Saturday, June 20, 2009

Reason #54: Green Smoothies

Now that the weather is warmer, the last thing I want to have for breakfast is oatmeal, but what else can be as delicious, healthy, and satisfying? Therefore, for the last month I have been experimenting with different breakfast options - sometimes cereal, a banana and peanut butter, cottage cheese and fruit, and lately green smoothies.

Throughout the health blogsphere, "green monsters" have become popularized and glorified. Green smoothies include a mix of fruit, milk, and leafy greens to provide a nutrient-dense drink. Greens pack a powerful nutrient punch with iron, folic acid, fiber, calcium, magnesium, bioflavenoids, carotenoids, and Vitamins A, C, E, and K. I recommend making your smoothies 60% fruit: 40% vegetables. The fruit will therefore dominate the flavor, yet the greens will balance out the sweetness of the fruit. Other add-ins include ground flaxseeds, cinnamon, ginger, garlic (best with citrus), hemp or whey protein powder, or even cayenne pepper.

Aside from being delicious, the smoothies have numerous health benefits:

- Very nutritious and an easy way to get vegetables into your diet.

- Easy to digest. When blended well, most of the cells in the greens and fruits are ruptured, making the valuable nutrients easy for the body to assimilate.

- Green smoothies as oppose to juices still contain fiber

After two-three weeks of experimenting with the smoothies, my favorite recipes are below:

Green Monster (I start most morning off with this concoction)
1 Banana
2 cups of spinach
1/2 cup of raw pumpkin
3 tbsp. hemp protein
3/4 c of almond milk

* When using pumpkin in your smoothies, I suggest getting a large can of raw pumpkin. Fill the ice cube tray with the pumpkin, freeze, break tray into ice "pumpkin" cubes, place cubes into plastic bags and keep in freezer. Add 2-3 cubes to smoothies in the morning.

** Pumpkin and the banana will give the smoothie a thicker consistency which I prefer.

*** If you want a colder drink, freeze the pumpkin and the banana (first unpeel it!) in a plastic bag.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
1 banana
1/2 c of raw pumpkin
3/4 c of almond milk
2 cups of spinach

Strawberry Banana
1 Banana
3 Large Strawberries
2 tbsp vanilla whey protein
3/4 c of almond milk
2 cups of spinach

Yum! Shake
1 banana
3/4 c of unsweetened chocolate almond milk
1 tbsp peanut butter
3 tbsp of hemp protein (Nutiva chocolate flavor)
2 cups of spinach

My advice for starting out on smoothies:

Keep it very simple starting out. Make a smoothie you know you enjoy (banana and strawberries) and add a small handful of spinach or a bit of collards, chard or romaine. Certain greens have a much stronger taste than others. Spinach, bok choy, and collards have a more neutral taste than kale.

I know many people who may "gag" at the thought of drinking the greens, but I have gotten so many of my coworkers hooked! All I ask is to give it a try!

In the past I have used a regular blender, but for my birthday, my parents bought me the "Magic Bullet" to make even more delicious and perfectly portioned smoothies. Please share your favorite recipes or your own personal experience with the "green monster."

1 comment:

  1. Green Smoothies are great! I actually didn't bat an eye when I first heard of the idea, and now I have a hard time thinking of making myself a smoothie that DOESN'T contain greens! Your recipes sound perfect.