Everyone loves the idea of a green smoothie to start their day. But the idea of a green smoothie can be quite different from how a green smoothie actually looks and tastes. Many of my clients want to start the day with a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables, but don’t know where to start or simply can’t stand the taste of a green smoothie. Here are some simple tips, tricks, and swaps you can make for a green smoothie you’ll look forward to enjoying every day!
1. Make Sure You Add Enough Fruit
When you first start making your smoothies, it’s okay if roughly 50-60% of your smoothie is fruit. When I first started making green smoothies, I would easily add two or three whole pieces of fruit to make it sweet enough. But over time, I learned how to cut back on the amount of fruit I used and up my intake of greens. Now, all I use in my green smoothies is a green apple and a handful of berries. There are some of the lowest sugar fruits you can use and can help avoid a sudden rise in blood sugar.
2. Choose Milder Greens First
You’ll see recipes online that use dandelion greens or loads of kale as the base for a smoothie. At first, this might be a bit too ambitious. I recommend trying greens like spinach, romaine lettuce, and other butter lettuces at first that have a much milder flavor. This is also a good tip for if you’re trying to cut back on your sugar intake and lower the amount of fruit you use. Greens like spinach, celery, and even Swiss chard are much easier than kale for your transition.
3. Stevia or a Little Raw Honey Could Be Your New Best Friend
I’m not the first health nut to be weary of artificial sweeteners. There have been numerous studies talking about how these products can lead cancers, tumors, neurological problems, and stomach ailments to say the least. The good news is there are healthy alternatives out there that won’t cause a spike in blood sugar and can help you get over the green smoothie hump.
Stevia is a South American plant that has taken storm in the health food world. You can find it in powders, granulated mixes, and liquid extract forms. Adding a few drops of diabetic-friendly stevia could be all you need to make your smoothie enjoyable. Each week, try to use less and less stevia until you don’t use any at all. Even though stevia is natural, it’s not good to rely on any sort of sweetener.
The other sweetener you can try in moderation is raw, organic honey. I know this option isn’t vegan for all my vegan friends out there, but I really think there are benefits to consuming bee products like bee pollen, royal jelly, and raw honey.
Raw honey is an excellent source of enzymes, B vitamins, and can even help with allergies if you purchase it from a local source. Remember, it’s still sugar! Try not to go overboard and stick to two teaspoons at most.
4. Spirulina Can Help Release Your Inner Green God (or Goddess)
Maybe you haven’t heard of this amazing super food. But spirulina is all the rage these days. It’s technically an algae, but don’t let that weird little fact gross you out. Spirulina was actually the primary source of protein for the Aztecs for about 10,000 years. Besides protein, spirulina is also a great source of vitamins, trace minerals, and folate (i.e. the stuff in greens that makes them green and healthy!). Adding a couple of teaspoons of it to your green smoothie can help you get all that green goodness in your smoothie even if you’re using less nutrient-dense greens like lettuce.
5. Adding Lemon and Ginger Can Help Take the Edge Off the Green
Don’t just sip on ginger tea with lemon when you’ve got a cold. Adding some lemon or ginger can definitely enhance the flavor of your smoothie without adding tons of added sugar and can even take the edge of the ‘green’ flavor you might not be so fond of. I recommend the juice of half a lemon and a piece of fresh ginger roughly the size of your thumb.
Green smoothies might feel like foreign territory at first. But once you get the hang of this and your personal preferences, it’s a great way to start the day full of energy and nutrients. What are some of your favorite green smoothie recipes!?