Green Smoothies

Hello! I'm laughing a little bit right now at how varied in content my recent posts have been....welcome to my brain :) Today I want to tell you about the glories of green smoothies and why I think you should try them! This is something (like running) that Patrick got me involved in when we met. I was pretty resistant at first but now I'm obviously on board. I'm someone that likes to read about the WHY behind something, so I read The Green Smoothies Diet and learned all about different ingredients, health benefits, and how to get going.

I think there are different levels of green smoothiers. Beginners, Intermediate, and Hard Core. The Beginners smoothies taste very sweet and have lots of fruit. The intermediate has plenty of greens but still leans towards some sweetness, and the hardcore smoothies are green green green and basically taste like grass. I have had some hard core smoothies (think blending up the lemon rind with the lemon because of the nutrients) but generally I think I'm a more intermediate smoothie drinker. I like them to have a little sweetness even though they are packed with nutrients.

How do you build a smoothie? It's easy! I'll show you how and then you can mix and match however you want to make it to your taste:

If you are watching calories, use water as your base. Don't worry, all the fruits and veggies flavor it right up. Other options are almond milk, coconut milk, or coconut water. I also like my smoothie cold and always add a few ice cubes. 1cup of liquid is a good start. If you star blending and it's too thick, add more.

Greens: I usually grab a huge handful of spinach. I like spinach because I can use a lot without really tasting it! You can also use kale or a mix of greens that you like.

Fruit: I love to add berries! Blueberries in particular are really great for you (antioxidants and vitamins!) and I'll grab a handful and throw them in. If you have frozen blueberries you won't need ice, but I love to eat them fresh when I can. Pineapple  is also great. It's a pretty strong flavor and adds a lot of sweetness. Strawberries, cherries, you name it. You like the fruit? Throw it in.

Sweeteners: Bananas! I didn't add this under fruit because one banana will really add a lot of sweetness. 2-3 dates. Dates are amazing. They add a LOT of sweetness. They also pack a lot of calories (140 in two dates) so if counting calories is a concern just make sure you limit it. You really shouldn't need very many anyway! Honey is also great.

Additions: Flax seed is my normal go-to. I love to dump some flax seed in my smoothies for some omega 3s! Avocados are great for healthy fat and longer satiation! Use up to half an avocado in one smoothie. Chia seeds and other seeds or nuts are great to add in also. I like to throw in a tablespoon of almond butter or sunflower seed butter sometimes too!

When you are eating whole foods as a regular lifestyle I don't normally recommend counting calories (because you don't need to!) but just to give you an idea of what a normal smoothie might look like:

2cup of spinach: 14 cal
1cup of blueberries: 85 cal
Water+ice: 0cal
2tbsp flax: 70 cal
1/2 avocado: 120 cal
1banana: 100 cal
Total: 389 cal

Green smoothies are so great because you aren't cooking any of your food which means you are getting 100% of the nutrients in them! A smoothie like this is a great meal replacement. Have it for breakfast or lunch and then have a snack a few hours later. Adding healthy fats really help the smoothie keep you full longer. 

To get more recipes and ingredient suggestions on a regular basis check out Incredible Smoothies on facebook! 

Want to get your greens in but really craving something sweeter? Keep it simple and make a chocolate banana smoothie with water, spinach, a banana, some unsweetened cocoa powder (also good for you!) and dates or honey to sweeten. You can play around with the ingredients as much as you want! Want your dessert smoothie to be creamier? Add some avocado. Want more of a peanut butter taste? Add more of the nut butter. The possibilities are endless - what's YOUR favorite?