Drinking a daily green smoothie was THE most powerful, life-changing habit that I ever picked up!
Green smoothies are super healthy and super easy to make, and they just might change your life like they did mine.
Here is my EPIC guide to green smoothies!
What Is A Green Smoothie?
A green smoothie is a smoothie using fresh fruits and dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, chard, collards, and even dandelion greens (my favorite!).
These smoothies are naturally dairy-free, using creamy fruits like bananas, mangoes or papayas to give them a smooth texture.
Why Green Smoothies?
There are many reasons to drink green smoothies, but here are my top 5:
1) Easiest Way To Get 5+ Servings Of Fruits And Vegetables!
If you struggle with salads and eating green, you’ll find green smoothies exciting and doable!
2) Weight Loss!
Weight loss becomes much easier when I drink at least one green smoothie every day (I lost 40 pounds). Thousands of my green smoothie challenge participants would agree!
3) Many Health Benefits & Immune-Boosting!
The immune-boosting benefits of green smoothies mean that I get sick a LOT less often, and may also lower my risk for many health conditions such as diabetes and cancer. Read more about the top 20 health benefits of green smoothies!
4) Natural Energy Without Caffeine!
Green smoothies provide natural energy without caffeine. I no longer rely on coffee to get through the day and my energy levels are through the roof!
5) Quick & Easy To Make!
They are quick and easy to make, and portable. And delicious!
Click the image below to try 25 of the best green smoothie recipes…ever!
How To Make THE Perfect Green Smoothie – Step By Step Guide
Ready to start blending?
Want to make sure your smoothie is delicious, and not bitter…or funky?
Here’s a quick primer on how to make THE perfect green smoothie!
Step 1 – Add A Liquid
Start with 8-10 ounces (237-296 milliliters) of either plain water, coconut water, or almond milk (homemade recipe). You can also use organic soy milk.
I recommend skipping the dairy (that includes yogurt) when making green smoothies.
Step 2 – Add A Creamy Base Fruit
For a creamy green smoothie, add one of the following fruits: banana, mango, peach, pear, apple or 1 cup of papaya. These fruits have a “creamy” texture that will give your blend a smoothie texture.
Also try adding 1/4 avocado for some extra creaminess and heart-healthy fat.
Step 3 – Add 1-2 Flavor Fruits
For delicious flavor combinations, blend your base fruits with berries or more water-rich fruits like oranges, kiwifruits, berries and pineapples.
You can also add additional base fruits if you want (may thicken your smoothie more).
My favorite green smoothie flavor blends are:
– 1 Banana (base fruit) with 1 cup strawberries
– 1 Mango (base fruit) with 1 cup pineapple
– 1 Pear (base fruit) with 1 orange
– 1 Apple (base fruit) with 1/2 to 1 cup blueberries
Step 4 – Pulse It Now!
Hold down the “Pulse” button until the ingredients are lightly mixed into a “sludge”.
Doing this before adding the greens will make it easier for you and your blender. This step is not necessary if you are using a high end blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec.
Step 5 – Add Leafy Greens!
It’s not a green smoothie without a handful or two of dark, leafy greens!
If you are brand new to green smoothies, start with fresh baby spinach since it has the most mild flavor.
Once you have a few green smoothies behind you, try out the nutritional rock stars like dandelion greens (my favorite), kale, chard, collards, parsley (yep!), and even romaine lettuce.
The “Magic” Ratio: I find that green smoothies taste the best when you use 60% sweet fruit to 40% greens, by volume.
Step 6 – Blend It Up!
Blend on high for anywhere between 30-60 seconds or until all ingredients are whirling away, your smoothie turns bright (or dark) green, and it’s smooth as silk!
- Too thick? Add some extra liquid and blend for a few seconds to thin.
- Is your blender struggling to make things smooth? Try blending your greens and liquid together first, then add the fruit and blend a second time.
- Looking for a better blender? Here are my blender recommendations for any budget.
- Too bitter? Add another half a banana, orange, 1/4 cup pineapple, or other sweet fruit. Stick with fresh baby spinach, and let your taste buds acclimate before moving on to “pro greens” like kale and dandelion.
Powerful Green Smoothie Boosters!
While these add-ons are purely optional, they each provide added benefits that make my green smoothies even better.
Here are 8 of my favorite green smoothie boosters (and why I use them):
1) Protein Powder
Protein powder boosts the protein content of your green smoothie while making the blend more filling and satisfying.
I have used a lot of different protein powders and my absolute favorite is from NutriBiotic. It’s a great value (more for your money than most brands) and high quality. It’s available in plain, vanilla (my favorite), and chocolate.
