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Nutrition Articles  ›  Meals and Food

How to Make the Perfect Green Smoothie

Sneak More Veggies into Your Diet with These Delicious Drinks!

-- By Stepfanie Romine, Staff Writer
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Getting your recommended daily allowance of fruits (1/2 to 2 cups) and vegetables (2-1/2 to 3 cups) is no small feat—especially when you don't have a lot of extra time to prep and cook all that produce. That's one reason why smoothies have become a staple for many healthy eaters. They allow you to pack several servings of produce into one meal or snack that's portable, easy to make and quick to drink.

While most people are familiar with fruit, juice and yogurt-based smoothies, veggie-based smoothies (or "green smoothies") are quickly catching on among nutrition-conscious eaters.

Whether you're apprehensive about trying a smoothie with vegetables or you do it all the time, here's all you need to know to make a well-blended and delicious green smoothie no matter what your taste preferences may be.

Choose Your Greens Carefully
Not all greens are the same. Some, like arugula and watercress, are spicy. Others, like frisee and radicchio, are quite bitter. Kale and collards are tough (and need the stems to be removed), while spinach and chard are more tender. When selecting greens for your smoothie, choose "baby" varieties, which are usually less intense in flavor and softer in texture, as much as possible.

Go Green Gradually
If you've never tried a green smoothie or you're not a huge fan of greens, start with just 1/2 cup. The fruit in your smoothie should mask the taste of the greens. As you adjust to the taste and texture of your green smoothies, add more--working up to 2 cups of greens per smoothie (or more if you like it).

Masking the Green Color
For some people, the color of food matters, and green food can be particularly unappetizing. If you're not sure how you feel about slurping something green, add deeply colored blueberries, cherries, or blackberries to hide the color. This is also a great idea for parents who are trying to sneak some greens into their children's smoothies.

The Perfect Blend
Layer your smoothie ingredients in the ratios and order listed below for optimal texture (smooth, never chunky). If you don't have a high-power blender, you may need to blend after every layer or two rather than loading up everything at once.

Here is our basic formula for foolproof green smoothies:

Be sure to "Pin" this graphic for future reference.

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About The Author

Stepfanie Romine Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health, fitness and cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys running, international travel and all kinds of vegetables. See all of Stepfanie's articles.

