Covering Our Nutritional Needs with Green Smoothies

If you are anything like our family, it is rather challenging to get my little ones to eat any vegetables. So we mash and puree soups and some casseroles at the request of my little girl just so the evidence of their existence has disappeared. Salads are another challenging task unless they are nicely sweetened with a raisins and apples. Green smoothies has been my solution for a long time to help supplement their diet and ours as well.

Green smoothies are very nutritious because they are easy to digest, are a complete food because the contain the fiber (as opposed to juices), are enjoyable for all ages and optimal for human consumption (with a recommended 60:40 ratio of fruits to greens), and so easy to make. (Ten Health Benefits of Green Smoothies)

Here are a few tips I have learned in the journey of creating delicious smoothies backed with lots of greens and fruits:

Limit the Ingredients

When I originally started on this quest of creating green smoothies, I tried to stuff everything imaginable in them – multiple fruits, greens, and nutritional herbal powders. Some smoothies would turn out descent, but others were downright gross. I was just trying to get the most nutrition out of one smoothie! I recently discovered that the key to a green smoothie is limiting your ingredients to 3-5 items. Why? “This makes the absorption and digestive process easier on your body and to derive the maximum amount of nutrients from the ingredients you do add.” (Green Smoothie Guide).

Find A Good Base 

Some of the best base liquids to use in green smoothies, include yogurt, coconut milk, kombucha or orange juice. I keep all of these liquids on hand to create a variety of smoothies and they add simply delicious flavors and added nutrition with priobiotics and protein from yogurt, healthy fats from coconut milk, and fermented benefits with kombucha. I like to add a bit of orange juice concentrate to most of my smoothies for a touch of added sweetness and flavor. Also, you will always want to keep bananas on hand. I add a ripe banana or two to every smoothie for smooth texture and wonderful sweet flavor. Avacado makes another good base for a similar end result.

Eat Your Smoothies as a Snack

I’ve also learned the importance of eating your green smoothies as a snack as opposed to part of a meal. It is recommended to eat other foods in a 40-60 minute window before or after eating your smoothie to give your body adequate time to consume the maximum nutrients from the smoothie. So a green smoothie makes the perfect afternoon pick me up before dinner time!

Rotate Your Greens

In order for your body to get the most value from your green smoothies, it is valuable to rotate your greens. Celery, spinach, romaine make good choices to rotate through. I have also found that an organic spring salad mix is an awesome option because there are multiple different greens in one mixture including baby leaves of red and green romaine and oak leaf lettuces, lollo rosa and tango lettuces, red and green chard, mizuna, arugula, frisée and radicchio. I buy the 1 lb packages of organic salad mixes (example pictured at right) that are stored in the plastic container and these greens really last in this packaging. Yes, not ideal in plastic. But something about the process of being pre-washed, dried, and packed in this container keep the greens fresh and extend their life incredibly so. I buy 2-3 of these bins each month and they last me at least through the entire month. This is our main green choice but I also love getting celery in there as well. I’m not sure if I’m officially following the rotation of greens idea with this mix…but it works for us and we are getting a good variety!

Here are some of the combinations we like best. Have fun and be creative!

Banana + salad mix (I like to stuff my blender full!) + 2 oranges + 1 can coconut milk + 1 Tbsp concentrate = creamy orange julius!

Banana + salad mix + 1 cup raspberries + 1 cup blueberries + 1 cup of grape juice = berry delicious!

Banana + 1 apple + 3-4 stalks celery + orange juice concentrate + water/kombucha = light apple kick!

Banana + frozen mango/pineapple + lots of greens + orange juice concentrate & water/kombucha = citrus bliss!

Banana + salad mix + strawberries + orange juice = strawberry banana delight!

Looking for some more recipes to get you started? 

Check out these free guides:

The Green Smoothie Guide (download from the sidebar of Raw Smoothie Recipes)
Fruit & Green Smoothie Recipes
Green Smoothie Web App – tons of recipes with the ability to search by ingredient! They also offer an iPhone app for $1.99.

Photo Credit - I didn’t have my own picture to share…but this Blendtec photo looks incredibly similar to our daily concoctions! We use a Blendtec at our home on a daily basis if not multiple times a day and we love it!

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

51 Responses to Covering Our Nutritional Needs with Green Smoothies

  1. Shell February 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

    I wholeheartedly agree that limiting your ingredients is a good idea.Start with less and add more as you start to develop tastes for certain foods. Better to add than to have to remove, kinda like hair cut.

