Nutrition Articles

How to Make the Perfect Green Smoothie

Sneak More Veggies into Your Diet with These Delicious Drinks!

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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.


Ingredient Options Amount
Liquid Milk, non-dairy milk, water, 100% fruit juice, kefir or drinkable yogurt, regular (non-Greek) yogurt 1 cup
Fresh fruit Fresh berries, bananas, melon, pineapple, mango or any other favorites Up to 1 cup
Flavor boosters (optional) Cinnamon, cocoa powder, ginger, etc. To taste
Proteins (optional) Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, protein powder, and/or nut butter 1/2 cup yogurt or cottage cheese; 1 scoop protein powder; 1-2 tablespoons nut butter
Greens Raw baby spinach, chard, kale, mixed baby greens 1/2 to 2 cups
Frozen goodies Frozen berries, cherries, melon, pineapple, and/or ice Up to 1 cup
 
Our Favorite Green Smoothie Recipes
Are you ready to give green smoothies a try? Here's a list of our favorite flavor combinations.  Note that the items listed are just suggestions. You can use soy milk or non-dairy milk in place of skim milk in a recipe, for example.

Monkey Madness
1 cup skim milk + 1 small banana + 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder + 1 Tbsp peanut butter + 2 cups spinach + 1/2 cup ice

Berry Blue
1 cup drinkable strawberry yogurt + 1 small banana + 1 pinch powdered ginger + 1 scoop plain, berry or vanilla protein powder + 2 cups baby chard or kale + 1 cup frozen blueberries

Green Machine
1 cup soy milk + 1 peeled kiwi + 1 scoop protein powder + 2 cups spinach + 1 cup frozen pineapple or mango

Tropical Delight
1 cup refrigerated coconut milk beverage + 1 mango + 1 pinch powdered ginger + 2 cups baby spinach or chard + 1 cup frozen pineapple + 1 tsp shredded coconut for garnish

Cherries Jubilee
1 cup skim milk + 1 small banana + 1 pinch cinnamon + 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (cherry flavor is delicious in this!) + 2 cups any greens + 1 cup frozen cherries

For more green smoothie recipes, click here.

Now that you know how to make the perfect green smoothie, there's nothing standing between you and your goal of eating more fruits and vegetables. Go forth and blend!

Are you a fan of green smoothies? Do you have a favorite green smoothie recipe?
 
 

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Member Comments

  • Your recipes would make too much for me. I have a single size bullet blender that holds 2 cups, it is plenty for one person. I think I will have to change the amount of each ingredient. I add 10 calorie per. cup ocean spray cranberry juice, it is not the diet one, it is 30 calories, I use 1/2 cup for only 5 calories, it takes away all the flavor from the greens and is very healthy for you. I will try them with the amount changed.
  • Love the chart for new ideas and combinations. I use to make a smoothie every day with my vita mixer (love that I am still getting all of the fiber with that blender). But over the winter I haven't made too many of them. Now with the warmer weather coming back, I will be getting back into making smoothies and I will check out the suggestions here too!
  • I like smoothies but this chart is a great helper if I want to adventure into my own blends vs. following recipes. Thanks!!
  • Going to try out some of these. Never thought of the combinations.
  • I love green smoothies. Thank you for this great guide to smoothie making! I had to share it with my friends because I think this is such a great way to start the day.
  • SRECIPE
    I love to read the style of writing of your site. I like the smoothies recipe also, it's really helpful for me.
    http://www.sult
    anarecipe.com
    /recipe/desse
    rt-recipe/
  • SMURFATIK
    I am relatively new to veggie smoothies but have found that I love a smoothie made with spinach, cucumber, green apple, the juice of a lime and some water.
  • I have been doing green smoothies for awhile now. Always on the run, two jobs, so I make the night before. Put it in my shaker bottle and take it with me. I also add flax, chia, PB and me (powdered Peanut butter with no additives and reduced fat)
  • Green smoothies are definitely an acquired taste.
    I have made fresh ones in my Nija Blender which works great. Leaves, broccoli, celery, apples pears and more!

    I even make up big batches and then freeze individual servings.

    Days I don't make one I have Athletic Greens. Premium Cocktail. has 10 servings of fruit and veggies in every serving. it is great! I took it for a while and I have not been real sick since taking it. Not even a cold more than a day or two. It is awesome!
  • Yep. I use a coffee grinder to grind up the flaxseed I buy whole.
  • You could grind flaxseed in the same type of grinder used for coffee beans, though I wouldn't recommend using the same grinder for coffee and flaxseed. I buy ground flaxseed. You just need to make sure that once the package is open its refrigerated or frozen, as flaxseed has a short shelf life if its exposed to air or light.
  • How do you grind flaxseeds?
  • I love my green smoothies, I use unsweatened almond milk for my liquid. I also like to add raw Chia seed for the protien along with the omega benefits. I love using a variety of fruit but have found pears and apples make an awesome addition to the smoothie.
    i started making a green smoothie a day January 1st as a 30 day challenge. I found I had so much extra energy and felt amazing that I have not missed a day. I went to the doctors 6 weeks into the challenge and my cholesterol went from 250 to 150 and my blood pressure was also lowered. My doctor was thrilled and took me off all of my medicines.
    I have also incorporated healthy eating and exercise into the equation and love the new me.
  • CHERRYZMB60
    great way to get you veggies and vitamins in

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.



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