Do you love the idea of starting your day with a green smoothie, but the taste makes you totally repulsed?! I would be lying if I said every green smoothie I have ever made tasted absolutely delicious. Green smoothies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and other phytonutrients that are essential for good health. They can even replace some meals, making them perfect for anyone following a plant-based diet.
I will admit that it did take me quite a while to grow ‘accustomed’ to drinking green smoothies every day, but once I started reaping the benefits like stronger hair and clearer skin, I was hooked. If you’re new to the green smoothie trend that’s taking storm, try these five tips to ease yourself into this super healthy and delicious health trend. Within no time, you’ll be a green smoothie junkie too!
1. Start with Milder Bases Like Spinach or Romaine
Often, greens like collard greens, dandelion greens, and even kale are very bitter tasting when you start making smoothies. Opt for milder greens like spinach or even romaine lettuce (make sure to avoid iceberg lettuce, as it has no nutritional value). Greens like spinach and romaine tend to be much milder in flavor while still providing you with tons of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and folate. Over time, work your way to bitter greens like dandelion greens by gradually cutting back on the spinach and adding more dandelion.
2. Don’t Be Afraid of Adding Fruit At First
Just because green smoothies are green, doesn’t mean they only use green vegetables! Don’t be afraid to add fresh or frozen fruits in the mix. Apples, berries and pears are all great choices. Throw in a banana to create a smoothie with a decadent and creamy consistency. When I first started making smoothies, I sometimes used three whole pieces of fruit to mask the green taste of the vegetables I was using. Over time, I’ve cut back on the amount of fruit I use, now using just a handful or two of berries. Try this Blueberry Acai Smoothie and this Strawberry Kale Smoothie.
3. Spirulina Helps Give a Great Green Color Without A Nasty Taste
Who would have thought that algae would be in your smoothie, let alone help it taste better? Besides being one of the only complete plant-based proteins, spriulina is a great addition to your smoothie. Loaded with B vitamins and other trace minerals, it adds an extra nutritional punch. For smoothies that have a base of romaine lettuce, spirulina can help give that appetizing and lush green color we all love to see! Try The Ultimate Spirulina Smoothie.
4. Try Fresh Herbs and Add-ins Like Cilantro or Ginger
There are plenty on low-sugar ways to add flavor to your smoothie without adding extra calories or fat. Try adding fresh herbs like parsley or, my personal favorite, cilantro, to take the edge off of your green smoothie. These herbs will give your green smoothie a fresh and invigorating flavor. If you don’t mind a little heat, try adding a piece of fresh, raw ginger about the size of your thumb. Finally, fresh lemon or lime juice is a great way to add flavor and mask the taste of the sometimes bitter greens in your smoothie.
5. If All Else Fails, Sweeten It Up
If all else fails, sometimes you just really need a little bit of sweetener to make your green smoothie more palatable. But instead of reaching for artificial sweeteners that have been linked to disease and even cancer, try something more natural like stevia, bananas or dates. Stevia has no calories, is diabetic-friendly, and is a natural source of sweetness from the South American stevia plant. Adding a few drops of liquid stevia or a sprinkle of powdered stevia might be all you need to take your smoothie to the next level. Dates will help you thicken your smoothie and cut the bitterness with its sticky sweetness. Other natural sweeteners include coconut nectar, barley malt syrup brown rice syrup, and blackstrap molasses.
Getting into a habit of drinking green smoothies is one of the best things you can do for your body. Regardless of your current dietary habits, add this one component to your eating plan and chances are you’ll start to phase out all the unhealthy and fattening junk you’ve been munching on for months or even years! Now, go check out these 11 Awesome Green Monster Smoothies!
Image Source: Stacy Spensley/ Flickr