  2. Amy June 11, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    I’ve been making green smoothies for my children (and the whole family) for a couple of years now, and I feel like it really helps give them great nutrition! I like a mix of raw spinach, raw carrot, strawberries, and banana. I add some stevia to sweeten and some cinnamon. It is a big hit around here! I’m very fond of my vitamix. :)

    • Amy June 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

      I like to sneak in avocado sometimes too, since it is so nutritious and the rest of the family isn’t so fond of it. A baby food concoction that is popular too is avocado, carrot, cooked millet, pear, stevia, and cinnamon.

  3. Amy Walker June 8, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Tried “creamy orange Julius ” today! Love it so filling with the coconut fat! Thanks again for sharing these recipes!

  4. Melissa May 4, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

    I really enjoy your blog. I do have to ask if we don’t have a fancy blender how could we do this type of smoothie? Thanks

    • Lindsay May 5, 2012 at 6:13 am #

      Yes, you can certainly use just a regular blender, it just won’t likely be as smooth and easy to cover up the various textures. You also might have to blend it in various stages. When I had a standard blender, I would blend all the greens until pureed before adding the fruits, and that seemed to work the best. The reason for getting a higher quality blender is that it will last you so much longer. Standard blenders just wear out really fast, especially when making a lot of smoothies like this.

  5. Pam@behealthybehappywellness May 4, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    We love our green smoothies! Here is my favorite recipe:
    http://behealthybehappywellness.com/blog/2012/04/april-enjoy-your-greens
    In fact, I think I’ll go make one right now!

  6. Brendon May 2, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    Lindsay,

    You mention a Blendtec blender in your article here but I would be remiss if I didn’t also throw in Vitamix as a formidable competitor to Blendtec. I happen to think the Vitamix makes the smoother smoothie of the two blenders….BlenderBattles.com sorts out the nuances between each rather well.

    Thanks again for the article and the recipes – I follow your lead often.

  7. charis April 28, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    i love green smoothies and juicing both. we alternate between the two because i really believe there is great nutritional benefit to each and, i don’t know about you, but i would much rather juice a beet than blend it into a smoothie! (just saying…)

    we are blessed to be a part of a csa and get a weekly produce box, so juicing and green smoothies is a great way to use the variety of greens and other veggies that may not be as popular on the dinner table and get their nutritional benefit into our diets. i can throw beet greens, even turnip greens in small portions, into a juice or smoothie and my kids will totally go for it and get the rich mineral and vitamin content that might be too intense in a salad.

    my recent post: how to pray with boldness…

    • Lindsay April 29, 2012 at 6:15 am #

      Great thoughts! That makes alot of sense.

  8. Rebekah April 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    My favorite combo right now is spinach, a frozen banana and orange juice…so refreshing! I buy a large container of spinach at Sam’s and keep it in my freezer and it works great for smoothies!

  9. Lisa April 25, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    I’ve been thinking that I really need to get more greens in my girls but organic spinach is soooooooo expensive and today I had a brainstorm and put DANDELION GREENS in!! We haven’t sprayed our yard since we bought the house 4 years ago, so they are basically organic-ish and FREE!! My kids helped me gather them and they loved the smoothie, by the way!

  10. Jess April 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    One of these days I’m going to try these. I keep thinking it sounds disgusting, but your’s sounds pretty good!

  11. Lisa April 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    I still want to add some herbs for the kiddos, so what would you recommend? I was thinking ginseng, burdock, hawthorn and horsetail. Would there be any disadvantage to this?

  12. Lisa @ live...love...farm April 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    What a great article. We love our green smoothies here at our house. My little guy loves to put the ingredients in. Still trying to perfect the routine of getting them in at the right time. I do like them as the afternoon pick me up but have read that it is good to have a glass of water with lemon when you rise (I do this), then 30 minutes later have a green smoothie. This is to allow our bodies to finish its detox efforts from the nights sleep. Some mornings trying to juggle this and make the kids their breakfast is challenging. would ideally like for it to be a morning meal for all of us but the kids want more after their drink when it is at breakfast. Ideal vs real life :)

  13. Leisel April 23, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Hi Lindsay, I really enjoy your blog and have on occasion made green smoothies- because I heard you mention them! They are wonderful, not great for me for a breakfast, but now I’m learning how to better snack!! I have a loosely related question. Of course eating well is going to improve our health so we don’t have as much illness, but when it comes what to do? As a nurse, I do believe modern medicine has it’s place but I’m happier to slather coconut oil on my baby’s diaper rash than something out of a tube that has many more chemical ingredients. So what about essential oils? I know you use them somewhat but what companies really are reputable. I am wary of those associated with a multi-level marketing scheme. Not saying they don’t have a good product, but it’s also a sales pitch. And what about internal use? Would love to hear your opinions! thanks

  14. Barb April 22, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    What a wonderful introduction to green smoothies. The more I learn about them and make them the more I LOVE them!

