If you start, you may have many questions about the best green smoothies for beginners. Are smoothies from vegetables better than fruits? Is it a good idea to combine both types of smoothies? Which greens are the best, and how do I get to good taste?
Can I avoid common mistakes in making green smoothies?
Let us look at all these questions and many more and find out why green smoothies are the best for overall health and all people, not only beginners.
History Of Green Smoothies
Juice and smoothie bars and retail outlets such as Jamba Juice, Smoothie King, and Tropical Smoothie Café are everywhere today. They sell blended fruit and vegetable drinks that are usually chilled and could contain various ingredients. These may include honey, syrup, sugar, milk or yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, and protein powder.
These smoothies and juice joints exploded in popularity in the 1990s. However, natural food stores on the west coast of the United States began selling smoothies in the 1930s.
That's when the electric blender made its debut in the United States. Ice cream vendors and health shops began selling smoothies that typically added ice cream, dairy products, and some fruit sweeteners.
Vegetables were sometimes used but were not the primary ingredient. Right after a retail smoothie and juice store came into vogue at the end of the 20th century, green smoothies became very popular. They predominantly focus on leafy green vegetables such as kale, collard greens, celery, and spinach. They are an excellent way to get your daily intake of healthy veggies in your body.
When Australian businessman Joe Cross began preaching the health properties of juicing leafy green vegetables in 2005, the groundwork had already been laid for a juicing and smoothie explosion. Cross drank 80% vegetables and 20% fruit juices and ate nothing for 60 days. In that time, he lost 82 pounds and beat an autoimmune condition his doctors said he would have for the rest of his life.
He released a film about his juicing journey titled Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. He made the movie available free of charge online on his website and video-sharing sites like YouTube. Seemingly overnight, everyone was making juices with leafy green vegetables for health reasons, with some people reporting truly miraculous physical transformations.
The Health Benefits of Green Smoothies
There are many health benefits when you drinking green smoothies. The vegetables and fruits that give green smoothies their fresh, emerald hue are incredibly high in nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
They provide a long list of benefits and can improve your mental and physical health. Kale is a famous leafy green in smoothies that offers the following health advantages:
All of the healthy nutrients and minerals in kale also boost your overall immune system - Helps your cells grow properly, assists in the formation of enzymes and hemoglobin, lowers your cholesterol, and fights asthma, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders. Look at those amazing rewards for getting kale into your body.
Now imagine how supercharged your health and vitality are when you combine that leafy green with other healthy vitamins and fruits commonly used to make a green smoothie. You can literally handpick your smoothie ingredients to provide any type of health boost you need, from stronger, shinier hair and younger-looking skin, to improved memory, no joint pain, and total heart health.
Later on in this Post, we will reveal the best vegetables to use in your green smoothie. We will also list the health properties each of those vegetables provide, so you can cater your green smoothie experience to deliver exactly the healthy rewards you are looking for.
Right now though, let's take a look at the reasons for choosing predominantly green vegetables over fruits the next time you make a smoothie.
Why Choose Smoothies With Greens Over Fruits?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting fruits in your smoothies. In that case, you must be careful about your calorie and carbohydrate intake.
Vegetables have much fewer calories, and carbohydrates per ounce than fruit does. Suppose you choose predominantly fruits instead of vegetables for your smoothies. In that case, there is a possibility of weight gain. Many fruits have levels of natural sugar that are much, much higher than the typical vegetable. Most vegetables have little to no raw sugar.
You probably know what happens when the human body takes too much sugar. It gets fat. So one excellent reason to choose smoothies with mostly leafy greens over those with too many fruits is to keep from gaining weight. Many people adopt a "1 smoothie a day" policy to lose weight, eat too many fruits, and gain weight instead.
You may wonder, "If green vegetables are so healthy, why can't I just eat them instead of putting them in my smoothie?" That is a great question, so let's answer that right now.
Is Drinking Green Smoothies Better Than Eating Greens?
Joe Cross has a smoothie recipe called Joe's Mean Green Smoothie. It contains the following ingredients.
