How To Make A Green Smoothie (easy steps for beginners)
A simple and effective way to fuel up on nutrients, green smoothie recipes make a great snack! Thus, learning how to make a green smoothie is a huge health hack! Use these green smoothie tips to STOP relying on green smoothie recipes and instead learn to create your own! These smoothie tips will teach you the best fruits to use, how to make balanced green smoothies, and of course, how to make your smoothies creamy without bananas! Green smoothies have gone through phases of popularity and ridicule. And while I don't think they're the only way to go (you need to find food that works FOR YOU), I do believe that they have a purpose. I have been learning how to make a green smoothie for roughly eight years now.
And, what I used to rely on has changed drastically in that time (which I'll go over below!) Regardless, green smoothie recipes are an effective way to:
- bump up nutrients
- stay fueled on the go
- get real food into toddlers (here's a few tips on how to help your kids rock healthy eating habits!)
- indulge with ice cream like flavor
I don't believe in using them as a meal replacement for life but I do think that they have a place in a healthy diet- when made correctly! In fact, my girls and I normally share a smoothie each day together since the age of seven months.
Qualities Of A Healthy Green Smoothie Recipe
When it comes to how to make a green smoothie, more often than not, you'll see a lot of fruit. And I get it, fruit tastes delicious. However, it's not overly nourishing long-term.
There is so much more to making green smoothies that simply blending fruits. Here is what I use as a checklist when I'm creating a new green smoothie recipe or just whipping one up for myself and the girls:
- They must be simple to put together (15 ingredients in a green smoothie is silly)
- There has to be a protein source to keep me full
- There needs to be a healthy fat
- A low-calorie liquid
- Add something that will make them creamy
- At least one veggie, green powder or superfood in the smoothie
This is truly the base for a healthy green smoothie recipe! That said, there is a bit of a learning curve and trial and error when learning how to make a green smoothie.
The tips below should help you get started but I'd be lying when I said that sometimes your smoothie will not be awesome.
Learn from it, figure out where you went wrong, and tweak for the next one. At the end of this blog post, there's also a list of my favorite smoothie recipes for health, indulgence, and fuel.
How To Make A Green Smoothie For Kids
This is a common question I get from new mamas all the time! My girls love green smoothies but there is a lot to consider when making them specifically for kids or babies.
A few things to consider: If you're making a green smoothie for toddlers, they normally have a sweeter palate (unless they're my kids haha). Which means overloading on veggies will make them hate smoothies.
Use fruit to keep the smoothie pretty sweet but make sure there are energy stabilizers (proteins and fats) to control the energy hit. When it comes to how to make a green smoothie for kids- make it look pretty!
Either that or have it in a cup you can't see through. Kids don't want to drink a murky green-brown smoothie. But they do get excited over pink, purple, or green smoothies!
Protein Powder For Kids
One of my favorites is Orgain protein powder. This protein powder is allergy-friendly (no soy, gluten-free, kosher, vegan, etc), has no added sugar and no artificial sweeteners. It actually won Preventions Cleanest Packaged Food Award! You can use code mamabear30 for 10% off your first-ever order.
My thoughts on protein powder for kids: I think that as long as you have a quality protein powder and trust it’s the source, it’s okay.
When checking out new protein powder, especially if my kiddos are going to be using it, I like to look for a few of these points:
- no random flavored added
- low in sugar
- no carageen
- no processed oils
However, if you’re not into protein powder- that’s ok! Instead of the powder, collagen powder is a great substitute! Collagen is not only full of awesome protein but it’s also awesome to help boost your immune system- double win. You can grab collagen powder packs (I take these with us on long road trips!) from Perfect Supplements and use code mamabear10 to save some money.
How To Make A Green Smoothie
Below are the tips and tricks to making healthy and delicious green smoothie recipes. Remember, it takes a bit of experimentation if you're not following a green smoothie recipe. However, it's worth it to be able to make green smoothies quickly and using up what you've got!
Protein For Green Smoothie Recipes
Proteins are a great base to your green smoothie because they keep you full. The purpose of adding protein to your smoothies is to keep you fueled. However, they can also change the flavor of your green smoothie too.