    This is another great resource that I have found: http://gotgreensrevolution.com/

    The energy I get from green smoothies is amazing and I crave less junk! How awesome that you are spreading the word – God bless!

  15. Kika April 22, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    In my current studies to become a registered holistic nutritionist, I’ve also come across the information that we should not eat fruit and veg at the same meal. I personally think the benefit of getting these green smoothies and all the nutrition they contain into our bodies, is worth it. My favorite green to add is kale. I like to add cinnamon and some spirulina powder – not enough to alter the color but even a small amount adds nutritional punch. I usually add either hemp hearts or flax oil too.

    We freeze leftovers into popsicle molds for my kids.

  16. Karen April 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Hi Lindsay,

    I just found this a few days ago on another blog and it sounds like a great way to encourage kids to eat healthier. It also has high reviews on amazon.

    http://www.crunchacolor.com

  17. Julie April 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    I use my KitchenAid food processor for smoothies all the time and it works wonderfully! I don’t even own a blender. I think I paid around $100 for it. Just a thought!

  18. Kasha April 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    How do you make your spring mixes last all month? I buy mine and they seem to go out within a week!

  19. Heather April 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    Has anyone tried adding oats to their smoothies? I keep reading about it here and there, the health benefits would be obvious but I’m curious about the taste and texture. The little one in our house is very particular about her food textures.

    • Cindy April 24, 2012 at 3:12 am #

      I used to grind oats in my blender but now I just buy gf oat flour which has a much finer texture. Worth it for us–3 Tablespoons seemed to be the max per blenderful I could get a way with. A little is better than none!

  20. Michelle April 21, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    If you have a garden, beets and carrots are very easy to grow and I use these greens for my green smoothies. With beets, the smoothie turns pink and looks much more palatable (although the flavor still requires a good addition of fruit)!
    I find the texture is also better with ice. Right now I’m using frozen red raspberry leaf tea cubes because I don’t like the flavor but want the benefits.

  21. Cori April 20, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    For those not wanting to spend the money on a Blendtec, I have found that the Magic Bullet works great for smoothies! I purchased mine at Costco for about $40. It is also nice for single serving smoothies on the go. It is very compact for a small kitchen and easy to clean. Costco also has a great return policy if you are unsatisfied or it breaks.

  22. jenn April 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    I am extremely allergic to bananas, what could I use as a good substitute?

    • Joy Y. April 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

      Avocados give a wonderful creamy texture, as the frozen bananas do. They also boost the healthy fats, and nutrition….without any added off flavors!

    • Cindy April 24, 2012 at 3:15 am #

      Banana allergy at this house, too, as well as child who it stops up even with uber fiber intake. However, my kiddos are not big on avocado even as we keep trying. So, anymore ideas, please? :^) We do oat flour, greens, lots of berries, flax oil, etc.

      • Lisa M April 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

        You do not need to add any banana or avocado if you do not want. all her suggestions are great but there are many ways to make them. We commonly use Kale, spinach or some green with lemon, blueberry or raspberry, and a apple or Simply Apple juice. I also like to add a farm fresh egg to mine and a spoonful of fermented cream (Gaps diet.com can give you the info on this). Hope this is helpful

    • Lindsay April 25, 2012 at 1:11 am #

      Check out the links for lots of recipes. You are certainly not limited to bananas. We just love them for the natural sweetness they add. But you can certainly make it with any of your favorite fruits.

  23. Sarah Peterson April 20, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    Hey Lindsay- Just letting you know that I gave you the versatile blogger award on my blog. Here’s a link to it. http://www.lifeshouldcostless.com/2012/04/i-got-this-award-from-stefanie-at.html. Thanks for all of your hard work, you really have made my life better and healthier.

  24. Kenedi - Real Food Whole Life April 20, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    Great tips and food combo ideas! We usually use Kefir as our base. I also take advantage and pack in all my real food supplements, as well. Goodies like nutritional flakes, kelp, Acerola powder, etc.

  25. Betsie April 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Love your post! Thanks!! Just wanted to be sure you know that even though the salad products are “triple washed” they still have things you don’t want to eat. I was reading an article in the last year, I believe it was in The Costco Connection, about how we really should still wash our greens. The grossest part of the article and what got me to wash my greens was that there was still fecal matter from insects on the greens even after the triple washing. Can I say I LOVE my salad spinner?!?!?! I have found really awesome ones at Goodwill-practically brand new-which is nice since they can be pricey!

