Back in October my husband and I did a 30-day green smoothie challenge with Simple Green Smoothies. The idea was to have you drink a green smoothie every day for 30 days. Each week they emailed you a grocery list along with four different smoothie recipes to try. When we started this challenge I had been drinking green smoothies pretty much every day, but was excited to try out some new recipes. I learned a lot about different greens you could use to make your ‘green smoothie’ and about different add-ins to sweeten the smoothie or add protein. For example, did you know that if you are struggling with pain, then adding a natural herbal supplement like kratom to your smoothie can help to ease your symptoms? In case you were not already aware, kratom is a derivative of an Asian evergreen tree. It contains the stimulant mitragynine and the narcotic 7-hydroxymitraginine. The substance has been used throughout history as an alternative approach to pain management. Moreover, some people even use kratom to manage the effects of withdrawal from opiates. That being said, on its own, kratom can have a slightly bitter taste that is similar to over-brewed tea leaves, and adding it to a smoothie can help to mask this unpleasant taste. If you would like to learn more about the potential health-boosting benefits of kratom, you can find plenty of brilliant resources online. Anyway, when the 30-day challenge was over, my husband was disappointed because he thought I was going to stop making him smoothies – I got him hooked 😉 Since then I always make sure we both start our weekday with a nice healthy refreshing green smoothie and wanted to share a few of my favorite recipes and add-ins. But if you want to try the Simple Green Smoothie Challenge for yourself, I highly suggest it. It’s FREE but they only run them every few months, the next challenge starts April 1st so sign up now here: 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge.
I made different categories on how to build the perfect smoothie, but you don’t have to choose ingredients from each category. Get creative, these are only simple suggestions and I’ll share some of my favorite recipes I use and others around the web towards the end of the post.
How to Build the Perfect Smoothie
Base: I prefer almond milk, you could also use coconut milk or water, cows milk, or coffee.
Greens: Spinach is my preferred choice because you definitely don’t taste it AT ALL. I easily add one heaping cup to each of our smoothies, which is about one serving of veggies. You could also use kale, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, or avocado.
Fresh or Frozen Fruit: My personal favorite fruits to use are pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, apples and bananas (not necessarily all in the same smoothie though). While doing the challenge I also loved the smoothie recipes with pears and peaches, they just involve more prep work to slice. For frozen fruit I always keep frozen mango and strawberries in my freezer.
Protein: Lets be real, a smoothie with just fruit, milk, and spinach will not fill you up until lunch time, or even mid-morning. So DO NOT skip adding something from this category to your smoothie. It’s essential to add protein to help keep you full and you should be eating about 20-30 grams of protein at each meal anyway so feel free to even add two of these ingredients.
- Protein powder (I add vanilla whey protein to our morning fruit smoothies, if you want this protein you can also get a High Impact Whey Protein discount to make it a bit cheaper!)
- Greek yogurt (try plain or vanilla)
- Nut butter (peanut or almond butter)
- Oatmeal (try adding a few tablespoons to help thicken and add fiber and protein)
- Flax, Hemp, or Chia seeds (All have lots of different nutrients and health benefits)
Sweeteners: If the fruit doesn’t sweeten the smoothie enough for you to enjoy sipping on it, there are plenty of natural sweeteners to add. I usually don’t add any of these because I add protein powder and that has a natural sweet taste. But throughout the challenge I noticed these in several of the recipes:
- Dates (soak them in water for about 15 minutes to soften)
- Maple syrup
Spices/Miscellaneous: Depending on what variations you use adding some spices might make your smoothie taste even more delicious. Here are a few spices I would suggest experimenting with:
- cinnamon (goes great with nut butter and bananas)
- nutmeg (I sometimes add a bit to my smoothies when using pumpkin, sliced pears or apples)
- vanilla extract
- turmeric (you will barely taste this and turmeric is know for being good for digestive health)
- maca powder (has vitamins and helps provide an extra boost of energy)
- mint leaves
- lemon or lime
You don’t need a fancy blender. While I have a Vitamix, sometimes I just blend smoothies in this Hamilton Beach blender that is a to-go cup. I have thought about buying a new blender though. Since I get so much use out of my current one I feel like it would be a great investment for me. You can do so many things with a blender but I’m not very adventurous when it comes to trying new things. My friend who’s also into smoothies recommended that I check out this review Tribest personal but I haven’t had time yet. It’s definitely something I’ll look into in the future though!
Now that you know about some of the essential ingredients you should have handy here are some of my favorite recipes:
Tropical Smoothie: This recipe is typically what I make ever morning. I blend 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup spinach, 1/2 a banana, 1 cup pineapple or strawberries, 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder, splash of coconut water, 1/4 cup frozen mango, and a few ice cubes.
Blueberry: When I know I have a long morning I will blend 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup spinach, 1 banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1-2 tbsp almond butter, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, and 3-4 ice cubes. The protein powder and almond butter help keep me full even longer.
Apple Pie Smoothie by Gimme Some Oven: This is the perfect smoothie for any time of the year, but it especially has Fall flavors. I love the combo of apples and cinnamon.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie By Sally’s Baking Addiction: This smoothie seriously tastes like a peanut butter cup. Instead of the chocolate you could also add strawberries, grapes, or raspberries to make it like a PB&J.
Peach Green Tea Smoothie by Recipe Runner: While doing the Green Smoothie Challenge I also used green tea as a liquid base. Since green tea has so many health benefits it’s great to add to your smoothies.
Skinny Mint Green Smoothie by Simple Green Smoothies: If you’re skeptical about adding avocado to a smoothie, try this recipe. It has mint and cocoa that all blend well.
What are your favorite smoothie ingredients?
Do you have a smoothie in the morning or as a mid-afternoon pick me up?