Use these easy steps to learn how to make a green smoothie that you'll love! Create your own healthy smoothie recipes, get the best tips on how to make a smoothie creamy (without bananas!), and reap the benefits of a well-balanced smoothie.
Green smoothies have gone through phases of popularity and ridicule. And while as a Certified Nutrition Coach 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.
The perfect green smoothie recipe:
- is loaded with nutrients (not just sugars!)
- provides fuel on the go
- can be used as an easy snack, on-the-go breakfast, or post-workout shake
- helps get real food into toddlers (here's a few tips on how to help your kids rock healthy eating habits!)
- can be an indulgence with ice cream like flavor
I don't believe in using them as a meal replacement for life but I do think that green smoothies have a place in a healthy diet- when made correctly! In fact, my girls and I normally share a smoothie each day together.
Qualities Of A Healthy Green Smoothie Recipe
Far too often, the best green smoothie recipe is loaded with fruit. And I get it, fruit tastes delicious. However, it's not overly nourishing long-term.
There is so much more to making a healthy smoothie than 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 (collagen powder being my favorite)
- There needs to be a healthy fat
- A low-calorie liquid
- Add something that will make them creamy
- At least one veggie, (leafy greens, fresh colored veg, 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 to make your own recipe.
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.
Making Green Smoothies Kid-Friendly
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). This 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!
5 Steps To Making The Best Green Smoothie Recipe
Below are the tips and tricks to creating your favorite green smoothie recipe!
Remember, it takes a bit of experimentation.. However, it's worth it to be able to make green smoothies quickly and using up what you've got!
Step 1: Choosing A Protein
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 the smoothie too.
Know that using a protein 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
Learn more about increasing your daily protein intake.
Choosing A Protein Powder
Choosing a protein powder can be a big decision. Learn which protein is best for you and your goals.
However, the one I use the most is Genuine Health’s Fermented Vegan Protein which helps fuel your goals, recover and stay full.
Made with 20 grams of plant-based protein, this vegan powder is dairy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO and certified organic. It’s also been voted one of the best tasting vegan proteins
But best of all is that this protein is fermented. This helps break down the “anti-nutrient” in grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes that often causes bloating.
This protein literally gives you the best of both worlds.
Shop the Genuine Health Store on Amazon
Protein 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, 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.
Step 2: Healthy Fats For A Healthy Mind
Fats have a couple of purposes in green smoothies.
Some fats will help make the smoothie 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 seeds (chia seeds are one of the foods I think every toddler needs)
- flax meal
- hemp hearts
- coconut milk (from the can)
- nut butter (almond butter or almond hazelnut are out favorites!)
- 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) in the form of homemade granola.
Step 3: Adding Veggies To Green Smoothies
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 frozen greens into 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 fresh spinach.
- Frozen 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 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 healthy smoothie recipe.
- Cauliflower is one that no one thinks of but it thickens the smoothie and makes it very creamy
Tip: 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 fresh 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 or frozen greens 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.
Lastly, know that cooking your spinach decreases its oxalate potency (just in case you're still freaking out).
Step 4: Choosing A Fruit
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 (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 fresh 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 what kind of protein you're using.
Frozen fruit or fresh? Typically, frozen fruit will make a thicker smoothie than fresh. Plus, frozen fruit tends to be easier to come by.
Step 5: 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. Keep in mind that using just water will not leave your smoothie as creamy as you'd probably want.
If you are going to use juice,opt for freshly squeezed orange juice if possible.
I personally use a variety of plant-based milk for the base of our green smoothies. Almond milk, cashew milk, and homemade hemp milk are our favorites.
Just like with veggies, if you're an almond milk lover, try to switch it up every so often! Almond milk is great but there are some side effects to too much in your diet.
This is one of the reasons we switched from almond milk to a hemp coconut milk blend!
Hack: if you need a green smoothie to replenish electrolytes or hydration from being sick, use coconut water! Coconut water performs like a sports drink but is much better for you.
How To Make A 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 green smoothie recipes 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!)
- frozen banana
- frozen mango (don't underestimate frozen mango as a replacement for bananas!)
- coconut milk
Frozen fruit in general will help but for best results grab one of the ingredients above.
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 frozen banana!
Important Teaching Tips
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 is very sweet compared to many vegan brands. Some vegan brands blend better than others (some are gritty). Also, vegan protein absorbs more liquid.
- Remember, for leafy greens, frozen are way easier to blend and give your green smoothie recipes 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 green smoothie. 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 more green 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.
The Best Smoothie Recipes
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
- Chocolate peanut butter smoothie
- Key lime protein shake
- Chocolate cherry smoothie
- Easy pomegranate smoothie
- Gingerbread smoothie
- Easy, healthy smoothie recipes
Frequently Asked Questions About Green Smoothies
Having a green smoothie each day is a great way to take in a lot of nutrients you otherwise wouldn't eat. For optimal results, make sure to rotate through different ingredients in your smoothies so that you're taking in a variety of nutrients.
Healthy smoothies can be a great way to lose weight while still enjoying a lot of flavors. If your goals are weight-loss-related, make sure to watch the calorie total of the smoothies and scale back on calorie-dense foods like nuts and nut butter in the shakes.
Remember that the purpose of how to make healthy smoothies is focusing on nutrients and not sugar. There are 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 reap the benefits of health!
Smoothies To Supercharge Your Energy
Do you struggle with making healthy choices and getting enough nutrients into your day because you're so short on time?
If you want to take your energy (and health) to a whole new level, I’ve gathered 15 of the best, superfood-based smoothie recipes perfect for busy moms who need a boost.
These recipes are:
- Dairy and gluten-free
- Superfood packed (think cacao, turmeric, etc)
- Made from whole foods for a natural energy boost
In a day in which you’re super busy, stay fueled on the go with these recipes! Grab your copy of Superfood Smoothies now for just $4.