Summer is just around the corner and with summer comes cravings for cold and refreshing treats. One of the most nutritious ways to satisfy the desire for an icy beverage is with a green smoothie. Here are three reasons why smoothies are so fantastic:
1. Smoothies are easy to digest. The nutrition in raw fruits and vegetables is bound to other components of the plants like fiber, protein and starches. Blending breaks up the structure of the plant and increases the nutrient availability to be absorbed by the body. In addition, smoothies are high in fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.
2. Breakfast On-the-Go. Smoothies are super portable, quick, and easy to make. To prep ahead, place all the ingredients in the blender cup the night before and in the morning, add a few ice cubes and blend.
3. Nutrient Dense. With the right ingredients, smoothies can be jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, water, and fiber. Even if you don’t love leafy greens normally, the combination of fruit and citrus dims the bitter flavor of the greens.
You don’t necessarily need any hard-to-find, expensive ingredients to make a great smoothie. In fact, you may have everything you need to create a versatile recipe already in your kitchen. Using the “smoothie equation” you can use up overripe fruits, wilted greens, or whatever other ingredients fit the criteria! Don’t forget the fat and protein, to make your smoothie a complete “meal.” Pairing the carbohydrates with fat and protein helps your body to regulate blood glucose levels for steady energy throughout your day.
1. Greens: These add loads of nutrients and fiber to your smoothies. Try green kale, spinach, romaine, celery, Swiss chard cucumber or herbs such as mint, cilantro, parsley or basil.
2. Fruit: Bananas, apples, pears, oranges, kiwi, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, dates, plums, peaches, nectarines are all great options. Really any fruit will work. Don’t be afraid to use brown bananas or mushy pears. Overripe fruit are especially sweet and perfect for smoothies.
3. Citrus: Juice fresh lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruits to add acidity, tang and vitamin C.
4. Healthy Fat: : Avocados, cashews, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax, and coconut meat all contain omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Protein: Nuts and seeds fit two categories because they contain protein and fat. A tablespoon or two of a high-quality protein powder are good options. Check out the options at the coop!
6. Liquid: Filtered water, coconut water, green tea, yogurt or milk. Add a bit at a time, until your smoothie reaches your desired consistency.
Peach Ginger Kale Green Smoothie
Makes about 2 servings
– optional: 1 cup ice
– 2 cups kale, packed
– 2 cups peaches and/or nectarines, peeled and chopped
– 1 tbsp minced or grated fresh ginger
– ½-1 lemon or lime, juiced
– 1 ½ – 2 cups filtered water
– 10 whole, raw cashews
– Optional: 1 tbsp maple syrup
1. Add ice to the blender first and crush. Then add kale, peaches and/or nectarines, ginger, lemon juice (starting with 1 lemon (2 Tbsp or 30 ml) and working your way up) and 1 cup water (240 ml) to start. The amount of water will depend on how many of your ingredients are frozen.
2. Blend until smooth, only adding water a little at a time as needed, and scraping down the sides/mixing as needed.
3. Once well blended, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If too tart, add more fruit or a little maple syrup (optional). For more zing, add ginger. And for more acidity, add more lemon juice. To make it thicker/colder, add more ice. Blend as needed.
4. Divide between two serving glasses and enjoy immediately. Best when fresh, although leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 24 hours.