How To Build A Better Green Shake
Green shakes (smoothies) are a simple and effective way to take in a lot of nutrients at once. (Check out a few of my favorites here!) They are simple, quick, portable and, when done properly, tasty!
In fact, ever since Baby bear was five months old her and I have been sharing a green shake each and every day.
Good nutrition doesn’t have to be difficult. The more real a food is the better (here's a few tips on how to help your kids rock healthy eating habits!)
However unless you enjoy eating the same thing each and every day for years on end, keeping your taste buds stimulated can be a challenge- and time consuming.
When I seek out meals or snacks there are a few requirements they must ideally meet:
They must be simple to put together
They must contain a protein source to keep me full
They must have a nutritional boost, meaning, they cannot contain empty calories
Green smoothies hit all the points above and more!
Shakes are by far the fastest meal to throw together. Each one can be designed to suit your preferences and needs and you can consume it on the go. It’s perfection.
There are hundreds of awesome green shakes out there. However, if you chose not to follow a recipe and instead make your on concoction, here are a few tips to keep your shakes nutritious and tasty.
Your shake should include:
A protein source to keep you full
A fat source for awesome omegas
Veggies & fruit at about a 3:1 ratio
A low calorie liquid
Any additions you require (see below)
Proteins are a great base to your shake because they keep you full. I personally opt for protein powders as I prefer the flavor but because Baby Bear & I share I do alternate with greek yogurt. Keep in mind that the protein powders tend to sweeten the shake a bit so with the yogurt option you may need more fruit.
You have a whole host of options here. Choices like coconut milk and avocado will create a smoother, creamier consistency. Chia seeds will gel when mixed with liquid so your shake will be quite thick. And fats like flaxseed, almond butter and coconut oil are all amazing options.
Ah yes, the purpose of a green shake.. the greens! If you have a Vitamix or an equally powerful blender, get creative and throw absolutely everything into that bad boy! If not, my advice is to stick to spinach and cucumber as they tend to have an easier time being blended and have a very light flavor profile. Kale, swiss chard and other greens tend to overwhelm the smoothie and can be off putting if you're not used to them!
Also, don’t be scared to mix chocolate protein powder with greens, if you go with a lighter flavor of greens you can’t even taste them… just chocolaty deliciousness.
Fruits are one of the things that make a shake super yummy! But try not to overdo it, otherwise the sugar content of the shake gets a little extreme. Personally, I go for half a serving of fruit per shake (half a banana, half an apple etc) ish. Since I started sharing with Baby Bear we normally have a full serving in our smoothies.
The purpose of your green shake is to have a healthy, nutritious snack. So don’t go loading it with juice! Stick to natures natural liquid of choice.. water! Or chose lower calorie options to help with the texture (almond milk). In the summer, I swap over to coconut water for the extra electrolytes.
The awesome thing about shakes is you can hide ingredients really well (perfect if you have picky little ones). Feel free to throw some extras into the mix if you need them. This can be supplements like kefir, a tablespoon of greens, spirulina etc. Anything you need for the extra boost.
Keep in mind though that randomly throwing ingredients into the blender can result in some funny tastes. Try to plan ahead and follow a recipe.. or be prepared to drink what comes out!
Other helpful green shake hints:
Both bananas and avocado make shakes unbelievably creamy
The type of protein powder you use will affect your shake. Whey blends really well… brown rice protein does not. It will be grittier.
Frozen veggies 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 too peppery. I like to stick to spinach, kale or romaine
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
Lastly, if you really want to splurge – make a smoothie bowl! Simply add some extra ingredients or ice to your shake to make it extra thick and creamy. Then top your bowl with homemade granola, toasted coconut, walnuts, hemp heats.. anything! I personally love this option in the summer because it makes me feel like I'm eating ice cream.. all the time!
Don't forget to pin these Green Smoothie Tips!
There are many recipes out there that will be delicious shakes (here's a few of mine!). The best advice I can give you is to keep the focus on optimal nutrient intake and not just “how much can I cram in this blender”.
Ever tried a green smoothie? What's your favorite kind?