Happy New Year everybody! It’s 2016!
“New year, new me. Time to get my life together. This year is my year! Time to get into shape! Time to eat healthy and really take care of my body.” If you’ve said any of these phrases in the past few days then I believe you really want to be focused this year and become a better person and that is absolutely fantastic! It’s important to take care of yourself and your body and it all starts from within which is why today we will be talking about one of the healthiest smoothies out there, green smoothies.
Let’s talk about it.
*DISCLAIMER* This post is long, but informative, but long. You have been warned. Proceed with caution.
Green smoothies are the kings of smoothies. They are so incredibly healthy full of vitamins and minerals that will leave you feeling and looking fabulous. They get most of their green colour from the spinach or kale or whatever leafy green vegetable you choose and we all know how healthy those are. Kale has an insane amount of vitamins C and A. Vitamin C is great for healthy looking skin and hair, helps with the body’s healing processes, and is important for the absorption of iron into the bloodstream which is important for the transportation of oxygen in the body. Vitamin A is important for eyesight and general eye health. Spinach has a tonne of vitamin K which helps with blood clotting and promotes bone health and development. Both greens are a great source of iron for people with a vegan or vegetarian diet and have a tremendous amount of antioxidants that help prevent cell degeneration. These greens are best eaten raw to obtain the maximum vitamins and minerals from them. Look at the many incredible health benefits that come from just one component of green smoothies. We haven’t even gotten to the other ingredients like bananas for a fantastic source of energy, fruit with a multitude of various vitamins, avocados with healthy, heart friendly fats, and chia and hemp seeds full of fibre and protein. This is why green smoothies are the kings of the smoothie world!
I’m not even going to lie to you, for a long time I was afraid of green smoothies. Their bright green colour looked like they would probably taste like grass or something weird and green that shouldn’t be eaten so I avoided it as best I could until I couldn’t anymore. I saw green smoothies everywhere. And I figured people wouldn’t drink something that tastes horrible no matter how healthy it is so I figured it wasn’t that bad and I decided to make one for myself and… it was horrible. But that was because I didn’t actually know what I was doing. I wasn’t scarred by the terrible experience because I knew I did something wrong, green smoothies weren’t supposed to be so thick and grey. So I did my research and found out how to make them. Guys, green smoothies need not be feared. They are incredibly easy, fun to make and delicious but there are a few things you have to remember before you get started.
1. Choose your fruit wisely
If you plan to put a whole bunch of fruit in your green smoothie (which I highly recommend because they’re so delicious) choose your fruit wisely. You have to either choose other green fruit like apples or kiwis or light yellow or orange fruit like bananas,peaches, yellow plums, nectarines, mangoes, and pineapples. If you use fruit that can stain easily like berries, then it will discolour your smoothie and you’ll end up with a foul, completely unappealing smoothie and if your food does not look good you’re more reluctant to eat it. It’s also a good idea to choose sweet fruit so that your smoothie will naturally taste deliciously sweet without needing to add extra sugar. You can use fresh or frozen fruit. I prefer frozen fruit because they give the smoothies a great consistency and keep them cold and refreshing. Freezing your own fruit is so easy. If you know you’re going to be making a smoothie, grab your fruit, chop them up and place them on a baking sheet making sure they aren’t touching each other and place in the freezer for a few hours. Once they’re completely frozen you can transfer them to a ziploc bag and keep them in the freezer so you always have frozen fruit handy for a smoothie. A top tip is to buy fresh fruit in bulk when they are in season and freeze them so that you have lovely fresh summer fruit all year long and you can make delicious fruity smoothies whenever you want even in the middle of winter.
2. Use sweetener sparingly
If you find that your smoothie isn’t sweet enough despite all that fruit, I suggest you use even more fruit to make it sweeter. I’m talking about dates. Blending a few dates into your smoothie can instantly sweeten it in the healthiest way and will leave your smoothie refined sugar free and will add an extra bit of fibre into your drink. If you do not like the idea of adding dates to your smoothie (even though they don’t alter the taste whatsoever apart from making it sweeter) you can add a little bit of honey. For a vegan alternative to honey you could use maple syrup or agave and for a sugarless alternative you could use stevia. It’s all up to what you want but do remember to add the sweetener bit by bit tasting in between to make sure you add the perfect amount and not too much because it’s almost impossible to reverse the effect of too much sweetness.
