The best greens for smoothies
When I’m short on time in the kitchen, and who isn’t, I rely on delicious, fiber-filled smoothies that are a satisfying meal, balancing my blood sugar and providing me with long-lasting energy. These green smoothies save the day for me, and so easy to prepare – just toss the plant-fueled goodness into a blender and mix! That’s it. Plus, we all know that fiber is our BFF and sweeps the junk right out of our bodies, making sure everything runs on schedule every day! Before I talk about the best greens for smoothies, it’s important to know that all you need to be a smoothie notable is a blending machine and some nourishing, delicious recipes. Oh, and some common blending sense.
When I first started blending, I came up with some gag-worthy combinations, thinking that as long as they were vegetables, they would all go together. I’m here to tell you that’s not exactly true. It took a long time and experimentation before I felt comfortable whipping up a delicious smoothie without a thought.
Filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, green smoothies are an invigorating way to start the day, as a meal substitute, as an afternoon pick-me-up, or a post-workout blast of nutrition.
Boasting an impressive nutritional profile, swiss chard is rich in vitamins A, C, K, iron, potassium and magnesium. This beautiful green leaf works wonders for lung, bone and heart health, and the phytonutrients are good at stabilizing blood sugar. Swiss chard has a very mild flavor, almost like spinach. But it does have an earthy, slightly bitter flavor.
The delicate leaves make it top banana for blending seamlessly into any smoothie. Personally, I love to blend with pineapple, citrus or berries.
There are more than 20 different nutrients in ONE leaf of spinach! Rich in potassium, protein, calcium, iron, niacin and vitamins A, C, B, and B-12, spinach is one of the most popular smoothie miracle greens. It gives your skin a gorgeous glow, lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity and acts as an anti-inflammatory. As if that’s not enough, it fights cancer, and improves vision and heart health. I guess Popeye was onto something!
Spinach is very mild, especially baby spinach, and that makes is a great go-to for smoothie success. My favorite combos include apples, pears, and strawberries, all fruits that are low in sugar.
*Just a note that spinach is on the dirty dozen list, so be sure to always buy organic.
Did anyone know that collard greens are a cruciferous vegetable? Related to cabbage, kale and brocolli? The very thick leaves are full of vitamins A, C, and K, and collard greens have cleansing benefits as well as providing your body with healthy doses of fiber.
Collard greens are more bitter than spinach, but not as bitter as kale. Since the leaves are very sturdy, it’s best to use a high -powered blender, like this Vitamix that I cannot live without. Nothing worse than bits and pieces of veggies that have to be chewed.
Flavorful, delicious fruits such as mango, peaches, or banana, usually offset any bitterness that the collard greens may infuse into your smoothie.
Out of all the greens I have used in smoothies, beet greens are my favorite, hands down. They come from beets, a powerful root vegetable, and the long, deep green (and red) leaves are soft, mellow and easily blendable. A great way to cut down on waste, beet greens are loaded with vitamins A, C and K, and promote heart and eye health, skin, blood and bones.
They are similar to swiss chard and spinach in their gentle flavor, and blend well with any sweet fruit. They aren’t bitter so there’s no need to hide the flavor. My favorite blends include peaches, apples, pears and figs!
If you haven’t fallen for the delicious greenery that we all learn to love, get on board, because kale supplies your body with beta carotene, vitamin C, K, calcium, fiber and is full of antioxidants and phytonutrients. The benefits of kale are more readily available when kale is blended. This powerhouse of the greens, kale is cleansing, immunity boosting, hearth healthy and makes a very tasty smoothie.
Kale has a semi-bitter flavor, earthy, green, and fresh. You may want to start with baby kale which is mellower, and then work your way up from there, to lacinato kale and curly kale. Once you’ve mastered all 3 types, you’ll be a fan for life.
I enjoy kale blended with mangos, bananas, berries, and strawberries.
Check out this great video with Dr. Greger, author of How Not to Die, and watch his smoothie magic!
If you are wondering which blender you should use for the best results, I am a huge fan of the Vitamix, and I encourage you to check it out here. It is the cadillac of blenders and can whirr even the toughest of stems into smoothie success. It’s a bit on the pricey side, so you may want to check out the NutriBullet 12-piece high speed blender as an alternative. A bit smaller, though, but absolutely does the trick, with mixing jars that travel with you, which is so convenient.
A smoothie a day can help you get your daily requirements of healthy proteins, fats, fiber and nutrients! As you can see, there are endless combinations of green goodness, but for starters, keep it simple, and use this as a guide on how to use the best greens for smoothies! Let me know which combinations you’ve tried!