Even though being a mom often leaves us short on extra time, every now and then we’ve got to take a moment and make sure we are also taking care of ourselves. I recently had such a moment. I was a couple months out from birthing my second baby, was starting to feel “normal” again, but still in “I-deserve-comfort-food” mode – ie – lots of buttered biscuits, cheese and ice cream. I was definitely not getting enough fruits and vegetables and my diet was certainly not helping my energy level! (or helping me get rid of the extra baby weight!) I brainstormed on ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables back into my diet that would take little time and effort considering I now had an infant to care for along with my high energy 3-year-old. Enter (drum roll please)...
The Green Smoothie!
What’s a green smoothie? Well, it is not necessarily green in color, but it includes green leafy vegetables along with fruits that are commonly used to make smoothies. Yes, I saidgreen leafy vegetables and yes I mean spinach, chard, romaine and all the other leaves gracing the produce aisle. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it tastes good! When I say it tastes good, I don’t mean it tastes like those neon-colored, syrup-laden, I-might-as-well-just-spend-these-600-calories-on-a-hot-fudge-sundae smoothies they sell at high end coffee shops and fast food joints. In my opinion, those are treats and not health foods, despite what the advertisement says. But, I assure you, Green Smoothies really do taste good! The sweetness of the fruit is much more obvious than the greens; although I think the mild, grassy taste of spinach rounds out the sweetness of the fruit. The best thing about Green Smoothies? You can get 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables in one sitting and it’s drinkable. Ever try to eat a salad when you’re nursing a baby or driving your kids to school? By adding Green Smoothies regularly to your diet, you can expand your vegetable intake beyond cooked carrots (because that’s the only veggie your toddler will eat….or maybe that’s just me) and can reap the benefits of nutrient powerhouses like cherries, grapes, blueberries and greens of course!
Here’s my basic Green Smoothie recipe. It can be individualized to suit your tastes and needs. If you would like more sweetness I recommend adding a few dates or 1-2 teaspoons of natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup. Other healthy additives such as flax seeds, wheat germ, whey protein, chia seeds etc. can also be added without compromising taste. I’ve been drinking a Green Smoothie 3-4 times/week for the past month and have noticed a significant improvement in my mood, energy level and sense of well-being. Plus, it is a healthy, low calorie and delicious snack that my picky toddler will (most days) share with me!
- 2 generous handfuls of spinach or green leafy vegetable of your choice
- 1 banana sliced
- 2 cups of frozen fruit (I used 1 cup frozen green grapes and 1 cup of frozen peaches for this recipe; berries and cherries also taste great in green smoothies)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cups of water
Using frozen produce allows you to reap the health benefits of antioxidant-rich fruits when they are out of season without breaking the bank. To freeze grapes, simply place washed and dried grapes in a single layer on a small plate and freeze for 1-2 hours.
Place the ingredients into a blender, frozen fruit at the bottom and greens on top.
Add cold water and blend until the smoothie reaches your desired thickness/consistency and there are no visible bits of lettuce or fruit. I’ve been making my own smoothies at home for a long time, but always with milk (cow, soy, almond) or kefir and was skeptical about using water as the base liquid. After using water for awhile, I love it! It makes the smoothie more like a juice – light and refreshing and also fewer calories.
Pour into a glass and enjoy!
This recipe makes two 10 oz servings and can be refrigerated for 24 hours if you want to save some for later, although fresh tastes best.
I challenge you to get on the green smoothie bandwagon, you will look and feel like a million bucks!
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