Member Comments

  • Don't forget to add nuts or seeds for additional proteins and healthy fats - pecans, walnuts, chia seeds, sesame seed (or sesame seed butter - aka "tahini"), almond butters are all yummy and I've used these for additional protein needs. - 3/18/2014 10:54:47 AM
  • JSCOTT56
    I love my green smoothie; I try to drink 1 litre a day. Today's smoothie was 4 cups of greens (kale & spinach), cucumber, celery, broccoli, carrots, green peas, orange, mango, a few frozen cranberries and a 2 cups of water. Some call it a little earthy but i think it's delicious. - 3/13/2014 10:59:48 PM
  • I guess I might be considered a bit strange, but I freeze all fruit! lol When I find it on sale, rather grapes, peaches, plums, banana's , kiwi, what ever! lol I cut the bigger stuff into slices or chunks, leave smaller stuff like grapes whole, line a cookie sheet with parchment or even plastic wrap...and toss fruit on it to freeze. Once frozen I put in zip locks and freeze! I also freeze fresh greens...I get the fresh bundles or like 1.24 a bundle and rinse it off, leave overnight in the collander to dry off, than toss in bags to freeze for either smoothies or to toss into things like speghetti or soup, ect. I make my own yogurt as well so smoothies are just the way I like them and I know exactly what is going in there from start to finish! :-) - 3/13/2014 5:10:13 PM
  • I love my chocolate mint smoothies. I add spinach or kale, milk, coco powder and a handful of fresh mint from my herb garden (in season). For fruit I like frozen cherries of strawberries. Yum! - 3/13/2014 4:11:31 PM
  • MINI01
    I have been making green smoothies/juices for a while. Kale is one of the best veggies to add because of the nutrient content (and it's a lot easier to drink 2 cups of kale than to eat 2 cups of it). Another useful thing to add if you need extra potassium is to add coconut water as your liquid. It's lower in calories than regular fruit juice and it has the right ratio of potassium/sodium that we need, unlike processed foods which has high sodium content. If you are looking for omega-3s in your diet and can't eat fish every day and don't want to take a supplement, try adding ground flaxseeds to your smoothie (I buy them whole in bulk and then grind them as needed). If you haven't tried adding veggies to your smoothies, give it a try. If you add 1/2 cup of frozen raspberries to your smoothie, that's the main flavor and you won't taste the greens at all. - 3/13/2014 7:26:48 AM
  • I am surprised frozen bananas were not included in the "frozen goodies" section, only in the fresh fruit section. When bananas start getting too ripe (I do not like brown!), I cut them into 1" chunks and freeze them. The next day, I'll add them to the blender with soy milk (reg milk works fine too), cinnamon, and nutmeg. It makes a wonderful dessert! Some may add honey (or sugar) or vanilla extract to taste. Usually, I use 2 bananas to 1 c soy milk, 1 Tbs cinnamon, and 1 tsp nutmeg. - 3/6/2014 10:24:29 AM
  • Greens smoothies are yummy! And if the color bothers you, or you are trying to sneak it on for your kids, after adding your red berries etc like article suggested, I also use about a teaspoon or even a tablespoon of raw cocoa or cacao (where the chocolate comes from) and that gives a nice "chocolate shake" effect - especially when I also add a half (or whole) avocado (peeled & pit removed)! Avocado gives a luxuriant creaminess to a green smoothie and rich in the healthy fats that greatly benefit skin problems. Coconut oil will also add to that creamy mouthfeel, or frozen banana. You'd think you were eating a chocolate shake!! - 2/24/2014 9:28:17 AM
  • TRISHMO1
    love my greens - 2/18/2014 5:09:20 PM
  • BEE-BELLA
    I just started making juices/smoothies with my blender which has a liquify mode. I use kale, spinach, cabbage, celery, carrots, ginger and one fruit (usually 1/3 c frozen strawberry). I am diabetic so I carefully watch the fruit intake so I just add one and found that the strawberries, green apple, or pear don't send me spiking. I have psoriatic arthrities and since I started drinking 12 oz of juice per day in the a.m., my psoriasis outbreak on my elbows and ears have basically gone away. Medicine alone didn't do that for months. Low iron is no longer an issue for me as well. I feel much better too, more enegy, less pain in the joints and have also been dropping inches like crazy with some moderate weight loss on the scale. I never though in a million I would get into making and drinking juicies and would highly recommend everyone to try at least 12 oz a day! - 2/18/2014 2:32:58 PM
  • I used to have a hard time getting in my potassium. I found that 60 leaves of spinach almost count for my daily intake. When added to the 1/2 banana strawberry, cinnamon, and almond milk, I have received some of the hardest nutrients for me. 1 t cinnamon has my daily requirement of manganese. So my measurements are a bit different but are basically the same ingredients, just tempered to my nutrition needs.
    - 2/18/2014 12:04:52 PM
  • MALABEADS
    No caloric intake here. - 2/18/2014 11:15:26 AM
  • I thoroughly enjoy the spinach, water, pineapple, and nutbutter. To make the nutbutter, I used dried almonds. I have a coffee grinder and ground the nuts first and add to the mixture. - 1/24/2014 8:36:54 AM
  • JSTROT
    I've been drinking a green smoothie every morning for breakfast for the past several weeks. I love the addition of cucumber! It is SO refreshing. I normally drink it on my way to work, and the cucumber makes me feel like I brushed my teeth after having breakfast. I normally do one piece of fruit (pear, banana, handful of blueberries or strawberries), 1/2 of a cucumber, 1-2 cups spinach, and water. I know it sounds bad.....but it really is yummy! - 1/17/2014 8:06:10 PM
  • My favorite go to smoothie is 2-3 cups baby spinach, 6 oz OJ, 1 banana, 1/5 container tofu, along with blueberries or strawberries, or a mixture of both. - 1/13/2014 8:22:12 AM
  • I tried smoothies years ago- not green ones not sure if I am a fan -would much rather eat a salad - is this really better for you than just eating the vegetables ? - 1/11/2014 8:14:04 PM