    • Ellen February 11, 2013 at 5:48 am #

      Just wondering if the insect fecal matter would really come off in the salad spinner if it didn’t through three industrial washings. And I almost wonder if it’s really that bad if it doesn’t. I’ve read a few things about how we are killing our immune systems with our sterile procedures and maybe a dab of insect isn’t terrible? Just thinking.

  26. Amy Walker April 19, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Wow. I’ve been interested in learning more about these. Thanks for this. This is doable. I was really intimidated by the idea but this is just what I needed. Thanks!

  27. Carrie April 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Funny, my two girls love veggies. My husband on the other hand… He would never drink a green smoothie and he is currently oblivous to the special veggies in the pumpkin pancakes Immake for him! nI may try the green smoothies. My youngest has a swallowing disorder and with only 4 teeth it is hard for her to chew the veggies she really loves enough to not choke on them. This would be great!

  28. lyss April 19, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    Mmmm! I need to make more smoothies! I’ve read of freezing smoothies so they’re ready to grab-n-go. I’m wanting to buy some freezer jars to do this for my hubby’s breakfast.

    BTW…My blender does not blend very well. As in, I have to stop and stir a dozen times for a smoothie to blend. I must say I can’t imagine spending $500 on a blender, though! I didn’t know nice ones cost that much. But I’m sure they work really good!

    • Corinne April 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

      I had a powerful blender but it burned out last year and money has been the factor in why I haven’t purchased another. I plan to purchase a good quality immersion blender:

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004NTJL4K/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&m=AAZRLVTNON75Z

      and a stainless steel malt cup or two:

      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KDWG7W/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?ie=UTF8&m=A10DTKM71BK1BU

      Many reviews express how well an immersion blender (good quality one) works great for smoothies. The only downside I can see is that one wouldn’t be able to make as large an amount as with a large blender, but it would allow making each smoothie to a person’s preferences. :)

      Some years back I had a cheap immersion blender and it didn’t chop up anything; totally worthless! I have never been interested in buying one again until my blender bit the dust. I am hoping this more affordable option works well for my needs!

    • Lindsay April 20, 2012 at 8:50 am #

      You can find good deals on Blendtecs at Costco occasionally and through Bed, Bath & Beyond with the 20% off coupon. I got mine through BBB for less around $389 a couple years back. It has certainly seen tons of use and was worth the investment…but you can definitely make green smoothies without one.

    • Kika April 22, 2012 at 2:55 am #

      I wanted a vitamix or blendtec but couldn’t afford it so bought a different blender for $100. I find that if I start with my greens and a bit of liquid and get those chopped pretty well before adding other ingredients, that I can get things quite smooth.

  29. Jill April 19, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Do the greens need to be lightly steamed? I was under the assumption that spinach & kale needed to be lightly steamed. Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things???

  30. Candice Phelps April 19, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    I’ve started to cut back on the ingredients as well, and feel better when I drink them. I’m running a Vitamix giveaway on my blog right now until Monday morning. Thought it might help your readers in their green smoothie adventures. http://www.thecannyhomemaker.com

  31. Rebecca April 19, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    I am curious about kombucha. I love it myself, but is it safe for little ones (as young as two)? I don’t make my own; I buy the GT’s Synergy. Thanks, Lindsay!

  32. Allyson @ A Heart for Home April 19, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    We’ve been drinking green smoothies for years. We’ve been tuck in a rut with our recipe so we’ll definitely try some of your suggestions, especially since our garden is filling up with spinach and lettuces galore.

  33. Teddi April 19, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    Have you ever tried avocado in a green smoothie? So creamy and delicious, full of good fat! Yummy! I make a green smoothie as a post workout snack with avocado, spinach, protein powder, ice and water and it is fantastic! My kids totally eat it too!

    • Lindsay April 20, 2012 at 8:56 am #

      Yes! I have certainly made a number of smoothies with avocado and it does provide such a nice creamy texture. A great addition!

    • Bonnie July 24, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

      Hi Teddi, Would you please be willing to give me the recipe/amounts? Thanks.

  34. Danielle B April 19, 2012 at 7:04 am #

    I like the idea of green smoothies. However, I’ve read about food compilation- not eating fruits with veggies, but that they should be consumed separately (like at different times). So, although you may get so much nutrition packed into a smoothie, is it better to consume the same ingredients spread out throughout the day?? Do you have any info about the order of food consumption?

    • Christine April 19, 2012 at 7:46 am #

      I have read the same thing about not mixing vegetables and fruits. In the book, Green for Life, the author makes the case that leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards. etc.) should be in a separate class from vegetables. Fruit makes greens so much more palatable.I make my children a green smoothie nearly every day, and they always beg for more. Green smoothies are energizing and revitalizing.