When was the last time you ate an entire cucumber, 4 stalks of celery, 2 whole green apples, a large bowl of kale leaves, half of a lemon, and a banana? Those ingredients combined with a cup of almond milk make just 1 smoothie! If you drink 2 or 3 smoothies a day, double or triple that list of produce.
This brings up why it is so much smarter to drink green smoothies than try to eat all those vegetables and fruits instead... you simply cannot eat, digest and consume the number of fruits and vegetables that go into making 1 or more smoothies on a regular basis.
Those foods, like the kale we mentioned earlier, that go into your smoothies are packed with nutrition. They are virtually bursting at the seams with health and well-being.
Since it is very difficult, or impossible, to eat the same number of healthy fruits and vegetables that make up a green smoothie on a day-to-day basis, choosing a refreshing, chilled smoothie is the perfect vehicle for receiving all the health benefits those foods offer.
Another very good reason to choose to drink your greens rather than eat them. When you render healthy fruits and vegetables into liquid form, your digestive process is very quick. Because of the high amounts of densely packed fiber in physical fruits and vegetables, it takes a while for your body to digest them properly.
When you add the ingredients of your smoothie into your blender, that blender is acting as a digestive aid. It is breaking down those foods for you, so access to the minerals, nutrients, vitamins and other healthy components in your fruits and vegetables is absorbed by your body much quicker.
This is why you can oftentimes feel a surge of vitality and healthy energy only minutes after drinking a green smoothie. Your body begins to assimilate all of the health-boosting properties of your smoothie ingredients immediately.
Finally, another reason to juice your greens rather than eat them is to save time. When you are in a rush you can make a healthy smoothie in literally a couple of minutes. That beats the prep time, eating time, and cleanup time that can sometimes be extensive when you are cooking your greens rather than using them to make a smoothie.
The Basic Green Smoothie Formula
Ask 10 different people and you may get 10 different responses to the following question. "What is the definition of a smoothie?" Health gurus and other smoothie enthusiasts are not any clearer on exactly what is required for a beverage to be called a smoothie. Some say for the smoothie label, a drink has to have ice and milk. Others replace milk with low-fat yogurt or some other dairy product. Still, others opt out of milk entirely and use water as a liquid base.
Generally speaking, a smoothie is much thicker and has a much heavier consistency than if you were to make fresh juice. Smoothies are usually made in a blender and not a juicer, and will be chilled most of the time. The consistency is that of a thick milkshake. However, a milkshake requires ice cream, which you will not find in a healthy smoothie.
If you check a dictionary you will find that a smoothie is defined as "A person who has a winningly polished manner." The second definition found at Dictionary.com is more of what we are looking for, "A thick beverage of fruit puréed in a blender with ice and milk, yogurt or juice." If you stick to that definition you see that the actual ingredients of a smoothie are up to you.
In almost every case, smoothies are made with fruits and vegetables as a healthy beverage, and not things like refined sugar and ice cream, which would constitute an unhealthy dessert drink.
Just remember what was mentioned earlier. If you stick to mostly fruits in your green smoothies you may find it difficult to lose weight, and you may even gain weight. Replacing most of the fruits with healthy leafy greens and the occasional green fruit is what makes green smoothies so powerfully healthy.
Focus on at least 70% to 80% vegetables in your green smoothie recipes. This will provide a lot of healthy nutrients and minerals, without putting too many calories, carbs, and too much natural sugar into your body.
If you need help getting started, check out this basic green smoothie formula:
Expect 2 to 3 smoothies of 16 ounces each with the above basic recipe.
Your liquid could be milk, nondairy milk like almond milk, green tea, or water. A binder is anything that gives your smoothie a thicker consistency and holds it together, like ground flaxseed, nut butter, or raw almonds.
Protein powders are available with peas, hemp, sprouted brown rice, or a blend of all 3 as the protein base. Bananas or avocados qualify as soft fruit.
It is also up to you whether you want to include any "superfoods". Adding cacao nibs, powdered greens, ground cayenne pepper, pumpkin or chia seeds, cauliflower, ground whole oat bran, baobab, green apples, coconut oil, and walnuts can really ratchet up the health-boosting nutrients and minerals you get from your green smoothie.
