Tuesday, January 19, 2016

green smoothie tips for newbies

green smoothie tips for newbies
It's no secret that I'm a fan of green smoothies. Sometimes I feel silly talking about this; then I remember that there are websites dedicated to green smoothie making! Simple Green Smoothies is my favorite green smoothie site. If I have a green smoothie question, I go there for answers. (I read through their post before I bought my new blender. I went with this NutriBullet). If you're on the fence about making yourself green smoothies, I'm here to invite you to this side of the fence. I have some tips!

Green smoothies can help you "eat" those vegetables you don't want to eat
This is the obvious reason to have a green smoothie. I like a good, green salad and other vegetables most of the time, but sometimes I'm not in the mood for them. A green smoothie helps me get my daily, vegetable servings without fighting with my vegetables.

They taste good!
This is where most people need convincing. "If I don't want to eat the salad, why would I want to drink it?" may be what some think. Maybe you've noticed, though, that some greens don't really have a taste or a mild taste- spinach and kale (without the red stem) are good examples. Some greens definitely do (I think so anyway) like lettuce and wheatgrass. I, like many, do not want to taste something "too green." I aim at drowning that taste as much as possible. 

Here are some tips to blending a delicious and healthy smoothie:

Consider your blender options
The one sitting in your kitchen right now will work just fine (assuming you have one! If you don't, a blender is a good investment for your kitchen). Look at your blender's wattage. A high powered blender will blend quickly and well.  A blender with less power will not blend as quickly and may have trouble with fibrous fruits or vegetables. I had an unpleasant smoothie experience because my old blender couldn't blend kale stems very well.

I think the trick to using a blender with less power is to use plenty of liquid. The liquid will help the rest of the fruits/vegetables move. Also- use softer fruits and vegetables like bananas, spinach, and frozen fruits that have been allowed to thaw. Blenders with less power have a hard time blending frozen fruit. I learned that the hard way.

Use ingredients you like 
If you're new to green smoothies, try ingredients you recognize and fairly like first. Kale sounded gross to me at first. I stuck with spinach for a long time before trying kale. Don't put "healthy foods" you haven't tried in your smoothie at first. Chances are if you don't like them alone, you won't like them in your smoothie.

I have 3 go-to green smoothies that I use:
  • This tropical, green smoothie, which includes: 1 cup of coconut milk; 1 c or more of spinach (or kale); 1 banana; 1/2 c of vanilla, Greek yogurt; 1/2 c of frozen pineapple, and 2 tbsp of shredded coconut. This is a recipe I use often.
  • This orange, banana smoothie (I add spinach or kale and omit the strawberries): 1 c of orange juice; 1 c or more of spinach (or kale); 1 frozen banana; and 1/2 c of vanilla, Greek yogurt. I like this smoothie. You mostly taste the orange juice as orange juice tends to have a stronger taste.
  • This simple, green smoothie: 1 c of soy milk (I've also used almond milk and coconut milk); 1 c of more of spinach (or kale); 1 frozen banana; and 1/2 c of vanilla, Greek yogurt. This is a tasty, simple green smoothie.
As you can see my template, green smoothie recipe is: 
  • 1 c of a liquid
  • 1 c of greens
  • 1 protein serving (typically 1/2 c of Greek yogurt)
  • 1 sweet fruit (typically bananas)
  • at least one frozen fruit (for a colder smoothie)
  • maybe more fruits (to enhance flavor)

Consider replacing a meal or snack
Smoothies are delicious and nutritious, but it doesn't mean they don't have calories. They do! I don't have a green smoothie in addition to breakfast, for example. Green smoothies are my breakfast right now. 

Serve your smoothie in an attractive cup
I prefer glass cups over plastic cups, so I always pour my smoothie into a glass jar. A fun straw doesn't hurt either. 

This is an evolving project. The smoothies above are working for me, but I'm considering trying some new recipes. A local place sells a pineapple, coconut, walnut smoothie milkshake. I'd like to make one of my own soon.
green smoothie tips for newbies