically, these are two things most of us are pretty bad at! I confess, I’m still seriously lacking in the sleep department (thank you sweet teething baby) but I have been making a conscious effort to eat (and drink) my greens.
In fact, when my friend Heather mentioned that she craves greens for a few weeks each spring, I realized that I often did too … but that I hadn’t really paid attention because that is often when our farmers have an abundance of leafy greens, so I was already getting plenty.
Green Smoothies vs. Green Juice
There are two schools of thought when it comes to drinking greens. One advocates green juices, saying that you can consume much more of the nutrients in the form of juice than you can by eating the veggies. This is true, but as green smoothie advocates explain, juices of any kind without the fiber that is naturally present in the fruits and veggies can spike blood sugar. Green smoothies solve this problem by combining the two.
Personally, I’ve always been more of a green smoothie fan, since they seem less wasteful and fruits and veggies naturally contain fiber for a reason. At the end of the day, green juice and green smoothies are both an upgrade from the processed snacks and drinks like soda that many people consume, so veggie on! (And eat some salads too!)
Fruit & Veggie Ratios
I’ve noticed that many green smoothie recipes contain more fruit that vegetables. There’s certainly nothing wrong with fruit (and my recipe contains some) but most of us are already getting plenty of sugar, even from natural sources like sugar and fruit.
I try to always have a 2:1 veggie to fruit ratio in recipes and add a little liquid stevia if needed for sweetness. I usually don’t need the extra sweetness though, especially with the fruit. For a lower carb option, omit the fruit and use a natural sweetener instead.
Getting Enough Greens
It’s always easy to get enough greens in early spring when local markets have an abundance of them. We drink green smoothies often but also make sure to eat lots of salads and cooked green veggies. We usually try to work in green smoothies with breakfast (or for breakfast). Salads are our go-to lunch, topped with healthy proteins like chicken salad, or grilled meats or fish. Dinner is a great time to get cooked veggies in soups or as a side.
The recipe below is one of my favorites, but there are whole books dedicated to green smoothies if you want more ideas.
- 2 cups water (or coconut or almond milk for a more creamy smoothie)
- 1 cucumber, roughly chopped
- Juice of two limes
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 2 kiwi, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder (optional)
- ½ fresh avocado, skin removed
- ½ cup frozen pineapple (or fresh and some ice cubes)
- 1 scoop Spring of Life greens powder (optional, but adds a lot of extra nutrients)
- 1 scoop collagen powder (optional)
- Place water (or milk), spinach, and cucumber in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Add other ingredients. Blend on high again until completely smooth.
- Serve immediately and enjoy! 🙂
Healthier Smoothie Variations & Adaptions
Like any smoothie, this recipe is endlessly versatile. Here are some variations to try:
- Gorilla Green Smoothie – This green smoothie variation (and other 5 other healthy smoothie recipes) are in my Wellness Mama Cookbook.
- More Protein – Add a protein powder or collagen powder.
- Up the Healthy Fats – Want to add more healthy fats? This is especially helpful for satiating kids who are always hungry. Use coconut milk for the base instead of water and add a couple tablespoons of coconut oil.
- Lower Carb – Omit the fruit and use a couple drops of liquid stevia instead. You can also use berries in place of the pineapple and kiwi. These are lower carb, but they will change the color.
Want an All Veggie Smoothie?
If you’re looking for my original green smoothie recipe that was all veggie, here it is. Please note that this recipe is not for the feint of heart!
In the blender, combine:
- one small tomato
- 1/4 of a cucumber
- one bell pepper
- one jalapeño
- 1/4 of an onion
- 1-2 cloves of raw garlic
- 1-2 stalks of celery
- 3-4 big handfulls of greens of choice
- 1 tsp kelp
- 2 tsp spirulina
- 2 cups water
- handful of ice cubes
I make my smoothies in our Vita Mix, so quantities might need to be adjusted if you have a smaller sized blender. If you don’t have all the ingredients, use what you do have and add any vegetables that can be eaten raw. As one reader recommended, I have also started adding turmeric, as this gives additional health benefits.
Blend ingredients until smooth. Smoothie will be thick. I find the easiest way to drink is like one would do weights at the gym, in sets. I take 5 gulps, chase with water and repeat. If you don’t handle spicy foods well, omit the jalapeño!
Ever tried a veggie green smoothie like this? What is your favorite type of healthy smoothie? Share below!