As promised earlier, now we will take a look at the best greens to add to your smoothie. These are those fruits and vegetables which deliver significant health benefits because of the vitamins and minerals they contain.
14 Best Greens To Include In Your Smoothies
We discussed the incredible health properties of kale earlier. The following green fruits and veggies also have the ability to deliver certain physical and mental benefits.
Listed alongside each piece of produce are a few of the known health advantages of eating that particular food. Simply pick and choose from the list below to see positive change in many areas of your life.
- 1Swiss chard – As just mentioned, Swiss chard is great for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. It is full of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese. Aside from helping you manage your blood sugar, Swiss chard promotes overall heart and cardiovascular health, improves bone density, and helps your lungs work properly.
- 2Bok choy – As we said above, bok choy promotes bone strength and heart health. It is full of vitamins A, C and K, and folate and calcium. This means that while it is good for your heart, bok choy also helps your bones grow strong.
- 3Spinach – If you are familiar with the cartoon character Popeye, you will know that spinach can make you strong. That is because one single leaf of spinach delivers more than 20 different nutrients! We said earlier that spinach is good for creating strong, healthy, young looking skin and high energy levels.
Spinach also naturally fights cancer, improves your vision, boosts heart health and your immune system, acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps lower high blood pressure.
- 4Beet greens – When you buy beets, make sure they have their greens attached. Don't just eat the beetroot. The long, leafy stocks that grow above ground and which form the greens part of the beet support healthy blood, skin, vision, and bones.
This is partly because of the vitamins A, C, and K beet greens contain, as well as the essential minerals copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese.
- 5Romaine lettuce – Romaine lettuce is easier on the taste buds than kale and Swiss chard. Although it doesn't look as deep green as some other greens, it is full of large amounts of calcium, magnesium, and manganese, as well as vitamins A and K, and B complex vitamins.
You will also find copper, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc in romaine lettuce. From your heart to your skin, your circulation to your digestion, romaine lettuce provides plenty of health benefits.
- 6Arugula – Rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamins A, C, K, and the B complex, and chlorophyll, arugula gives your immune system a boost. It also helps your brain function properly and strengthens your bones.
- 7Carrot tops – Don't throw away the greens that are attached to the top of your carrots. Rich in magnesium and chlorophyll, calcium and potassium as well as vitamin K, carrot greens keep your muscles and bones healthy.
- 8Collard greens – Related to kale, broccoli, and cabbage, collard greens are what are known as cruciferous vegetables. They are excellent for cleaning out your system and promoting good digestion, which helps you regulate healthy body weight. The vitamins A, C, and K found in many healthy green fruits and vegetables are present here, as well as other vitamins, essential minerals, and antioxidants.
- 9Dandelion greens – Did you know that every part of the dandelion plant, from its roots to its flower, is edible? Dandelion greens are more bitter than even kale, so a little bit goes a long way for flavor. These greens are one of the best sources of calcium and iron in the green plant kingdom.
They detox and cleanse your liver, have excellent anti-inflammatory properties and promote lung, heart, and vision health. These super greens also make a complete protein and are full of calcium and iron, as well as vitamins A and C.
- 10Parsley – The frequently mentioned vitamins A, C, and K are here, as well as calcium, folate, and iron. There are plenty of health-boosting flavonoids and antioxidants as well, which help neutralize dangerous carcinogens while preventing oxidation damage in your cells.
Parsley also kills free radicals that do damage throughout your body, protecting you against conditions like colon cancer, diabetes, and asthma.
- 11Broccoli – You might never think about making a smoothie with broccoli. Start adding broccoli to your green smoothies tomorrow, because this cruciferous vegetable is considered a true superfood. It prevents and treats diabetes symptoms, protects against multiple cancers, has high levels of vitamins C and K, and like most of the greens on this list, helps promote healthy digestion while regulating your body weight.
