If you have difficulty eating enough leafy green vegetables I highly encourage giving green smoothies a try. Green smoothies are basically fruit smoothies that are blended with fresh leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or swiss chard. They can be a simple and easy way to incorporate more leafy green vegetables into your diet.

  • Follow this guide on the basics of green smoothies to learn:
  • The benefits of drinking green smoothies
  • What to buy to make green smoothies
  • A formula for making green smoothies
  • Four simple green smoothie recipes.

 

green smoothie

Benefits of Green Smoothies

Consistently eating dark leafy green vegetables is one of the best habits that you can do to maintain your health.

Drinking green smoothies increases your intake of leafy green vegetables, which are an excellent source of folic acid, iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K.

Green smoothies are an easy way to get multiple servings of vegetables.

There are days when the spinach in my smoothie is the only vegetable I get that day. This is especially true if I didn’t meal prep much that week or I’m unusually busy and my time to cook is limited. On those types of days, I quickly blend a green smoothie and easily get two or more servings of veggies.

They also make a nutrient dense snack. Most weekdays I drink my green smoothie when I get home from work. Since I’m usually hungry at this time, drinking a smoothie prevents me from mindlessly snacking on less healthy options while I make dinner.  

Finally, if you have a hard time eating enough leafy greens because you don’t like the taste, the fruit in your green smoothie will help to mask the taste. This will allow you to consume several servings of leafy greens while drinking a smoothie that tastes more like fruit than vegetables.  

 

Stock Your Kitchen to Make Green Smoothies

There are several ingredients that you should keep on hand in your kitchen to make it easy to whip together a green smoothie.

Greens

Buy weekly: a bag or clam-shell container of pre-washed greens.

To make a green smoothie you obviously need some greens!

Each week I buy a few bags of pre-washed organic baby spinach so I can grab a few handfuls to add to smoothies.

If you are new to making green smoothies stick to milder tasting greens. Baby spinach would be the mildest greens to use. Stronger tasting greens like kale or arugula are difficult to mask even if you add fruit.

I’ve experimented with using different types of greens, and spinach is still my favorite. Every week I buy at least 10 oz. of spinach and use most of it in smoothies.

To consistently make green smoothies, buy at least one of the following dark leafy greens each week.

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Arugula
  • Bok choy
  • Beet greens
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Dandelion green

Frozen Fruit

Buy weekly: one or two bags of frozen fruit.

Fruit will add sweetness to your green smoothie. Although you can absolutely use fresh fruit, It’s easiest to keep several bags of frozen fruit in the freezer.

Frozen fruit tends to be cheaper than fresh fruit and allows you to use fruits that aren’t in season year-round.

Each week I usually buy a bag of frozen mixed berries and a bag of some other fruit, such as frozen mango.  

Bananas are great for adding a creamy texture to your smoothies. Buy some extra bananas and freeze them. Just be sure to peel and slice them before putting them in the freezer.

The following fruits work well in smoothies.

  • Bananas
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries)
  • Cherries
  • Mango chunks
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches

Watch the Sugar Content in Your Smoothies

Although green smoothies are highly nutritious, adding a lot of fruit to your smoothie can quickly increase the amount of sugar that you consume.

Sugar content from fruit can add up surprisingly fast.

If you want to minimize the amount of sugar in your green smoothie, stick to lower sugar fruits such as berries, citrus fruits, and peaches.

Bananas and tropical fruits such as mango and pineapple are higher in sugar so use less of these fruits or leave them out if you want to keep the sugar content down.

Also, avoid using fruit juice for the liquid in your smoothies. Juice is high in sugar and doesn’t provide you with the fiber you get from eating the fruit whole.  

Non-dairy Milk

Buy weekly: a container of non-dairy milk.

You’re going to need to add some liquid to your green smoothie.

Each week I buy a half-gallon container of almond milk. If you don’t use a lot of non-dairy milk you can also buy the 32 oz. shelf-stable boxes and keep them in your pantry until you’re ready to use them. Just be sure to refrigerate them after they’re opened.

Any of the following non-dairy milks would work in green smoothies.