2) Cacao Powder
I use raw cacao powder to give my green smoothies a healthy, chocolate flavor. It also helps me maintain focus and energy without the drawbacks of caffeinated coffee (jitters, dehydration, caffeine addiction).
When I need to be super productive (like when I’m writing a blog post or e-book), I’ll add 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder to my morning blend.
Browse green smoothies with cacao.
3) Chia Seeds
Loaded with healthy omega-3s, calcium, and fiber, chia seeds are a great boost to your green smoothies. I used them daily.
Read more about the health benefits of chia seeds and how to use them in a green smoothie.
4) Goji Berries
Goji berries provide protein and energy without bulking up your green smoothie. They are my go-to smoothie booster for a pre/post-workout shake!
Read more about the health benefits of goji berries and how to use them.
5) Maca Root Powder
Maca is a root vegetable that is a great smoothie booster if you want to boost energy, stamina, and libido. It has a distinctive butterscotch flavor that can be an bit of an acquired taste, but the benefits may we worth it.
Those with thyroid issues should be cautious with this supplement.
Read more about the benefits of maca and how to use it in a green smoothie.
6) Sea Vegetables (Dulse, Kelp)
I use dulse flakes, a type of dried sea vegetable, in a lot of my green smoothies. I also add them to soups, rice dishes, and stir fry.
Dulse (and kelp) is an excellent source of iodine. If you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet, or you do not use iodized table salt, I HIGHLY recommend that you incorporate sea vegetables like dulse into your diet in order to support strong thyroid function.
It is critically important to be selective about where you get your sea vegetables from. Read the packaging and ensure that they have been tested for heavy metals and other contaminants that unfortunately affect our oceans. The brand I use and trust is Main Coast (pictured).
Top 4 Common Green Smoothie Mistakes
Here are the top 4, most common green smoothie mistakes I see people make:
1) Using Sweetened Almond Milk: If you use almond milk, or any other plant milk in your green smoothies, make sure that it is unsweetened.
Sweetened almond milk can add 7 grams or more of added sugars to your green smoothies.
2) Using Honey, Agave Syrup, or Maple Syrup To Sweeten: While often peddled as a “healthy” sweetener, or even as a “superfood”, agave syrup is neither. It’s a concentrated source of sugar. It’s nothing more than a high-fructose syrup.
The same goes for honey and maple syrup – even though they are natural sugars, they are still added sugars.
If your smoothie doesn’t taste sweet enough, then add some sweet fruit like banana, kiwifruit, pineapple, orange, or blueberries.
3) Using Dairy (Milk & Yogurt): Dairy is controversial. I get it. I prefer not to use it, and I don’t recommend blending your green smoothies with it.
I don’t use dairy for a few reasons:
- I feel better when I am dairy-free. The longer I go dairy free, the more pronounced this feeling is.
- Adding yogurt or milk to your green smoothie adds a lot of calories. There’s a potential to turn a green smoothie into a diet buster.
- Dairy and acid doesn’t go well together, and since I LOVE using oranges, pineapples, and kiwifruits, it’s just best to leave the dairy out of it.
You can actually get as much, if not more, calcium in a green smoothie as a glass of milk.
4) Sweetening with Dates: Okay, I’m just going to come out and say it: I don’t like to see dates used in smoothies – especially green smoothies.
Yes, dates can be nutritious. But they have two downsides that I don’t like.
- Dates are super sweet. Drop one or two in a green smoothie and it will satisfy even the most ravenous sweet tooth. But because dates are so sweet, they don’t train your taste buds, and your body, to appreciate the flavors of less sweetened foods – which I feel is important.
- Dates are as close to being “added sugars” as you can get for a whole food. While the sugar in dates are naturally occurring, it is highly concentrated. For example, a medium banana weighs about 118 grams, of which, only 14 grams is sugar. Not a problem at all. BUT, a little 24 gram medjool date has 16 grams of sugar. So toss 2 or 3 in your green smoothie and you are needlessly adding almost 50 grams of sugar to an otherwise healthy breakfast!
So I don’t really consider dates as a health smoothie ingredient.
Cautionary Tales: Here are some hilariously disgusting green smoothie fails that I have made over the years.
Have A Question? Consult the Green Smoothie Common Questions Below!
Here are some frequently asked questions about green smoothies, health, and nutrition.
Green Smoothie Weight Loss Questions
Here’s the ultimate guide to weight loss with green smoothies.
Do you have meal plans that I can follow? Yes, I do! I have a 28-day green smoothie and plant-based, whole foods meal plan called Reset 28.