- 12Avocado – This green is technically a fruit and not a vegetable. Like broccoli, it is regarded as a superfood in nutrition circles. Avocados are full of essential fats that your body needs to promote healthy functioning throughout and deliver anywhere from 20% to 42% of 9 minerals, nutrients, and vitamins your body craves in just a 1-cup serving.
They are loaded with dietary fiber to keep your digestive tract working properly, have more potassium than bananas, can lower high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and strengthen your heart.
Also called alligator pear, the humble avocado reduces blood pressure and protects against heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. Avocado fights inflammation and cancer, metabolic syndrome, and belly fat, and the unique fat in avocados helps your body absorb more nutrients from other plant foods that you eat.
- 13Cucumbers – Very low in carbs but high in nutrition, the minerals and nutrients in a cucumber protect against inflammation throughout your body. They lower your risk of developing cancer and protect your brain health. Cucumbers are 90% to 95% water, so they help hydrate and cool your body.
- 14Celery – Approximately 2/3 of the fiber in celery is not digestible. This means celery can help you lose weight and maintain healthy body weight while keeping your digestive system healthy. Celery has been linked to cancer prevention and has high levels of vitamin K, and also fights inflammation.
Celery is rich in antioxidants and enzymes that your body craves, in addition to vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6. Celery is heart-healthy and has antioxidants and phytonutrients that promote healthy liver, skin, eyes, and cognitive abilities.
Tips And Tricks For Your Green Smoothies
By now you are probably excited about the health-boosting possibilities of smoothies. You also probably have a busy life. You may find it difficult to squeeze smoothie-making time into your already hectic schedule.
Don't worry. The following tips and tricks will help you fit delicious and nutritious smoothies into your daily routine, so you don't miss out on all the health rewards they deliver.
How to Store Pre-Made Smoothies
We know smoothies made at home are crazy healthy. Some experts recommend drinking one every day. However, life can get in the way and before you know it, you have run out of time and skip your smoothie for breakfast.
But there are some “hacks” you can do to make the smoothie-making process much smoother.
Batch-make the ingredients
Once a week cut up a big batch of fruits and vegetables that you use in your smoothies. Then bag them up in serving-size portions in zip-lock bags and freeze.
If using a mixture of fruits and green vegetables, put the vegetables in last. It makes getting them out easier. You can store these portions for up to six months frozen.
Use frozen ingredients
Then when you need to make a smoothie, take a bag out of the freezer, dump it in your blender, add protein powder, a liquid like almond or coconut milk, and a few ice cubes and blend to the thickness you like.
You now have a smoothie you can eat on the run or sit down and enjoy.
If your blender doesn’t do well with frozen items, take a bag out of the freezer the night before and let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight. If you are going to do this, then freeze your dark green vegetables separately from your fruits.
That way the veggies won’t get soggy. Defrosting first seems to “kick up” the flavor of the smoothie too and the ingredients blend better too.
If you are going to make a mess of making a smoothie, why not take advantage of it and make more than one batch of smoothies at a time? What you don’t drink today can store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
However, flavor, texture, and nutritional value does start to degrade after 48 hours. Divide the left-over smoothie into serving-size portions and place them in Mason jars.
Use smaller jars that you can fill to the top to minimize the amount of air trapped between the lid and the mixture. This will minimize the chance of air oxidizing your smoothie which can reduce its nutritional value and flavor.
Adding a little lemon juice can also help reduce oxidation, plus it adds in some extra vitamin C.
Freeze left-over smoothies
As an alternative to storing left-over smoothies in your refrigerator, try freezing it. Take one out and re-blend it when it is still partially frozen.
This way you can keep it even longer and still have it taste like you just make it without any degradation.
These smoothie hacks work well for the busy person and not only save you time but money by not wasting ingredients or left-over smoothies.
8 Common Green Smoothie Mistakes To Avoid
There are mistakes you can make when undertaking any health plan. Avoid the following 8 commonly made green smoothie mistakes and your blended path to health and well-being will provide the most benefits and the fewest headaches.
- 1Using too many fruits – Remember, using too many fruits and not enough green vegetables could lead to unhealthy weight gain.
