Green Smoothie Guide
Are you bored by your breakfast routine or is it time to graduate from sugary cereal and buttery toast? You might be ready to give green smoothies a try. Imagine fresh fruit, leafy greens and superfood boosters such as raw cacao and hemp seeds. Still need convincing? Made in minutes, a green smoothie at breakfast will give your day an excellent nutritional boost.
"It's the easiest way to start your day, knowing that you're getting your fruit and veggies without any effort," says Marni Wasserman, a Toronto-based culinary nutritionist.
But watch out -- randomly tossing contents from your vegetable crisper into the blender can result in a beverage that tastes a little too green. Follow these tips for a morning smoothie that's vitamin-rich, a pleasure to drink, quick to prepare and sets the nutritional tone for the rest of the day.
Your smoothie base: 1 to 2 cups of liquid
Unless you want to eat your smoothie with a spoon, you need to start with some liquid: water, milk, yogurt, juice or kefir are some great options. Wasserman prefers alternative milks such as almond and hemp. "Both almond milk and hemp milk have healthy fats, protein and fibre," she says. Plus, they result in a creamier smoothie than one made with water alone. Is your blender struggling? Feel free to add more liquid as you go if your smoothie isn't blending easily.
The greens: 2-1/2 to 3 cups, torn
Packed with chlorophyll, fibre, magnesium, iron and zinc, plus a whole host of other vitamins and minerals, leafy greens put the punch in your smoothie. Wasserman recommends rotating your greens to ensure plenty of nutritional variety.
"Some greens have more vitamin C, some have more calcium, some have more magnesium," she says. "That way, over time you can build up the stores of the essential nutrients that your body needs to thrive." Try rotating spinach, kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce and Swiss chard.
The fruit: 1-1/2 to 2 cups
Here comes the tasty part: adding fruit gives natural sweetness and added vitamins to your green smoothie. Add bananas for potassium (and a rich, creamy smoothie), berries for antioxidants and tartness or mangoes for fibre and natural sweetness. Like your smoothies ice cold? Try using frozen fruit instead of fresh.
The booster: A scoop of protein powder & a handful of superfoods
Now's your chance to try out those fascinating superfoods you pass by every time you're in the grocery store: chia seeds, lentil protein, dried kelp -- the world is your smoothie.
Wasserman recommends tossing in everything from goji berries to hemp seeds to bee pollen (although probably not all at once.) "They're all superfoods and have an immense amount of nutrients. Just one tablespoon goes a long way," she says. She suggests also adding a plant-based protein powder to fuel your morning.