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The benefits of green smoothies are real

Maggie Giuffrida is a graduate of The University of Arizona where she earned a degree in journalism. She is a contributing writer for SheKnows, specializing in health and fitness. Maggie is a certified yoga instructor and health and well...

Morning smoothie recipes that trick more vegetables into your diet

There's no better way to start the day than with a green smoothie...

I know what you're thinking... drinking veggies doesn't seem any more appetizing than eating them, but trust me, it can be. All you need are the right ingredients and recipes! (Side note: If you've never put avocado in your smoothie, you're truly missing out.) We called in, none other than, Tess Masters — aka The Blender Girl — to back us up.

"Smoothies make an awesome breakfast," Tess says. "I drink a different green smoothie every day. You can get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables, and you can add energizing superfoods and oils into the mix."

Tess suggests adding ingredients such as ginger, cayenne pepper, leafy greens, green tea, grapefruit and coconut to help kick start the metabolism and burn fat. "I encourage people watching their weight to drink more savory vegetable-based smoothies that are low in natural sugars," she adds.

Now, not all smoothies are created equal. Tess suggests making your own at home — as opposed to buying pre-made packets or paying for one from your local smoothie shop, since it's harder to control what someone else puts in the blender (i.e., artificial sugars and additives).

"Pre-made packaged smoothies are typically HPP devoid of live enzymes and very high in sugar and additives," she says.

However, if you make an at-home one, there are many benefits to slurping down a green smoothie, including an energy boost, an aide in digestion, improved muscle recovery (especially after working out) and lower blood pressure.

"Consuming green smoothies is a good way to get vegetables in your diet," says Joan Salge Blake, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Vegetables are high in potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. If the vegetables are puréed so that the fiber is still intact, they will help fill you up."

So are you ready to give this green smoothie thing a go?

Tastes-like-ice-cream kale shake

Courtesy of Tess Masters via The Blender Girl

"I get about 500 emails about it from people proclaiming it the best smoothie they've ever had," Tess says. "I have to agree. It's epic!"

Morning smoothie recipes that trick more vegetables into your diet
Image: Tiffany Egbert/SheKnows

Serves 2

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked
  • 1 cup torn-up curly green kale leaves (1 or 2 large leaves with stalk removed), plus more to taste
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted dates, soaked, or 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Optional boosters:

  • 1 tablespoon shelled hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Throw all of the ingredients (except the ice cubes) into your blender and puree on high for about 1 minute, until smooth and creamy. Add the ice cubes and blast for 10 to 20 seconds more, until well combined. Tweak flavors to taste (you may like a bit more kale, sweetener or ginger).

Mango-mazing smoothie

OK, I just had to throw my own personal concoction into the mix! I would drink this bad boy every day if Trader Joe's would just step up it's "year-round supply of frozen mango" game!

Morning smoothie recipes that trick more vegetables into your diet
Image: Tiffany Egbert/SheKnows

Serves 1

  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 teaspoon ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3-4 drops liquid stevia

Throw all ingredients into the blender and purée for about 1 minute, or until smooth and creamy. Can add ice for more chill or to thicken slightly. Pour into glass, stick a straw in it and slurp away!

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