3. Kick it up a notch
To take your smoothies to the next level add some extra healthy punches of goodness like a tablespoon or two of any type of seeds you like such as chia seeds, hemp seeds or linseed (flax seed). These seeds are full of protein and fibre that will make the smoothie filling and keep you fuller for longer. You could also add peanut butter or any neutral or complimentary flavoured protein powder that won’t alter the taste of your smoothie negatively for another protein alternative. A tablespoon of rolled oats would also be a great add in packed with fibre which will provide long lasting fullness and a controlled slow release of energy into the body. Matcha powder would add great flavour to your smoothies and will boost your metabolism so if weight loss is a resolution for you for this year, Matcha powder is the one for you. Add about a tablespoon of Matcha powder to your smoothie and make it extra green! Be careful not to add more than about 2 tablespoons of any of these because if you add too much it may ruin the taste and texture of your smoothie.
4. Ice ice baby
It’s best to use frozen fruit for your smoothie as it will make the smoothie thick, creamy, cool, and refreshing but if you don’t have frozen fruit you can use ice blocks instead and get the same result. When using frozen fruit instead of fresh or adding ice be careful to add your liquids slowly because the consistency will be different depending on whether you use fresh or frozen fruit. If you use frozen fruit you will need more liquid and with fresh fruit you will need less. Keep that in mind.
Liquids are very important in smoothie making. They determine the consistency of a smoothie. Add too little liquid and your smoothie will be terribly thick. Add too much liquid and your smoothie will be as runny and as thin as water. The amount of liquids you use is entirely up to your consistency preference but can usually range between 1/2 a cup to 1 cup. The type of liquid you use is also entirely up to you. You could use milk, coconut milk, almond milk, water, fruit/vegetable juice or even a mixture of yogurt and milk. The options are endless and are absolutely up to whatever dietary needs you have, whatever you feel like or whatever you have on hand at the time.
Now that you know these tips and tricks to making great green smoothies (and smoothies in general) all you need now are the recipes. I’m coming at you with two different smoothie recipes because I love you all that much. The first recipe is perfect for people new to the whole green smoothie movement. It’s sweet and light and beautifully simple. The second recipe is more filling and full of ingredients that you might find weird to blend up into a smoothie (like avocados) but still quit magical. This recipe is for people ready to take green smoothies to the next level. But both smoothies are easy and delicious.
Recipe no. 1
Like I said, this recipe is for people new to the green smoothie business. It’s simple, sweet and not at all overwhelming with “weird” ingredients that you wouldn’t think to put in a smoothie. The only thing you need to remember with this recipe is the 1:2 ratio. That is 1 part spinach (or whatever leafy green) to 2 parts fruit. So if you use one cup of spinach then you use two cups of fruit. You can use any type of cup or mug you want as long as you use the same one for the leafy greens and the fruit. Follow this ratio and you are guaranteed a perfectly balanced, sweet, tasty smoothie.
- 1 cup spinach (or leafy green of choice)
- 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen light coloured or green fruit
- 1/2 to 1 cup almond milk (or whatever liquid you prefer)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- sweetener of choice (optional)
- ice (optional)
- Chuck the spinach, fruit, seeds, and half of the almond milk in a blender and blend till smooth. Add more milk or ice for preferred consistency. Once completely blended, taste the smoothie and adjust the sweetness to your preference.
Serves 1-2 people depending on the size of the cup you use
Recipe no. 2
This recipe is much thicker, filling and a little less sweet than the first. This is due to the avocado which makes the smoothie much creamier and thicker. You may need to add more liquid to get it to a nice drinking consistency. This green smoothie can easily and perfectly be turned into a smoothie bowl because of it’s great thickness.
- 1 cup spinach (or leafy green of choice)
- 1/2 avocado chopped
- 2 small bananas or 1 big banana chopped
- 1 apple (you can use any type but I think Golden Delicious is the best) chopped and cored
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp matcha powder (optional)
- a couple of dates or 1-2 tbsp honey (or whatever sweetener you choose)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups almond milk (or liquid of choice)
- ice (optional)
- Place the spinach, avocado, apple, banana, seeds, matcha powder, and half of the milk in a blender and blend till smooth. Add more milk or ice for your preferred consistency. You may find that the banana sweetens the smoothie enough for you. Taste the smoothie before you decide to add any sweetener. Add sweetener of choice and blend until smooth.
Serves 1-2 people
No that you know all that you can about making the bestest, healthiest smoothies in the entire universe there’s nothing stopping you from being the best you you can be in 2016. I wish you the most fantastic, kick-ass, prosperous year yet!