Monday, March 24, 2008

Takin' the Green Smoothie Challenge

So right now, perhaps you're saying to yourself, "Barf!! What the heck is in that glass?! Did you actually drink that ghastly-looking concoction??" Now while it may look similar to the contents of an infant's diaper, let me reassure you that the contents of that glass were quite tasty and my body thanked me for it. So what in God's good earth is it?? A green smoothie. I became a big fan of fresh fruit and yogurt smoothies a few years ago and I had heard of green smoothies, too. Then I tried a green smoothie from Trader Joe's (available in the fridge section for about $2), which was really delicious. But then I was confronted with "The Green Smoothie Challenge" on the Happy Foody blog and I finally decided to accept the challenge. Although I should clarify that the actual challenge is to have a green smoothie every day for 30 days, but I'm trying to have one at least 3 times a week. Either way, it's a great start and now there's no going back...

Why a green smoothie? While fresh fruit smoothies are great and offer all the health benefits of the fruits included in it, a green smoothie kicks it up like 50 notches in nutritional quality (givin' a little shout out to Emeril). This is especially great for people who don't regularly consume enough green veggies, because when made properly, one of these bad boys contains between 5-15 servings of fruits and veggies. You can read more about all the amazing health benefits of green smoothies here.

A green smoothie can be made with just about any combination of fresh fruit and greens. The key to making it tasty and thus, drinkable, is to create the right balance so that the smoothie is sweet. Here is what I've come up with, just for starters:
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen red rasberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks (if frozen, defrost slightly in the microwave)
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1-2 T. honey
  • about 2-3 cups fresh spinach, ripped into smaller pieces

In a blender, combine fruit, water, and honey for about 45 seconds, until well blended. Add spinach in batches, blending well between each batch. Add slightly more water if needed. Pour into glasses and enjoy any time of day!

All of the quantities are just my approximations, so feel free to experiment. For even more ideas on ways to use different ingredients in green smoothies, be sure to check out all the recipes on the Green Smoothie Challenge post. So...are you ready to take the Green Smoothie Challenge?


BKicklighter said...

I will now have to purchase a blender!

Sarah said...

Great Becky...let me know what you think! I should clarify, too, that I am able to make green smoothies with my rather cheap-o blender (about $30 from Target). I used to think that I needed a super-duper, high-wattage blender, like the "Vita-mix," to make these kind of smoothies. But "Happy Foody" listed some tips on making them in plain 'ole blenders.

The big key is mix the fruit and water first, then add the greens in small quantities. Depending on the type of green, you may need to cut them into smaller pieces. Kale, for example, will definitely need to have the hard stem cut out of it, and then the leaves cut into bite-size pieces before blending. But I chose to start with spinach b/c the Happy Foody said that it's very soft and blends in a cheap-o blender well, without getting all stuck in the blades.

Just some tips to help to anyone who's interested.

RT said...

The mere thought of SALAD in my smoothie freaks me out a bit, but I know how nutritious is must be... so I do want to give it a try. Way to go, Sarah. Now I'm interested in trying it too!

Sarah said...

Yep, Rebecca, I know that the "mental imagery" of a salad blended up in a smoothie can be a challenge to get past! But you gotta believe me--it really does NOT taste like drinking a salad. Again, it's all in balancing the taste out with sweetness from the fruit and a bit of honey. And, another key is blending up the spinach really, really good.

Trust me, I wouldn't be drinking it if it tasted nasty! Go for it, my friend!

Kristen's Raw said...

I've been LOVING GREEN SMOOTHIES for quite some time now. They can be life changing for people.

I'm drinking one right now that is VERY green, and it makes me feel sooooo great!

Cheers :)

Mickey said...

Well, I have now taken the Green Smoothie Challenge---at least I've had my first green smoothie! I made my own version of one today (and will make other variations in the days to come). I used fresh strawberries, fresh pear, orange juice, spinach, honey, vanilla almond milk & ice cubes. All I did was tear the spinach leaves up--they blended right in, w/no problem. I just put everything in together and blended. Also have to say, I have a regular blender (multi-speed, but not "fancy"). The color is just weird w/these smoothies (like pea soup!), but it did taste good! Sometime I will get some carrot juice to try in them. I must say that I had only this smoothie for my entire lunch and was not only full & satisfied, but stayed that way until dinner!

Sarah said...

Welcome, Kristin! Thanks for stopping by.

And Yay, Mom, for trying a green smoothie!! Your combo sounded great. I've thought about adding almond milk to mine, too. Although I did just try kale in my green smoothies this week. Happy Foody's tips for kale did work well, and kale was only $.98/pound at Shop and Save. So here's what I had in mine this morning: kiwi, banana, frozen mango, frozen strawberries, spinach, kale, honey and water. This was, indeed, a very GREEN smoothie (and I mean green in color)! Some of my others turn out a brownish color, but not today! Well, anyway, I'm excited that you tried it and like the big question is: will DAD drink a green smoothie?? :)

Mickey said...

Hmmmm...I think he would, but ONLY if he didn't know that spinach (or other greens) was in it! He loves smoothies & I make them fairly frequently (mostly in summer, plus he's been gone so much recently), so if I made one heavy on raspberry and maybe peach, then said the green color is due to oh, say, "kiwi fruit & green pear" (something like that---I'm such a good liar! ;-)) I KNOW he'd go for it! Since we all know that you can't tell the greens (by taste, anyway) are there, as long as you balance out fruit and some sweetening to the greens, I think it'd work! I don't know if I told him what was in it that he'd want it that way again, tho', even if he'd already tried it and liked it.

I'll try this (maybe next week?)and report back!