Know that using a protien powder will naturally make your green smoothie recipe sweeter. without protein powder, you'll need to sweeten the smoothie another way.
Awesome protein sources:
- Plant-based protein powder
- Greek Yogurt
Healthy Fats For A Healthy Mind
Fats have a couple of purposes for how to make a green smoothie.
Some fats will help make the green smoothie recipes creamier but overall, they help make your smoothie nutrient-dense and tasty. Since healthy fats are crucial for toddler brain development as well as your own personal health, make sure each and every green smoothie recipe has some!
Keep in mind that fats like chia seeds or flax meal create a gel when mixed with liquid. If you use these, your green smoothie will naturally be thicker. Amazing fats to add to smoothies:
- chia seed
- flax meal
- hemp hearts
- coconut milk (from the can)
- nut butter
- coconut oil
Personally, I like a lot of crunch in my smoothie so much of the time I use one of the fats in my green smoothie and then top it with more healthy fats (nuts and seeds).
Adding Veggies To Green Smoothie
The purpose of a healthy, nutrients dense smoothie.. the veggies! If you're like me when I started, the thought of adding vegetables to drink was disgusting.
It took a bit of time, a lot of trials, and a mindset swap but now I don't blink twice. Adding veggies into green smoothies not only bumps up the nutrients but it can make the smoothies creamy, thick, and delicious depending on what you choose! However, there is such an issue of too much of a good thing.
Adding 3-4 servings of veggies into your green smoothie recipe will taste.. gross. Stick to one veggie at a time and ideally just one serving until you get used to what you enjoy.
Also, while this blog post is about how to make a green smoothie, my view has come so much further. Instead, expand your repertoire and really focus on how to make the best nutrient-loaded smoothies- and that includes more than just spinach.
- Spinach and cucumber are the best choices if you're brand new to green smoothies (tip: freeze your spinach- it blends better
- Greens like kale and swiss chard will overwhelm the smoothie and make them bitter - avoid until you have some practice under your belt
- Zucchini blends really well and tastes especially delicious in a chocolate or gingerbread-style smoothie
- Carrot sunrise smoothies are definitely a thing. However, carrot does not blend smooth so double check you have something creamy in your green smoothie recipe
- Cauliflower is one that no one thinks of but it thickens the smoothie and makes it very creamy
Also, when learning how to make a green smoothie, don't be shy to avoid mixing veggies with chocolate! It sounds off-putting but the right combination can be very tasty!
Switching Up Your Veggies To Avoid Oxalate Issues
There's been a lot of talk about oxalates and the potential for kidney issues if eaten in excess. Oxalates are compounds found in many foods. Basically what is said is that too many high-oxalate foods can cause problems.
Since spinach is very high in oxalates, having a green smoothie (a spinach smoothie) every day became a health risk. However, here's my two cents:
First off, Davy & Tracy break this down much better than I do and will give you a full background on oxalates. Unless you have existing kidney issues, avoiding all oxalates shouldn't be a priority.
However, it never hurts to rotate food choices! This is exactly why I suggest using other veggies in your smoothie recipes and not just spinach. This not only gives you a better nutrient profile but reduces a lot of oxalate risk if you're concerned.
Laslty, know that cooking your spinach decreases its oxalate potency (just in case you're still freaking out).
Choosing Fruit For Your Green Smoothie
Fruit is one of the elements that make a green smoothie sweet! However, don't overdo it. Remember that the purpose of a green smoothie is to nourish and provide fuel... not load up on sugars.
When making a smoothie for myself, I use half a fruit (half an apple, half a banana, etc) plus protein powder (which is sweet). If the green smoothie is for the girls and me, I add more.
That said if you're not using protein powder. you'll want to add a bit more fruit to sweeten it up. Lastly, know your fruits! Bananas, mangos, and peaches will give a burst of sweetness. Berries, kiwi, and apples are less sweet.
You'll need to adjust your veggie to fruit ratio based on the fruit you choose and whether or not you're using protein powder.
How To Make A Green Smoothie: Liquids
For the most part, avoid juice as the base for your green smoothie. Again, the purpose is to create a nutrient-dense snack or breakfast, not adding more sugar to your diet.
