Now that I’ve convinced you of the power of green smoothies, it’s time to learn how to actually make them! The first green smoothie you make can be overwhelming given all the options, but here I’ve laid it out, step-by-step, to make it easy for you:
Step 1 – Choose your Liquid Base
Liquid is necessary for helping your blender to mix the ingredients and not adding enough liquid might make the smoothie too thick.
What Liquids to Use
Filtered Water: An easy and inexpensive choice that does not affect the flavour of the fruits.
Coconut Water: If you want to give your smoothie a tropical tone, use young, Thai coconut water straight from the coconut itself. You can find young coconuts at Asian markets or at certain health food stores. Coconut water is divine with tropical fruit like pineapple, banana, mango, papaya and oranges.
Fruit Juices: I don’t recommend using commercial fruit juice in your green smoothie because commercial juices are not fresh. They have also been pasteurized which has exposed them to heat and therefore reduced the vitamin content and enzymes that are normally found in the whole fruit or freshly squeezed juice that you make at home. Instead, use your own, fresh squeezed fruit juice. Oranges, grapefruit and other juicing fruits are perfect.
Milks: My personal philosophy is to avoid animal milk as a liquid. The reasoning is that green smoothies are the perfect detox food, and dairy products interfere with that. If you are tempted to add milk in order to boost the calcium content, remember that many fruits and vegetables, especially greens, are rich in calcium. It’s actually quite easy to make a smoothie with more calcium than a glass of milk!
*If you do want to use milk as a liquid, I recommend trying plant-based milks made from hemp, almond, oat or rice for your green smoothie. You can find certain brands that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. I personally do not use soy milk due to the health controversy surrounding soy products, but that’s another option if you choose.
Step 2 – Choose Your “Base” Fruit
Base fruits give your green smoothie that creamy smoothie texture. Otherwise, it’ll be too runny or you’ll end up with pulpy fruit juice (like if you blended oranges and grapes together).
For a perfect, smooth texture, use “creamy” fruits like banana, mango, peach, pear, apple, papaya and kiwi.
Avoid water-rich fruits like watermelon, grapes and oranges (you can use them in a smoothie, but not as your “base fruit”).
If you want to make a smoothie using more than one fruit, like a banana and strawberry, then use slightly more banana than you would strawberry. For example, two bananas to one cup strawberry would provide a nice flavour combo while preserving the smoothie texture.
Avocado and coconut meat can also help thicken your smoothie while adding more calories and healthy fat for a meal-replacement shake
Greens will help thicken a smoothie as well, so the more greens you add, the less base fruit you will need.
Step 3 – Choose your Flavor
Flavor fruits are optional, and are used to enhance the flavor of your green smoothies as well as boost the overall nutrition. I like to use berries, citrus fruits, passionfruit and pineapple.
Get ideas by looking at the juice or yogurt aisle in your local supermarket. I’ve even gotten smoothie ideas while looking at scented candles. A wonderfully fragranced peach-ginger or a citrus-cilantro candle stirs up curiosity and ideas for new smoothies to try.
Use your taste buds as a guide and don’t be afraid to let your whimsical side shine when you’re at your blender.
My favourite flavor combos are:
Banana (base fruit) with strawberry
Mango (base fruit) with pineapple
Mango (base fruit) with passionfruit
Pear (base fruit) with orange
Apple (base fruit) with blueberry
You can get creative with your smoothies by flavoring them with vanilla bean, clove, cinnamon or even cayenne pepper (great with chocolaty smoothies made with raw cacao). Flavored protein powders will also change the overall smoothie flavor so keep this in mind when mixing fruit.
***Now would be a good time to blend your fruit and liquid together. Just hit the “Blend” button on your blender until the ingredients are lightly mixed into“sludge”. Doing this before adding the greens will make it easier for you and your blender.
Step 4 – Choose Your Greens
Greens are essential because they play a vital role in overall nutrition and should make up a significant portion of your diet in order to achieve optimum health.
I started off with fresh baby spinach and now use primarily kale, silver beet and parsley.
The recommended percentage of greens to use in a green smoothie is 40% greens to 60% fruit. You can start at a lower percentage and work your way up as you get used to it and even boost your greens beyond to 50, 60 or 70%. I personally use 70% greens and 30% fruit. MAKE SURE YOU SWITCH YOUR GREENS OFTEN…your body needs a variety of greens, otherwise it will become overloaded with oxalates which are primarily found in spinach.
For reference, here’s a quick chart of the best greens and fruit for your green smoothie!
Step 5 – Hit Blend!
Blend with loving thoughts and positive energy on high for anywhere from 30-60 seconds. Your super boost green smoothie is ready once it is whirling away, turns bright (or dark) green and is as smooth as silk!
Step 6 – Optional Smoothie Additives
Your green smoothie is nutritious enough on its own. But if you really want to go all out for a healthy kick, you can use your smoothie to deliver extra protein, vitamins and super foods to your diet.
Protein Powders: Your options for protein powders are numerous. Hemp protein is an excellent, quality protein choice. It’s more expensive than rice protein, but you can find brands that are certified raw, which is important if you are following the raw food diet.
Spirulina is also a good source of protein. Its blue – green algae that is widely praised as a super health food. Though it’s quite expensive, you don’t need to add very much.
I don’t recommend soy protein as I have read research suggesting that soy protein isolate is not a healthy protein choice. You can do your own research and make up your own mind. Soy protein is the least expensive protein option and is widely available.
Powdered and Liquid Vitamins: A great way to get all your vitamins and give you a super boost. If you are a vegan I highly recommend adding vitamins B12 and iron into your smoothie.
Super foods: Super foods are great additions to green smoothies. I sometimes use powdered maca root and cacao in mine. Ground up Goji berries blend well too. You can easily add phytoplankton as well.
Omega-3s: Just one tablespoon of flax seeds has over 100% of your recommended daily value of Omega-3 fatty acids. Grind up whole seeds in a coffee grinder before adding them to your smoothie.
Nuts and Seeds: Add some chia seeds or almonds.
And… enjoy!Photo Credit: Jennifer