Green smoothies provide a simple way to enjoy a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. To keep the costs down and ensure organically-grown freshness, try growing some of the ingredients in containers on your patio, balcony, or indoors under grow lights. I’ve created Green Smoothies 101 to answer your questions and get you started on the green road to better health.
For more, also see How to Grow Vegetables Indoors Year-Round.
Green Smoothies 101
If you are part of the green smoothie craze or want to join in, I have some helpful resources for you.
I’ve compiled the best information on making green smoothies, time-saving prep tips, recommended blenders, and advice for growing your own fresh ingredients. It’s pretty neat to step out onto the patio to pick the greens for your daily green smoothie.
Green Smoothie Frequently Asked Questions
What is a green smoothie?
A green smoothie is a beverage made from fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, with an emphasis on the greens.
Alternately, Juices are the extracted liquids from fruits and veggies, while green smoothies are blended and include the liquid and the fiber.
Why would I drink a green smoothie?
Because someone dared you. Or, because you have a hunch that your diet needs improvement and this might be a way to get more of the good stuff in you.
What if I don’t like it?
That would make you human. That said, assuming you want to learn to like it, I’ve provided the universal smoothie recipe as a starting point (below). Make one, try it, try it again, and then start figuring out how you want to tweak it to come up with something you really enjoy. Just work in small amounts. It may take several tries but you’ll find it. There are also natural flavour enhancers like lemon or ginger that you can add to give it a bit of zest. Most people go from sticking their tongues out to saying, I can’t believe I love drinking this stuff but I do.
What equipment do I need?
A blender and a fridge with a freezer.
Blendtec and Vitamix are regarded as the best, longest-lasting blenders. I’ve never had either one and have not found anything cheaper that works really well with tough blending jobs or ice.
What if I don’t have time to make them?
You can prepare several days’ worth in advance—either just the basic ingredients or the actual beverage. There is a list of possible ingredients plus a bunch more tips here. And, like any change, it’s up to you. Changing the way we eat, and developing better habits is a choice that takes time and effort. No one can do it for you.
Can I buy ready-made green smoothies?
Yes, but I wouldn’t. Here’s a few reasons why. They are expensive, and the pre-packaged ones often seem to contain really high levels of sugar (fruit juices, and sometimes even added sugar) to compensate for the loss of flavour over time in storage. Unless you have access to a fresh green smoothie bar that makes everything before your eyes with whole, fresh ingredients and no flavour-enhancing additives, I would keep walking, pick up what you need at the market, and blend your own at home.
How can I make it affordable?
If one is moving away from cheap, processed foods to a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, it can be more epensive. But, in some cases, those convenience lattes and carry-out meals are actually more expensive in the long run than switching to a balanced diet you prepare at home that includes fresh, whole foods. I’ve often noticed people saying that once they started having green smoothies, their appetites also settled down, perhaps because it also seems to open up the taste buds to the deliciousnes (you will grow to love) of wholesome foods and a better awareness of what it’s like to feel satiated at the end of a meal.
I started growing some of my own ingredients, not only to cut costs, but to ensure the ingredients really are organically-grown and as fresh as possible.
What you can grow depends on your gardening zone and climate.
If space is limited, you can grow a lot of different fruits and berries in containers on a patio or sunny balcony.
For veggies, all of the leafy greens like spinach and kale are good choices. The smaller, leafy ones are the fastest growing.
How realistic is this?
For me, it’s not possible to grow everything in the volumes needed, nor can I grow some of the items year-round.
My favourite basic ingredient is fresh spinach. It’s a very fast and easy-to-grow and works in containers in partial shade. I also grow it indoors under grow lights in the winter and in my winter raised beds with protective covers over top. And yes, I’m a total spinach fan-girl.
I also grow some of the fruits that grow nicely in containers including strawberries and blueberries, but these are harvested just a few times a year.
The point is, you probably can’t grow it all, but every bit helps and—seriously—freshly-picked spinach is so much better tasting than the dry, lifeless stuff in the supermarket.
Universal Smoothie Recipe
- 1 part liquid
- 1 part vegetables (tightly-packed)
- 1 part fruits and berries
Scroll down to see the suggested ingredients.
- Wash and dry the vegetables and fruits.
- Chop up the ingredients, unless your blender is strong enough to blend without pre-chopping.
- Put 1 part liquid (for example, 1 cup or 8 fluid ounces or 236 ml) in your blender.
- Add 1 part vegetables. Blend until smooth.
- Add 1 part fruit and berries. Blend until smooth.
I hope you’ll test out the recipe and try a few adaptions. If all goes as planned, you’ll be feeling better on Team Green Smoothie in no time.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
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