There is nothing better than starting the morning with a delicious and nutritious smoothie or green juice that will give you enough energy to face the day and, above all, will help you meet the daily norm of consumption of fruits and vegetables. Green smoothies provide a lot of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels in the blood. Also, they help you lose weight since they keep you full for longer. All the nutrients and minerals that you consume with a shake cleanse the body of stored toxins and strengthen the immune system.
Green smoothies are a great solution not only for vegans and vegetarians, but also for people trying to eat healthier, increase their energy, and save time at the same time. The preparation is very simple and does not require any effort – you just need to place all the ingredients in the mixer or blender and press the button. You can even save more time by making enough for multiple meals throughout the day by storing shakes in a glass jar with a tight lid.
There are endless combinations of ingredients, however, all green smoothies are usually very nutritious and full of vitamins and energy. You can prepare light and low-calorie shake, ideal for adding an extra supply of vitamins and nutrients to your diet, or a more complete shake that can replace a meal.
Start with a liquid base that can be water, coconut water, or plant milk (soy, oatmeal, almond, cashew, hemp, Brazil nut, hazelnut – all options are delicious). Then add several pieces of fruit that in addition to flavor give texture to your smoothie, for example, bananas and mangoes make smoothies creamier and smoother. Then add the wonderful superfoods: green leafy vegetables, green chlorella or spirulina powder, flax seeds, chia seeds, raw cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, etc. If you want a cold smoothie, add ice or use frozen fruit. The options are endless and these are just some of them.
Use correct ingredients
Not all ingredients are optimal for a healthy shake, so here are some tips on what foods to include or not to prepare a delicious shake.
1. Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables should be present in all your smoothies, as they contain many vitamins and minerals that help you detoxify the body, improve the digestive system and strengthen the immune system. They have hardly any caloric value and provide dietary fiber, therefore, they are ideal for people who want to monitor their weight and eat healthily. Choose from spinach, chard, kale or kale, romaine lettuce, collard greens, watercress, dandelion, beet, carrot or mustard greens, borage, sorrel, coriander, parsley, etc. and do not forget to vary them every day, since your body can get tired if you repeat only one type of leaf. Depending on the size of the shake you want to prepare, add 2 or 3 cups of leaves. You can use both fresh and frozen leaves.
2. Berries and fruits of the forest
They are rich in fiber so they will help keep you full throughout the morning. Also, their glycemic index is shallow, and they help prevent diabetes. The best of all is that they are fruits that add more nutrients and antioxidants to your diet, prevent heart disease and hypertension, some types of cancer, infections and help control weight. Use 1 or 2 servings of the following fruits in your smoothies: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, grapes, cherries, black or red currant, goji berries, or acai puree. You can use them both fresh and frozen.
Chia, hemp, and flax seeds are an excellent source of fiber that also contain omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and magnesium. Chia and hemp seeds are also good sources of iron and contain all the essential amino acids, which is why they are considered complete protein. Add two to three tablespoons of hemp seeds, several tablespoons of chia, or a tablespoon of flax seeds to your next smoothie recipe. You can also add pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds for another nutrient-dense option.
4. Nut butter
Nut butter or butter is a good source of healthy fats to keep your metabolism and brain fueled throughout the day. It is best to use raw butter, as they do not contain extra salt or oil, but if you do not have the possibility to make them yourself, opt for an organic brand. Nut butter has a high caloric intake, so if you also plan to add some seeds, limit the butter to 2-3 tablespoons after the shake. Use whatever cream you like – peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, coconut, walnuts, or pecan. If you don’t like butter simply add 2-3 tablespoons of raw nuts to your smoothie instead.
Vegetables will add more texture and consistency to your smoothie. Use your imagination and be guided by your tastes. Add a couple of frozen broccoli florets, some carrot or pumpkin pieces, and even a piece of zucchini or beets to the blender. Vegetables will provide a greater amount of fiber to keep you full and at the same time take care of your health, due to their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying properties.
6. Fresh fruit
If you fancy something sweeter than berries, add some fruit to the smoothie – bananas, apples, kiwis, pears, oranges, pineapple, papaya, mango, peaches, melon, watermelon, etc. Avoid adding too much fruit to keep your blood sugar levels healthy. A good tip is to add 1 cup of fruit for every 3 cups of vegetables and green leafy vegetables.
A superfood is a food extremely high in phytonutrients and antioxidants like vitamins A and E and beta-carotene, and they can help reduce the risk of heart disease and other health conditions. They also add flavor, so you can choose from many options that will give different flavors to your shakes: raw cocoa, maca, superfruit powder, like acai and camu camu, raw coconut, algae, like spirulina and chlorella, aloe vera, rice protein, carob, durian, ginseng, goji berries, green tea, guarana, lucúma, rooibos, etc. It’s a good idea to buy raw, organic superfoods so that you can get the best benefits.
8. Vegetal protein
If you practice sports or train and need extra protein, add several tablespoons (30g) of vegetable protein to your shake – hemp, pea, rice, soy protein, etc. which also often have vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate flavor. Plant protein is also a good option if you don’t use nut and seed butter or butter in your smoothies. Make sure to choose a plant-based protein without sugar and genetically modified ingredients. While protein is not necessary if you are on a healthy vegan diet, it will give you additional satiety and added stamina when training.