You’ve likely seen a friend or coworker with one of these green drinks in hand and wondered why anyone would drink them. But green smoothies are actually a super quick and easy way to get your daily serving of nutrients from leafy greens and fruits.
Benefits of Green Smoothies
Green smoothies are packed with a ton of natural ingredients that help your body in a number of ways! Check out a few of the pros to drinking green smoothies:
- Natural energy boosters: Green smoothies are packed with a ton of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that give your body a powerful boost.
- Tons of antioxidants: With plenty of disease fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients, green smoothies will help boost your immune system and help your body defend itself against disease.
- Clearer skin: It’s amazing what happens when you start eating healthier. Green smoothies help your body rid itself of toxins the right way instead of through your skin. This helps keep your skin healthy and radiant.
- Natural weight loss: No, green smoothies aren’t diet drinks. Instead, they’re a combination of healthy carbs, sugars and other key ingredients. When you replace junk food’s bad carbs and sugars with this healthy combo, your body will naturally start to burn fat faster and easier.
- Good carbs and natural sugars: Sugar and carbs? Typically, those are the two words you’d stay away from. But, there are actually good carbs and sugars that your body needs to function. These are found in natural ingredients like leafy greens and fruits.
- High in fiber: Unlike fruit juices, green smoothies give you a healthy dose of fiber that helps to keep your digestive system running smoothly.
Ready to start making your own smoothies? Check out our tips that are perfect for beginners.
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Don’t Stress—It’s Actually Pretty Simple
A lot of people never attempt green smoothies because the recipes can seem complicated. But the good news is that unless you’re weighing and calculating every little bit that goes into your smoothies, you don’t really need to follow those fancy recipes as closely—or even at all. As long as you have a blender, an open mind and some leafy greens at home, you can likely go ahead and make one without a trip to the store.
Essentially you will need a combination of leafy greens, a liquid base that can range from water to your choice of milk and some ripe fruit for some natural sugar. Once you’ve got those base ingredients together, you can even give your smoothie an extra punch with boosters like chia seeds or coconut oil.
Check out this simple formula to get you started:
- The Green Base: You’ll need about two to three handfuls of your choice of leafy greens. If you’re a beginner, we suggest using spinach to start with as it has a less prominent taste. Kale, collard greens, chard, romaine and green leafy herbs like cilantro, parsley and mint are also great if you’re looking to experiment a little.
- The Liquid: Add about one cup of water, or nut milk to your smoothie. This will help your smoothie get a nice drinkable texture. You can even add liquids like green tea for some extra antioxidants.
- Add Fruit: About a cup of fruit will do the trick for your smoothie. Typically, you’ll want to keep your greens at a double or even triple ratio to the fruit. This boost of antioxidants, texture and flavor will be like the icing on the cake for your smoothie. Otherwise, you might as well just be drinking a salad. Good starter fruits are bananas or avocados. They’ll give your smoothie a nice, creamy texture.
- Nuts, Seeds and Superfoods: Add a tablespoon or two of nuts or seeds like chia or flax seeds. This will make sure you’re getting plenty of nutrients like vitamins A, K, E and D. Note that you’ll want to avoid adding too much nut butter. A little is great to add some flavor and protein, but too much can slow your digestive system.
Green Smoothies Don’t Have to be Green
Green is just another word for healthy, nutritious and plant derived, not the actual color of the drink. Although you’ll find that most of your drinks do in fact take the leafy green color from the spinach, depending on which fruits and veggies you choose to add, your drink may take on shades of browns, reds or oranges. This is perfectly ok.
Trust Us—It’s Not as Bad as it Looks
You don’t judge a book by its cover, right? Well you shouldn’t judge a smoothie by its color either. Despite its earthy hues that may send you and others running for the door, you might find that you actually like the flavor.
Friends and Family May Not Appreciate Your Drink of Choice
If you venture into the world of green smoothies, be prepared for judgment from friends and family. Don’t let that discourage you. Let’s be honest; at face value, that carefully blended and nutritious smoothie you just made does in fact resemble green or brownish goo, but don’t let the judgment of others keep you for drinking your smoothies.
Prepare for a Whole Lot of Trial and Error
You’re entering into a whole new world when you add green smoothies to your diet. With all of the ingredients and nutrition facts, it can even be a bit overwhelming. Keep in mind that you’re going to go through some trial and error before you find your perfect drink or mix.
Now Ditch the Recipes & Get Creative
Once you feel more comfortable making your smoothies, you’ll find less use for following detailed recipes and start adding in your own ingredients. Test out other ideas, like replacing your milk or water with green tea. Or exchange the chia seeds for some flavorful peanut butter or oats. Maybe you’ll even try adding in a pinch of ginger as a helpful metabolism booster. The possibilities are endless.
Do you love green smoothies? Share your favorite combos with us in the comments.
Get more information about specific health terms, topics and conditions to better manage your health on bcbst.com. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee members can access wellness-related discounts on fitness products, gym memberships, healthy eating and more through Blue365®. BCBST members can also find tools and resources to help improve health and well-being by logging into BlueAccess and going to the Managing Your Health tab.