Recently I polled my Instagram followers and one of the things you want most from me is tips on making healthy eating EASIER. One of my #1 tips that has helped me create a healthy lifestyle for myself is routine. When you take the decision making out and do things our of habit or routine, we’re more likely to make consistent healthy choices.
Almost every morning throughout my life since I was about 16, I’ve had a green smoothie with breakfast (minus a couple breaks like when I was missionary in Paraguay, and a couple years in college). I don’t think about it, I just do it. I don’t love it. Honestly, I don’t. I can’t really say I even like green smoothies. My husband will be the first to tell you that sometimes I just can’t drink all of mine and he has to finish it, or I’ll finish it at lunch time.
Although they don’t have to taste bad, green smoothies aren’t known for being the most delicious smoothie. However, nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!
Even though I don’t like the taste, you can’t beat the ease of eating 3-5 servings of fruits and leafy greens before 8 a.m. every day. I think I have green smoothies to credit for my strong immune system, perfect digestion, and effortlessly maintaining a healthy weight.
Here are some of the health benefits of green smoothies:
- -They are chock full of fiber, which keeps your blood sugar regulated for hours, and prevents the urge to snack.
- The fiber from greens and fruit is also excellent food for the good bacteria in your gut. The more diversity of plants you eat, the better your gut microbiome will be.
- The antioxidants in leafy greens and berries are anti-aging. They protect you from cognitive decline (meaning they keep your brain sharp).
- Numerous studies have shown that increased consumption of leafy greens leads to a much lower chance of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and cancer, just to name a few!
- High amounts of folate, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and iron keep your red blood cell production strong and immune system functioning well.
- ….and SO much more! Give green smoothies a try and see if you don’t have more energy, clearer skin, feel fewer cravings, and be your healthiest weight. I believe green smoothies will improve just about whatever ails you!
So, how do you get started with this life-changing habit? How can you be sure you won’t spend lots of money on healthy ingredients only to gag and pour your money down the drain?
Here are some tips from my experience for those who are a little nervous to drink something so green. This is written with the pickiest eater in mind!
- Start with a very small amount of greens, and use spinach only. Spinach is a mild green, it does not have a strong flavor like kale and chard. Use just a small handful and your smoothie will just taste like a fruit smoothie and have a greenish tinge.
- Invest in a high-speed blender if you’re a texture person. If you can’t stand little pieces of leaf in your smoothie, either blend it for a loooooong time, or get a high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec and it will silky smooth!
- Use apple juice or orange juice as the liquid in the beginning. I learned from Jamba Juice that apple juice is very good at masking the flavor of greens. You could freeze some apple juice in ice cube trays and put a few in every smoothie. I know juice is not a whole food, but a scoop of orange juice concentrate makes it SO yummy that I find myself using it more often than not.
- Use a little bit of fresh ginger root, if you don’t mind that flavor. Ginger also masks the taste of greens and gives it a little zippy fire that makes you feel like you’re doing something really healthy! You are! Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
- Buy frozen fruit and greens at Costco or Sams Club, if possible, and always keep your freezer stocked. Buy large bags of fruit and greens is much cheaper than small bags. When your greens get close to their “best by” date, put the bag in the freezer. This way, you’ll always have fruits and vegetables in your diet even if you run out of fresh produce during the week.
- Use the fruits you love the most. If you hate bananas, use an apple or an avocado instead. If you love mangoes, put them in every smoothie. Do whatever it takes to help you start this habit and keep it going. Since I am well-established in this habit, I use the cheapest fruit, or whatever I haven’t used in a while to keep a variety.
- Check out www.simplegreensmoothies.com. She has some great videos and recipes for beginners!
- Eat a normal breakfast with your smoothie. If you replace your meal with a green smoothie you will likely go back to your yummy toast or cereal. Smoothies are not very many calories if they are pure fruits and veg, so I find that I get hungry quickly if I don’t eat something else. My husband and I always drink our smoothies then eat our oatmeal or whatever we’re eating that day.
This is the method I use every day for our green smoothies. There is no wrong or right way, so find your favorite combinations! My smoothie tastes different every day.
A basic recipe for a green smoothie that can be adapted to your preferences.
- 1 banana, fresh or frozen
- 1-2 cups frozen fruit (mangoes, pineapple, cherries, berries are good ones) or an apple Use more fruit at first, gradually start using less fruit and more greens.
- 2 large handfuls spinach or mixed power greens like kale and swiss chard
- 1 thumb-sized nub fresh ginger root
- 2 cups water or mix of apple juice and water
- 1 tbsp ground flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds (if desired, it does make it really thick)
Blend all together.
If your blender is not very strong, blend greens and water first, then add fruit for optimum smoothness.
Pour into two large glasses and drink up!