  • Almond milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Soy milk
  • Hemp milk

Protein Powders and Superfood Powders (Optional)

Buy as needed: a container of protein powder or superfoods powder.

These are not necessary but they can add some extra nutrients. I’m a huge proponent for primarily getting your nutrients from whole real food, but protein and superfood powders may provide some added benefit.  

Protein powder is an easy way to make your green smoothie more filling and hold you over longer.

Many protein powders also have thickening agents in them so adding some protein powder will thicken up your smoothie as well.  

Try any of the following protein powders.

  • Whey protein powder (contains dairy)
  • Pea protein powder
  • Soy protein powder
  • Hemp protein powder
  • Brown rice protein powder

To learn more about the pros and cons of different protein powders, read guide that I wrote about vegan protein powder options.

Superfood powders are also optional, but they can add some additional flavor and nutrients.

Try any of the following superfood powders in your smoothie:

  • Maca powder
  • Spirulina powder
  • Matcha powder
  • Cacao powder
  • Greens powder
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground turmeric

green smoothie

Equipment

You just need a blender. While you would probably get the smoothest consistency from a more expensive high powered blender, it’s not essential.

To help get things moving, add the liquid to the blender first, followed by the fruit, and then the greens and any powders you use. Then start blending.

If you are adding frozen fruit or ice you may need to stop blending after a few seconds and add some more liquid to help get things going. As much as I love my Nutribullet, this is a common issue I have when I add frozen ingredients.

 

How to Make Green Smoothies: A Formula for Beginners

Now that you know what ingredients to buy for making green smoothies, here’s a formula that you can follow to assemble a green smoothie anytime.

Having the formula to use allows you to use whatever ingredients you have on hand.

You can assemble everything right before you blend it or you can put all the ingredients in the blender container ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to make your smoothie.

On most weekdays, I add everything to the blender container in the morning before I go to work, and then keep the container in the fridge. That way when I get home all I need to do is blend everything.

That small step of assembling the ingredients ahead of time vastly increases the chances that I will drink a green smoothie that day.  

 

smoothie ingredients in blender

 

Step 1: Add 1 cup of liquid

Use one of the non-dairy milk types listed above or add water if you don’t have any non-diary milk.

If you want a thinner consistency, add more liquid. Start with an extra ¼ cup of liquid and then keep adding more until you reach your desired consistency.

Step 2: Add 1-2 cups of fruit

Fresh or frozen fruit will work.

Fruit will give your green smoothie some sweetness and help to mask the flavor of the greens if find leafy greens to taste bitter.

Use less fruit or stick to lower sugar fruits if you want to minimize the sugar content in your smoothie.  

Step 3: Add 2-3 cups of leafy greens

The step that makes your smoothie a green smoothie!

If you don’t want to measure out your greens, add two big handfuls of greens.

Step 4 (optional): Add protein and/or superfood powders

The servings size will vary by type of protein powder, but it will typically be between 2-4 tablespoons. Most protein powders come with a little plastic scoop that you can use.

For superfood powders, add 1-2 teaspoons for each type of powder.

Step 5 (optional): Add a thickener

If you want a thicker smoothie, especially if you don’t use protein powder,  you can add one of the following:

  • ¼ – ½ of an avocado
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 tablespoons nut butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons chia seeds

 

Simple Green Smoothie Recipes

The green smoothie formula teaches you how to make a green smoothie using whatever types of greens, fruit, and non-dairy milk you’d like

However, you may still want some green smoothie combination ideas.

Here are four simple green smoothie recipes that you can follow.

 

Basic Green Smoothie

Blend together:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons of any plant-based protein powder (I used hemp)
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder (optional)

 

basic green smoothie

 

Mixed Berry Smoothie

Blend together:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1.5 cups mixed frozen berries
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2  tablespoons vanilla protein powder

 

berry green smoothie ingredients

 

Pina Colada Smoothie

Blend together:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1.5 cups pineapple (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder

 

pina colada smoothie

 

Tropical Green Smoothie

Blend together:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons protein powder

 

tropical green smoothie

 

 

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