Recipe: Three Green Smoothies

Post by Olivia Martino, Registered Dietitian and Co-owner, Nourish Northwest

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One of the most common questions we get asked is whether juices or smoothies are better.  Our answer is that either one can be a healthy choice!  On the flip side, it can be easy to turn a juice or a smoothie into something less healthy.   While juices are a way to get a megadose of nutrients quickly into your bloodstream, they often simultaneously deliver a huge load of sugar. If you choose to juice, try to go for juices that are higher in veggies than fruit.  In general, we recommend a 3:1 ratio.

A smoothie contains the fibrous part of the plant, which helps to minimize the overall impact on blood sugar.  You can also add a source of fat and protein to a smoothie which creates a much more balanced beverage, but you want to make sure you don’t overdo it.  Since the ingredients in a smoothie get pulverized down, it can be easy to add too may ingredients, creating an extremely calorically dense drink.  When making a smoothie, I like to ask myself, would I eat all this food at once in a whole form?  I typically wouldn’t eat a banana, 1 cup of berries, 1 cup of mangoes, an apple, a glass of coconut milk and a couple tablespoons of peanut butter and some honey in one sitting.   However, one serving of fruit, 1-2 servings of vegetables and one source of protein/fat, such as an avocado, nut butter or hemp seeds would be totally appropriate.  I find that added sweeteners are unnecessary when creating a smoothie and I like to lean toward low sugar, lighter fluids, such as coconut water or hemp milk to get the blender moving.

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As whole food dietitians, we tend to recommend the smoothie over the juice.  Using all the parts of the plant not only provides you with all of the nutrients nature intended, helps to keep your blood sugar stable and your appetite satiated, but also minimizes waste.  If you have ever cleaned a juicer, you know what I mean!

So, do you need a Vitamix to make a smoothie?  NO! Do you/I wish you/I had one? YES!!!!  Any blender, immersion blender or even a food processor can make a smoothie.  It may not be as silky smooth as if made in a Vitamix but if will work!  You may just want to modify some ingredients to be easier to blend.  For example, when making a green smoothie that calls for kale with my immersion blender I will usually substitute spinach. Fresh fruit is lot easier to handle than frozen.

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A few final random smoothie tips:

  • Use an avocado, frozen banana or yogurt for creaminess
  • Experiment with different spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom
  • Add fresh herbs for a flavor punch.  Mint, parsley and basil work wonderfully
  • Use nuts/seeds for your protein source.  Hemp seeds are great and add a healthy dose of protein.  Cashews are wonderful, too and can enhance the creaminess
  • Unsweetened cacao or cocoa powder can be a great addition if you are craving a chocolatey treat (banana, cacao powder, light coconut milk and a Tbsp almond butter=YUMMMMMMMM)
  • Be creative!  Experiment and think outside the box!  You definitely don’t need to follow a recipe to make a smoothie!

 

Below are three yummy recipes for green smoothies. For some reason, something about drinking a green smoothie just sets you on track for a healthy day!  To taste some more of my delicious smoothie creations, register for our Yoga and Smoothies for the Summer Solstice Series, starting June 12th! It’s the best way to spend a Sunday!  More info on the calendar, here.

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Good Morning Green

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 large handful of fresh spinach (or ¼ cup frozen, chopped)

1 frozen peeled banana, cut into several pieces

1 cup unsweetened coconut water

1 tablespoon almond butter

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Preparation

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until completely uniform in color and all the bits of green are pulverized. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

Creamy Green

Makes two 10 oz glasses

 Ingredients

1/4 cup organic raw cashews

1/2 cup water

1/2 avocado pitted and scooped out

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 pitted medjool date, chopped

1 frozen banana

1 large handful of raw kale or chard, torn into pieces

Pinch of salt

¼- ½ cup coconut water

Preparation

  1. Blend the cashews and water for 1-2 minutes to make cashew milk.
  2. Add in the other ingredients, except coconut water, and blend until rich and creamy.
  3. Blend in coconut water to desired consistency.

 

Tropical Leprechaun

Serves 1

Ingredients

½ cup coconut water

½ frozen pineapple cubes

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

¼ cup plain yogurt

1 Tbs unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

 

Preparation

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until completely uniform in color and all the bits of green are pulverized. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

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