Green Smoothie – a power punch of nutrition

So what is a Green Smoothie I hear you say!

 

Basically, green smoothies are a blended drink made up of three main components –  fresh green leafy vegetables, some fruit and a liquid – usually water, coconut water or milk (regular, soy, almond, coconut etc). Green vegetables (the darker the better!) like spinach, lettuce, kale, silverbeet, bok-choy, celery, cucumber and herbs like parsley and basil are incredibly nutritious foods – packed full of fibre as well as essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

The problem for most people however is the ability to get enough of these important vegies in their daily diet (or knowing how to cook them in a yummy way) – which is why green smoothies can be a great option! These are also a fun way to encourage kids (the little ones and the big ones) to get their daily greens.

The best thing about a green smoothie is you can literally add anything to them. The only rule is that they must contain green vegetables and liquids.  The rest of the ingredients you can add as you please. (In fact, they are a great way to hide powdered supplements like Maca powder, spirulina, hemp powder, chia seeds, glutamine etc.).

If you are new to green smoothies, a good idea until you get the taste for it, is to start with about half fruit (whole, not juiced) and half vegetables – starting with milder tasting vegies like spinach.  The ultimate goal however is to get mainly vegetables in there and perhaps just half a serve of fruit for a little sweetness.

To help you get started, here are some yummy recipes to inspire. Blend them altogether in a powerful blender (Vitamix’s are awesome!) otherwise a food processor will also work.  Most of these will make quite a lot so store in the fridge for up to two days and drink as snacks.

Another great idea (especially for the kids), is to freeze these into ice block moulds for cool and refreshing treats).  If you have any other favourites, I would love to hear about them!

Juice: Health food or junk food?

Often people suggest that instead of softdrink, they will have a juice. I’ll put it out there – I hate juice. It provides a false sense of security as it comes from something healthy like fruit. However, when you look at how many teaspoons of sugar a juice has, you may think again!

A freshly squeezed medium sized fruit juice typically contains around 11 teaspoons of sugar, and while it may be natural and not refined cane sugar, ultimately, it’s still sugar with none of the fibre you’d get from eating the whole fruit. I always like to think about how many oranges you would need to juice to get a glass of juice – would you eat that many oranges in one sitting? I would say probably not!

Juice teaspoon sugar

Just as a side note, the type of juice we are talking about here, is not your popular juice bar smoothies.   Smoothies from these shops can have up to 30 teaspoons of sugar in a serve!! (eeek!) That is astounding – especially considering they are marketed as a healthy product!  The worst of these are those that are based on frozen yoghurt, sorbet, fruit concentrates and syrups.

If you choose to buy a juice, get one which is freshly squeezed, stick to a small size and combine the fruit with even more vegetables.  If you must buy supermarket juice, choose those that have no added sugar and include the pulp – however keep you serve to 1/4 of a glass and dilute it with lots of water!

Another even better alternative, why not make your own Green Smoothie at home!  For information about Green Smoothies head to my blog post all about them here.