Let's be honest. While veggies are uber important components of our everyday diet, we don't often turn to these ingredients because they're tasty.
Some can be bitter and, if prepared incorrectly, others can be bland and terribly underwhelming.
As a result, according to the CDC, only 9% of Americans actually get enough veggies--that means at least two to three cups--into their daily diet (1).
Our answer: add great veggies to your smoothies for a delicious and convenient solution.
But if you have some hesitation--even fear of the green smoothie--don't worry, we get it. One bad taste of an unbalanced recipe or a general lack of enthusiasm for veggies can make it hard to take the plunge.
Luckily, we have the perfect recipe to spark a new love for green smoothies this Fall: The Green Monster smoothie. Its dark green leaves and stem are infested with antioxidants that will keep the creepy crawler germs away!
So come, trust us; open the attic door and welcome....the Green Monster!
Thicken Your Green Smoothie with Avocado
This smoothie begins with 1 fresh avocado. Yes an avocado! That ghoulishly green fruit that’s packed with the HEALTHY monounsaturated fat!
Health benefits: Avocados contains pantothenic acid, potassium, magnesium, fiber, vitamin K, copper, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C and monounsaturated fat (2).
Healthful tip: Avocados add a nice thick layer to your smoothie, and with the added good fats, it makes it a more satisfying and lasting meal. This means a happier wait until your next meal.
How to Sweeten Your Smoothie While Keeping it Healthy
Next, the Green Monster needs ½ cup frozen chopped pineapple.
Pineapple is one of our favorite fruits for smoothies because it masks the bitterness of veggies like spinach or kale and adds sweetness to smoothies.
We like adding our Healthful Seasons Spirit of the Morning Smoothie Enhancer to this smoothie for added flavor and nutrition, too. This blend uses acai, banana, lucuma, and maca to double up the antioxidant punch of the smoothie. Hello mood and immunity boost!
Top it off with maple syrup (which has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar) and you won't be able to believe that you’re drinking greens.
Health benefits: Pineapples are high in vitamin C, which your body uses to process collagen (and collagen has loads of health and beauty benefits for women) (3). Pineapples are also high in manganese and a good source of copper, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, fiber, folate, and pantothenic acid (4). With its high vitamin C content, pineapple is a water-soluble disease-fighting antioxidant that protects against free radicals in the body. It also contains bromelain, a group of enzymes, which help break down proteins. Bromelain has also been studied for its potential to fight colon cancer and suppress breast cancer cells (5).
Healthful tip: Prepare pineapple ahead of time so that you’re always ready to add to your smoothies. For tips on cutting and preparing a pineapple without breaking a sweat, check out our Poolside Pineapple Smoothie blog recipe.
Making a Smoothie with Yellow Squash
We're also going to add in ½ cup frozen chopped yellow summer squash.
Health benefits: Summer squash is high in copper and manganese; a great source of vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin K; and a good source of vitamin B1, zinc, omega-3 fats, vitamin B3, vitamin B2, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, choline, and protein (6) .
How to prepare for smoothie: Cut squash in slices/cubes and add fresh to your smoothie or place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for later. To preserve larger amounts of squash, puree and freeze in ice cube trays. Add 1 or 2 cubes to a typical smoothie.
Healthful tip: Squash adds a creamy texture to your smoothie, which makes it feel heavier and more satisfying.
How Much Spinach Should Be Added To A Green Smoothie?
For this recipe, we like 1 frozen cube of pureed spinach or 2 cups fresh baby spinach.
Spinach not only adds to the frog-green coloring, but it also offers antioxidants to fight off those free radicals so you can be a bad-ass all day long.
Health benefits: Spinach is super high in antioxidants (beta-carotene & lutein). Plus, it rates among the highest vegetables in sources of iron, magnesium, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, calcium, and potassium. Spinach is also a good source of vitamin C and phosphorus. This leafy green truly is a superfood (7)!
How to prepare for smoothie: Wash in cold water and drain. Inspect leaves. Add 1 to 2 handfuls of raw. fresh spinach to a smoothie. To prepare larger amounts, puree and freeze in ice cube trays. For one smoothie, add 1 to 2 pureed and frozen cubes
Healthful tip: Spinach is incredibly healthy and offers the highest source of iron and magnesium.
Add Flax Seeds to Your Smoothie for an Omega Boost
Now we need 2 tbsp. flaxseed meal.
Health benefits: Flax seeds are one of the richest plant sources of omega-3 out there. They are also a great source of fiber and lignans. Together, these nutrients make flax seeds a potentially valuable protective factor for heart disease; breast, lung, colon and ovarian cancer; arthritis and diabetes (8, 9). The lignans (plant chemicals) also have antioxidant effects which may help with menopausal relief and prevent heart disease and cancer (10, 11). In addition, these seeds provide vitamin B1, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.
Turn to Coconut Milk for a Low-Calorie Dairy Alternative in this Green Smoothie
For the liquid base, we're turning to ¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk.
We’re talking about the rich dairy alternative that you can find in the refrigerated aisle.
Though no one can resist canned coconut milk in delicious curries, sauces, and desserts, these products have very different nutrition profiles. Made by the same process--soaking shredded white “meat” from mature, brown coconuts in hot water and then straining out the coconut pulp--the difference here is the level of dilution.
Add Lime to Your Smoothie for a Fresh Twist
We also love just a dash of fresh lime juice here--3 tablespoons to be exact.
Healthful benefits: Limes are high in vitamin C (again, essential for processing collagen in the body). Limes also contain a good source of folate and smaller amounts of water-soluble B-complex vitamins and fiber. In addition, limes are high in antioxidants and anti-cancer properties. These little green powerhouses have been studied as anticancer agents (12).