Can’t Lose Weight: Why am I not losing weight despite drinking green smoothies daily?.
Green Smoothies & Calories/Sugar/Fructose/Carbs
Calories: Many people ask me if a 350-calorie green smoothie has too many calories. The answer is no, not if you’re drinking your green smoothie as a meal (which is what I do and recommend).
Green smoothie meals should have no fewer than 300 calories. If your daily calorie requirements are 1600 per day, and you eat three times per day, you’ll need 533 calories per meal.
Sugar Concerns: Is The Sugar In Fruit Bad For You? – This in-depth article looks at the most up-to-date scientific literature on the subject of dietary sugar, fructose, fruit consumption and how it relates to weight loss, obesity and diabetes.
Green Smoothie Nutrition & Health Goals
Need Iron: How to get more iron in your smoothies.
Muscle-Building: Use protein-rich green smoothie boosters like protein powder, spirulina, goji berries, chia seeds, and leafy greens.
Please note: Adding protein to your green smoothies will not automatically build muscle, however. You also need to actively pursue strength training, to signal your body to build muscle.
Detox & Cleansing
Should I do a green smoothie-only diet? I do not recommend doing a long-term green smoothie-only diet. A green smoothie cleanse (not to exceed 10 days) is good for busting through a weight loss plateau, or kick starting a change in diet and lifestyle. However, attempting to do a 100% green smoothie diet long term can lead to problems.
Are you experiencing detox symptoms? Find out what they mean and what to do about them.
Uh Oh! Something Went Wrong…
Gas & Bloating: What do do about gas and bloating after drinking a green smoothie.
Constipation: Why am I constipated after drinking a green smoothie?
Not Losing Weight: If you started drinking green smoothies but you’re not losing weight, or you are gaining weight, then read this.
Blending & Smoothie Making Tips
Banana Substitutes: Try using mango, papaya, pear, apple, or peaches. For more tips (and recipes), visit: Banana-Free Smoothie Recipe Tips
Mango Substitutes: Try using bananas, papaya, pear, apple, or peaches.
Best Time Of Day: What is the best time of day to have a smoothie?
Cold Weather: Cold weather green smoothie ideas.
Is it okay to use frozen fruit in a smoothie? YES!
My green smoothies come out too foamy! In your next smoothie, be sure to use a good base fruit like banana or mango. Add no more than 4-6 ounces of water (if using two bananas) and steer clear of watery fruit like citrus, watermelon and grapes.
If your smoothie turns out frothy, it’s probably your blender. Low-cost blenders tend to whip excess air into a smoothie, making it frothy or foamy.
Buying, Storing & Keeping Greens Fresh
How Long Will Green Smoothies Last In the Fridge? Green smoothies will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but you will lose some nutrients as it sits in the fridge. It will also not taste as fresh after the first day and water separation may occur.
Some people make up a big batch of smoothie and drink it over 2 to 3 days. Personally, we don’t like the way smoothies taste after the first day. Fresh is best!
If you are looking for ways to save money on your grocery bill, try these tips.
What I Eat When I Am Not Drinking Green Smoothies
I am frequently asked about what other foods I eat, besides green smoothies.
Green Smoothies For Specific Medical Conditions
I am not a medical doctor, so I cannot “prescribe” green smoothies or any other food to treat a medical condition that you have.
However, there is some information on this website that may help you. If you have…
Diabetes: Here are some diabetic-friendly green smoothie recipes submitted by readers who have type 2 diabetes.
Also, look up green smoothie recipes for allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis & gout, cancer, diabetes, fibromyalsia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, PMS, and stroke.
Green Smoothie Controversies
If you have read something that has you concerned about your green smoothie habit:
Green Smoothie Controversies Addressed: This post goes through all of the major controversies surrounding green smoothies including sugar content, carbs, weight loss/gain, diabetes, teeth, oxalic acid/oxalates, nutrients & fiber destroyed by blending, food combining, and blending vs. chewing.
Blending vs. Juicing: Which is better, green smoothies or green juices?
Rotating Greens: Why (and how) you should rotate your leafy greens.
How many green smoothies should I drink in a day?
I recommend drinking at least one green smoothie every day. I have found that people get the most benefit from replacing one meal each day with a green smoothie (preferably breakfast).
You can replace up to two meals each day with a green smoothie, provided each smoothie is at least 350 calories (for a woman) or 400-500 calories (for a man), even if weight loss is the goal.
I do not recommend replacing all meals with a green smoothie or doing a green smoothie-only diet.
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