Using fruit juices can be an easy way to sweeten your smoothie but I urge you to not let it be the main liquid in your green smoothie recipe. Keeping in mind that using just water will not leave your smoothie as creamy as you'd probably want.
I personally use a variety of plant-based milk for the base of our green smoothies. Almond, cashew, pea are our favorites. I also use coconut milk (in the can not the box) but there's more on that below.
Hack: if you need a green smoothie to replenish electrolytes or hydration from being sick, use coconut water! Coconut water. Coconut water performs like a sports drink but is much better for you.
How To Make A Green Smoothie Creamy
The question that everyone wants an answer for! The last thing you want is a chunky, separated green smoothie. Trust me.
This is why you need to pay attention to what you're using to make a green smoothie so that you can ensure it'll be creamy and delicious! Below are ingredients that help take a green smoothie recipe from okay to amazing. I try to use at least one but often two of these ingredients each time I make a smoothie.
- avocados (these will be your best friend. They make smoothies perfect and boost the fat content too!)
- coconut milk
More often than not I'll opt for half an avocado plus a bit of coconut milk in a smoothie for myself and the girls. I find it's the perfect combo if I'm not using bananas!
Final Tips On How To Make A Green Smoothie
Unless you're following a healthy smoothie recipe, there's no perfect system for creating your own green smoothie. It does take practice. And I can honestly say I've had some funky creations! But I do have the hang of it now, so don't give up! Below are a few last-minute tips to consider before you start throwing random ingredients into the blender.
The type of protein powder you use will affect your shake. Whey protein powder is very sweet compared to many vegan brands. Some vegan brans blend better than others (some are gritty). The ones recommended above blend nicely.. there's been a lot of trial and error
Remember, for leafy greens, frozen are way easier to blend and give your shake a better texture. I keep a bag of greens in the freezer at all times.
The stronger the green is naturally the stronger it will be in the shake. Personally, I can’t use rapini in my shakes because they come out too peppery. I like to stick to spinach, kale or romaine. But switch up your veggies!
The sweeter the fruit the sweeter the shake. Banana is a simple one but fruits like berries can make the shake a bit more tart
Drink out of a colored cup if you get squeamish about color. Not every shake will turn out beautiful looking unless you truly think it through. Berries + green create a terrible color.
There's always going to be a way to amp up the nutrients in a smoothie. Adding in superfoods, kefir, probiotics, etc all have a place when making healthy smoothie recipes. And keep in mind that you can always turn your healthy smoothies into... smoothie bowls! I adore adding nuts and seeds on top of my smoothie for extra crunch. it's like eating ice cream... all the time.
Don't forget to pin these tips on How To Make A Green Smoothie!
Still unsure about how to make your own green smoothie? Here are a few healthy smoothie recipes that we rely on:
- Orange, mango, turmeric smoothie
- Cranberry apple smoothie
- Mint chocolate green smoothie
- Mango orange green smoothie
- Gingerbread smoothie
Remember that the purpose of how to make healthy smoothies is focusing on nutrients and not sugar. There's a lot of ways to create your own green smoothie recipes and boost your health!
However, if you're looking for a bit more of a "done for you" approach, check out Sunday Smoothies below. It's like eating ice cream every day.. and reaping the benefits of health!
Nutrient-Dense Smoothie Recipes
If you’re looking to make healthy eating simple, look no further than my e-book Sunday Smoothies where I’ve gathered 15, tasty, superfood-based recipes perfect for busy moms. Every flavor from classic green goddess smoothies to indulgent chocolate, kiwi to chocolate cherry. These healthy smoothie recipes all share a few things in common:
- They are healthy and simple to make
- All the recipes are dairy-free and gluten-free
- All of the recipes are real-food based and focus on nutrients and not fillers
- They’re loaded with extras in the form of superfoods
My girls and I have a smoothie every day. Mainly, because it makes is simple to load up on healthy fuel while running out the door! Make healthy eating LESS stressful and feel like you’re eating ice cream more often by grabbing your copy of Sunday Smoothies (when you click on the button a new window will open that will take you to securely process payment)