Can’t wait for the Green Smoothie Challenge to start on June 1!! Some of those who are finally daring to put their toe in the green drink waters have posted great questions, so I wanted to provide some helpful tips ensure that after smoothie one you don’t swear off the challenge.
Does every smoothie need protein?
No. I like to use protein when I am drinking it after a workout to accelerate recovery or if it is a substantial snack. Other times I will leave it out as an afternoon energy boost drink.
Is protein powder my only option?
No you could put in pasteurized Egg Whites, Greek Yogurt, silken tofu, chia sees, hemp seeds.
Protein Powder Recommendations?
Vega Sport is my preferred powder for after any workout. This is obviously from the two enormous tubs in my kitchen. But here are a few other tips:
- Buy some small packets to test out different brands and flavors to find what works for you
- Try to avoid overly processed brands filled with chemicals, that defeats the purpose of the smoothie
- Try to avoid huge amounts of sugar, instead use Stevia and fruit as natural sweeteners
Vanilla flavored almond, soy, or coconut milk are a great starting point for most smoothies. I try to use the Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk most of the time to keep sugar low, but most soy milk will have more protein so if you aren’t adding protein it’s worth considering. If regular milk is your thing that’s great too, but try adding a little vanilla extract for flavor.
Over time you can reduce your milk alternative amount and increase your water. Initially start with 1 cup milk, 1/2-1cup water…now I’ve reversed that so I’m at 1/2 cup So Delicious and 1 cup water.
Do you need a great blender?
Not really…but no doubt they are better with one!! The first 3 years that I made green smoothies was in my Magic Bullet. It served me well, but to be honest I have been able to get a lot more nutrition in to my smoothie with the VitaMix.
If you are using a smaller blender:
Remove kale and swiss chard leaves from the stalk
Chop thicker pieces of vegetables or fruit before putting them in the blender
- Baby spinach is the ideal starter green for most people. It has a more mild flavor and 1-2 cups can easily go unnoticed.
- Kale and swiss chard have a more definitive flavor, but again mixed with the right fruit you’ll soon be drinking it like nobody’s business. For those just starting out use spinach in week one and then try adding a leaf or two of kale the following week…a little more the week after.
- The goal is to switch up your greens occasionally to keep getting a variety of nutrients.
Carrots: Use shredded in a smaller blender, this sweet veggie will disappear in your smoothie
Cucumber: High water content helps it blend in well
Broccoli: Use small pieces in a small blender, but I swear you’ll never know it’s there
I’ve also tossed in the white part of bell peppers for their high nutrition, zucchini, bok choy…almost anything! Just consider if it has a high flavor what you might need to mix with it to ensure you don’t feel like you are drinking say pureed bok choy.
Banana: This is the primary fruit recommended for all first time smoothie makers and one still used by many for years. It’s high sugar content helps mask the veggies and it’s great for athlete’s due to potassium, etc.
Pineapple: A few frozen pineapple chunks will sweeten up any smoothie that may have gone too far to the green side
Oranges: I love an orange creamsicle smoothie, but have found this only to work well in the VitaMix. In my Magic Bullet the white strands hung around making it just awkward to drink.
Almost any fruit will work, it’s a little science experiment in your kitchen.
Maca: Great for athletes to help your adrenals stay well
Ground Flaxseed: High source of Omega 3’s and fiber (start small it will thicken up). It’s important to use ground and not whole flax seed for your body to absorb the nutrients.
Stevia: A few drops adds a little sweetness if your drink is bitter because you got excited with your veggies
Peanut Butter: I like my peanut butter on the spoon, but many folks swear by adding some to their smoothie
Coconut oil: A great source of good fats that will give you energy and help you burn fat…also some flavor