Fruit smoothies, besides tasting wonderful, are, as you probably are already aware, a rich source of fiber and essential nutrients. They make for a great healthy meal or snack any time of the day. The high water content of smoothies and the fact that the fruit has been mostly liquefied from blending, helps with digestion, and reduces the stress on the body that is often endured when consuming solid foods.
Personally, I could live off of fruit smoothies and not miss any other foods. My all time favorite ingredient for my smoothies is blueberries. Blueberry smoothies are not just great in taste, they are highly nutritious and loaded with antioxidants. Until I came to understand the importance of greens in the human diet, blueberries were the base for all the smoothies I consumed.
Adding Greens to Fruit Smoothies
Fruit smoothies are a thing of the past. Well, at least for me they are. I’ve “gone green” with my fruit smoothie recipes. First off, I am a big believer, and with significant scientific evidence to back it up, that fruits are the most important part of the human diet. In fact, some say fruits should make up the majority of the diet. But in addition to eating plenty of fresh, ripe, raw fruit… dark green leafy vegetables, or simply “greens”, are another important component of what humans need in their diets. And, well, I can’t think of a better way to consume “lots” of greens, then to add them to fruit smoothies.
My first thought when considering adding greens to my fruit smoothies was not a very good one, but I do not want to consume as many salads in a day as I would need to in order to get all the greens I feel my body requires. Also, I don’t want to have to chew greens as long as I would need to in order to “liquefy” them enough to be easily assimilated… so… adding greens to make my healthy smoothie even healthier it is! And you know what? They still taste wonderful, some of them even better! Keep it at 60-70% fruit and your taste buds (and the rest of your body) will thank you.
Green Smoothies Recipe
The green smoothie recipe below is a great base recipe to get started with. When introducing it to friends, most used it as a breakfast smoothie, but this nutrition powerhouse can be consumed any time of day.
• 1 cup orange juice
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 cup blueberries
• 1 banana
• 1-2 cups chopped parsley
Add the ingredients to a blender, blend, serve and enjoy 🙂
7 Tips For Improving Your Green Fruit Smoothie Recipes
Most blenders have a narrow bottom so it is best to pour in the liquid first to help the blades do their job. Using your blenders pulse button and pausing for a second here and there will ensure that the solid ingredients come back towards the blade. Some blenders come with a pre-programmed smoothie button, which will do the pulsing and pausing for you.
I like to squeeze the juice from nice organic oranges with a manual juicer to use in my smoothies. This can get expensive and is not the most convenient way to do things for some people. Another good option, is to buy 100% orange juice by the carton. This isn’t my favorite choice because heat is usually added in the preparation of carton juice which can destroy some important nutrients but it is a definite time/money saver. Changing the fruit for your juice on occasion is also a good idea. 100% apple or mango are great choices. Even water, or a nut-based milk can be used.
If you aren’t used to them, the taste of greens can be a little overwhelming. If you find that this is the case for you, try adding an additional cup of berries to the recipe above. Or try mixing things up and add raspberries, mulberries or even blackberries instead.
Once you really get into the habit of consuming green smoothies, you will probably start stocking the ingredients. Since the bananas may perish before being used up, try freezing them (peel first) to keep them a lot longer. Break them into pieces before you add them to your smoothie.
Try swapping out the banana on occasion with other fruit such as: peaches, papayas, mangoes or any other fruit that you enjoy.
For reasons that are out of the scope of this simple document, changing your greens on occasion is a good idea. Try not to use the same green in your smoothie consistently for more than a week. Great replacements for the parsley in the base green smoothie recipe above include dill, kale (green or purple), rapini, dandelion greens, carrot top greens, beet top greens and spinach. Basically any dark green leafy vegetable will do!
The basic smoothie equipment you’d need for making your smoothies is of course, a blender. Some of the more modern blenders come with a smoothie button, which I find makes the smoothie perfect every time leaving no green chunks. Opt for one with this feature if you are in the market for a new blender.
I also prefer using a smoothie blender with a wide-bottomed jar made from glass. Having a wide bottom helps prevent all the solid ingredients from clogging up like they often do when a narrow bottomed jar is used. Glass jars are easier to clean and do not retain odors like plastic jars do.
But please, if you are on a budget, don’t worry about getting a fancy blender. Even a $10 blender you pick up from a yard sale set on high speed can blend some nutritious green smoothies for you. Your health is too important to wait for the perfect blender.
Like with any other dietary change, please check with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.
Image source: flic.kr