One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your diet and to start each day with a nutritional bang is to blend green smoothies. If you are ready to join the green smoothie bandwagon, you will need a few kitchen staples on hand to make this a simple, natural process each day.
Stock Your Kitchen
Surprisingly, you can create many different, delicious green smoothies with the same few base ingredients. Just mix and match the following items in your blender with a couple of new ingredients each day to change the flavor. If you are working with recipes rather than mixing up your own concoctions, don’t worry—many recipes will include a few of these ingredients. You might need to add one or two new items from the supermarket, but the staples listed here will be used repeatedly. Nothing listed here will be wasted.
In order to make green smoothies, you will obviously need to keep green leafy vegetables on hand. If you are short on time, you can buy plastic containers full of pre-washed organic greens from the produce section of your supermarket. It’s as simple as grabbing a handful of leaves and throwing them into the blender with your other ingredients. If you happen to have an autoimmune illness that affects your joints, I recommend working with greens that are low in oxalic acid, such as kale or collard greens. Stay away from spinach and swiss chard, which are both high in oxalic acid and can aggravate your joint condition.
These days, you can find bags of frozen organic berries at most supermarkets. Buy a couple of bags of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries. You can buy mixed bags of berries or bags of each individual type of berry. I recommend buying berries that you typically DO NOT eat often or do not enjoy. It’s a great way of adding variety and new nutrients to your diet. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but smoothies happen to be a great way of consuming foods that you’d rather not. Flavors and textures of any particular fruit or vegetable just disappear into blended goodness. Personally, I am not a huge fan of eating fresh blackberries. I happen to enjoy the flavor, but I can’t deal with all of the seeds. It drives me crazy, so now I consume all of my blackberries in pureed form. I just throw a nice big handful of frozen blackberries into my blender, and I get all of the benefits of eating them without actually having to deal with the unpleasant texture of the seeds.
Buy a bunch of bananas, and allow them to ripen on your countertop for a few days. Brown bananas are not particularly appetizing to eat as a snack, but they are perfect for smoothies. Slice each banana, and freeze the slices. Frozen bananas slices blend much more easily than frozen bananas that haven’t been sliced.
-Liquid for your smoothies
I like to stock my pantry with organic, non-GMO soy milk, almond milk, and coconut water. If you prefer a smoothie with a juice base, keep your fridge stocked with orange juice, apple juice, or whatever it is that you prefer.
If you are worried about getting hungry within an hour or so after consuming your smoothie, turn your drink into a stick-to-your-ribs meal by adding a tablespoon of almond butter to your blender. If you aren’t a huge fan of almond butter, try another type of nut butter, or maybe even a piece of non-GMO organic tofu.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve reached into my freezer to grab a handful of ice for my smoothie and realized that my ice smelled a little funky. Whether you have an automatic ice maker in your freezer like me or a few trays of ice that you fill with water and freeze yourself, check your ice before you actually need to use it! Once a month, I dump all of my ice out of the freezer bin that collects my ice cubes from the ice maker. I scrub the ice container with hot soapy water, and I collect all new ice cubes. There’s really no easier way to ruin a delicious smoothie than to fill your blender with old, stinky ice. Take the time to make sure you are using good ice. And don’t forget that you always have the option of skipping ice altogether and just adding more frozen berries instead!
When you first start making green smoothies, you will most likely dapple with recipes that include lots of fruit. Once you become accustomed to these smoothies, you will probably start lowering the quantity of fruit and increasing the quantity of greens and other vegetables. If you move on to these more savory green smoothies, you will want to have fresh lemons and limes on hand. A good squeeze of lemon or lime really compliments any greens or herbs, like parsley, that you might add to your blender. Lemons and limes have quite a long shelf life in the refrigerator, so go ahead and buy a few. Even if you don’t use them today, you can use them in a few weeks, and they will be just as good.