- 2Giving up after a few failed tries – If you make a green smoothie and it doesn't taste good that is no need to stop making smoothies. You can always add your favorite fruits and vegetables to any smoothie to please your taste buds.
- 3Not adding water to your blender first – To keep from overworking your blender motor you should add your liquids first, along with a few smoothie ingredients.
- 4Using the same greens every day – We mentioned earlier that changing up your green smoothie ingredients is important for overall health. Even if you find you have a couple of recipes you really enjoy, you need to discover other recipes that get healthy greens into your body on a regular basis.
- 5Not buying organic whenever you can - Purchase organic produce if at all possible. This food is as clean as it can be, and usually enjoys a much shorter time from the farm to your grocery store.
- 6Not washing your produce – Just 1 tablespoon of white vinegar per 1 gallon of room temperature water makes an excellent produce rinse. Let your produce soak for 10 minutes before aggressively rinsing.
- 7Using unhealthy protein powders – Protein powders are a common green smoothie ingredient. Make sure you are reading your food labels, and use only healthy powders.
- 8Letting the color turn you off – Some green smoothies will be extremely dark green and brown in color. Don't let an unattractive-looking color keep you from benefiting from these wonderfully healthy beverages.
Shopping List Of Your Healthy Green Smoothies For Beginners
Do you write out a list of the things you need when you go shopping for groceries? When you "play it by ear" and simply try to remember the foods you need to purchase, you may forget what you went shopping for in the first place.
Studies have shown that to-do lists and checklists make people more successful in getting things done.
Carry the following shopping list with you the next time you buy fresh produce for your green smoothies, and you won't forget any of the fruits and veggies that make green smoothies so powerfully healthy.
You can download the shopping list by clicking the download button at the end of the list!
Top Green Smoothie Foods
Superfoods to Add
* Remember to limit the number of fruits and sweeteners you use in your green smoothies. This can lead to unhealthy and unwanted weight gain.
Below you can download the Shopping List For Your Healthy Green Smoothies.
8 Recipes Of Green Smoothies For Beginners
The best time to drink a smoothie will be upon waking. The second best time to drink a smoothie will be after a workout session. Do make regular exercise a part of your lifestyle and finish it off with a tall, cold glass of green juice.
If you can’t drink your smoothies during these times, then any other time will do just fine. What really matters is that you are making and drinking the green smoothies. Implementation is half the battle won. You do not have to be perfect when you start. Just start and then aim to improve as you progress.
Below, you will find a selection of green smoothie recipes. You can drink them at any time of the day. These are tasty, nutritious recipes. Make sure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients before making them.
Meeting Your Health & Fitness Goals with Green Smoothies
If you want to build strong muscles, incorporate protein-rich greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli in your green smoothie recipes. For an overall health boost, cycle through all of the healthy greens listed earlier regularly.
This will power your immune system and deliver a multitude of health benefits from head to toe.
If weight loss is your goal, make sure you are using 70% to 80% vegetables in your healthy smoothie recipes.
This means more high-fiber, low-calorie produce that keeps your digestive system working properly, and fewer fruits high in sugar.
You should also try to limit the number of sweeteners and milk you use in your green smoothie recipes if you are trying to lose weight, or regulate healthy body weight.
No matter what your fitness goals are, try to drink at least 32 ounces of green smoothies each and every day. You can drink them in place of breakfast, or spread them out throughout the day.
Doing so helps keep you full and getting your body used to the ingredients in green smoothies will begin to curb your cravings for unhealthy foods.
Consider replacing 1 or 2 meals with green smoothies every day. This does a couple of things for your health goals. It gets your taste buds and internal systems used to drink healthy, green smoothies.
It also keeps plenty of dietary fiber moving through your system so that you feel full, limiting the overall number of calories and carbohydrates you eat throughout the day.
This helps you burn fat and calories because you are limiting your intake of sugar, bread, and other foods known to cause unhealthy weight gain.
The nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in your green smoothies simultaneously build strong muscles while limiting the intake of the foods that may have caused your health problems in the first place.
Take Action And Start Your Own Smoothie Journey.