We’ve all heard the old adage, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but until a few years ago I didn’t really abide by it. In fact, the first thing you consume to break an 8-10-hour fast should replenish your body with all the nutrients and energy it will need to start your day on the right foot. With that in mind, here are some reasons why a green smoothie can do this for you and some tips to get started.
Dark leafy greens are trending now (I can count on two hands the number of kale-related jokes I’ve heard on some sitcom or comedy special or another), and you may have been incorporating them more in your cooking, but do you know why? Greens are among the most nutrient dense foods in the world by calorie. They support your immune system, clean your blood, reduce inflammation, help rid the body of toxins, improve circulation and are alkalizing. You get a lot of bang for your buck, so to speak, by eating a variety of them regularly.
This is probably an easier sell. Smoothies (when done right) are tasty! Did you also know they are hydrating, easy on your digestive system, rich in phytochemicals and fiber? They are also super versatile – you can take them on the go, you can make them the night before, you can pour them into a bowl with yummy toppings like granola, shredded coconut and fresh fruit, and they are a super easy way to ensure at least one of your (and your kids’) meals is full of the good stuff.
Things to Look Forward to…
As mentioned above, green smoothies are an easy way to pack nutrient-dense foods into a meal. So it follows that consuming them often leads to benefits from these amazing foods. These include increased energy, better sleep, clear skin, weight loss, clear thinking and craving reduction. I’ve seen these results in several people I’ve worked with and they’re what motivate me to continue this trend. I just feel better when I’m having a green smoothie daily, and enjoying one first thing in the morning starts my day on the right track. One friend shared that after a few mornings of green smoothies in her household, her kids started craving them and begged her to make them.
This is really simple. A good way to start is with:
- 1 cup of hydrating liquid (coconut water, filtered water, unsweetened almond milk, etc.)
- 1 cup of dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards, lettuce, etc. – try to rotate these from one week to another)
- 1/2 cup fruit, fresh or frozen (mango, berries, dark cherries, melon)
- 1 banana
- 1/2 cup ice (optional)
The formula above is for a really basic smoothie, but to add more nutrients and make it more filling, I add healthy fats and protein (such as chia seeds, hemp hearts, nut/seed butter, avocado, sometimes hemp protein powder). You may want to experiment with different combinations and amounts of these to find a smoothie that is satiating and energizing for you. You can start with 1 tablespoon of one or two and go from there. The key here is to load this up with healthful foods, not junky ones, so be wary of ingredients with added sugars (like juices, some protein powders, yogurts, etc.).
There are a few things you can do to incorporate green smoothies in your diet easily. Planning ahead is a good start, even washing and prepping your ingredients ahead of time can be helpful. Frozen fruit and veggies make putting a smoothie together super fast and easy. A smoothie will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 24 hours if kept in an airtight container, even better if it’s filled as much as possible, so some find it practical to make them ahead the night before. And lastly, find a healthy smoothie recipe you like? Just add greens to it and it’s a green smoothie. It’s really not complicated and there are SO many resources online nowadays. Just Google “healthy green smoothies” and you’ll find dozens of recipes.
Here’s a collection of smoothies to get you started:
18 Vegan Smoothies
And here’s a fun instagram account with loads of beautiful, inspiring smoothies that are just so pretty to look at. Recipes are included in most posts:
What are some of your favourite green smoothie combos or ingredients? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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