It's no secret that I love green smoothies. I have one every weekday morning for breakfast because I think they're a great way to pack some good nutrients into your diet while still tasting great and feeling like an indulgence. I'm not the only one who loves green smoothies though - there are tons of websites and books out there dedicated to nothing but green smoothies. One of my most popular blog posts over on my blog is my Green Smoothies and Juicing: Good or Bad? post, which has 2,766 views as of writing this. Green smoothies are definitely gaining in popularity!
I often get asked, "What do you put in your smoothie?" I don't have a definitive answer for that because my smoothies vary from day to day. I do, however, have a basic smoothie formula that I use to create all my favorite smoothies and I would be more than happy to share it with you.
1. Leafy Greens. When making a green smoothie the greens are definitely the most important ingredient. The green that I use the most often is spinach because I can get a huge 2.5 lb bag for $4 at Costco, but it's important to change things up. Different greens have different nutrients in them and you want to make sure you're getting a wide array of vitamins. Other great choices are kale, collard greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, or basically any leafy green you can get your hands one. Ice burg lettuce does not count!
2. Creamy Fruit. There are really just two options here: banana and avocado. I honestly love them both and don't think that one is any better than the other. I always add either one whole banana or 1/2 an avocado. The banana is more traditional and adds a little extra sweetness to the smoothie, which can be nice, but the avocado helps to cut down on the sugar and increase the healthy fat. Try them each and see what you think.
3. Frozen Fruit. I always use frozen fruit so that I get a nice cold smoothie without having to add ice to the blender. This will also add sweetness to your smoothie. Most of the time I buy bags of frozen fruit from Costco because I can get a really good deal but sometimes I'll buy fresh fruit and cut/freeze it myself. I always have frozen bananas on hand (peel, slice, freeze) and sometimes I'll cut and freeze watermelon, cantaloupe, or pineapple. Those certainly aren't the only fruits you can freeze yourself - if it's on sale then take advantage of it!
4. Other veggies. Leafy greens are essential to make a green smoothie but if you're serious about making a kick-ass healthy drink then you shouldn't limit yourself. I always add a few more veggies to my smoothie, most often carrots and broccoli. It doesn't have to be a lot, you can be the judge of how much you add based on the size of the smoothie that you're making. I've also added beets, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, cucumber, frozen asparagus... whatever I have on hand.
5. Liquid. I almost always use water in my smoothies but occasionally I will use almond milk or another nut milk. Any non-dairy milk will do if you don't want to use water.
6. Super-foods. These are definitely optional and you don't have to put every single super-food you've ever heard of into each smoothie you make. I have a handful I keep on hand and I rotate through them, choosing just a few per smoothie. Sometimes I don't use any at all.
Here are the ones I have at home and how much of each one I add to my smoothies:
- Flaxseed - 1 tbsp (I do actually use this one every single time)
- Chlorella powder - 1 tsp
- Spirulina powder - 1-2 tsp
- Maca powder - 1 tsp
- Ceylon cinnamon - 1/2 to 1 tsp
- Acai powder - 2 tsp
- Amla powder - 1 tsp
- Chia seeds - 1 tbsp
- Plant-based protein powder - 1 tbsp to 1/4 cup
7. Extra sweetener. Once I make my smoothie I always stick a straw in before I pour it to see how it tastes. If I think I want it a little sweeter then I'll add something for additional sweetness. I usually add Stevia but sometimes I'll use honey, agave, or more fruit. You can use any sweetener that you'd like but the two I highly recommend are stevia (all natural, no calories, doesn't affect your blood sugar) or more fruit (so you get more vitamins and fiber). When buying stevia make sure you buy one that only lists stevia extract in the ingredients!
I always make a really big smoothie and pour some into a 24 oz to-go cup with a straw (like the one pictured above) and if there's still more in the blender then I pour the rest into cleaned out spaghetti jar so it can sit in an air-tight container in the fridge until I'm ready to drink it. I'll drink 24 oz on my way to work as breakfast and the rest for a snack later in the day. The final measurement of most of my smoothies tends to be 5-6 cups based on the measurements on the side of my Vitamix.
Now that you know what to put in your smoothie I think it's important to talk about how to put it all together. The order in which you add your ingredients is actually important.How to Put it All Together
- Super-foods and other powders - putting them in first ensures that they don't stick to the side of the blender later.
- LIquids - essential to mix things up and get the blender moving.
- Leafy greens - I fill up my blender until I don't have room for anything else.
- BLEND - to make room for my other ingredients.
- Soft fruits - it's best to add softer ingredients first and harder ingredients last.
- Other veggies - see above explanation.
- Taste - add additional sweeteners if necessary and reblend.
I hope that gives you all a starting point for making your own smoothies. Next week I'm going to share a post with my favorite smoothie recipes that I make, complete with nutrition facts!
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