If you’ve ever taken a sip of a green smoothie and thought to yourself, “This tastes like cardboard. How do people actually enjoy this, and drink it every day?” This post is for you.
Leading a healthy lifestyle is SO rewarding, but when you’re first getting started, it can be overwhelming. Everyone has an opinion on what is/isn’t good for you, what you should be having more/less of, what you should/shouldn’t stay away from, etc. BUT, if there’s one thing nearly everyone can agree on, it’s that GREENS are GOOD. Simple.
I didn’t realize how much my diet was lacking in greens until I started trying to incorporate them into my meals more. Before I went vegan, my “healthiest meals” consisted of a piece of protein (chicken/fish), a starch/grain (potato/white rice), lettuce, and dressing/sauce. Now, some of you may be thinking, “That sounds healthy to me!” Yes, that is much healthier than a slice of pizza or a hamburger, but why settle for “healthier than” when you can have THE HEALTHIEST. Catch my drift?
In order to get myself to a place where I truly loved and craved greens, I had to 1. re-train my taste buds, 2. change the way I look at a full, healthy meal, and 3. consider them as an option for every meal, not just lunch/dinner. Instead of looking at a green as a side act for the main attraction (the protein), it became the star of the show. Instead of, “What vegetable can I serve as a side to chicken,” it’s more like, “I have kale, spinach, and arugula in my fridge this week. I’ll use the kale for breakfast, the spinach for lunch, and the arugula for dinner.” The dressings, toppings, and creativity come in later. Ta daaaaa.
Don’t worry; I’m not implying you should wake up and have a solo bowl of kale for breakfast. In my opinion, kale tastes better when it’s paired with something, and obviously, that’s not a full meal anyway. I know when I first started exploring plant-based nutrition, I felt like I didn’t know how to incorporate my greens into a majority of my meals, especially breakfast+early lunch.
After I got a Vitamix, I experimented with countless fruit+veggie combos over and over again until I found a formula that worked for me. In an attempt to spare all of you from the nasty smoothie bowl, juice, and other green blends that I painfully experienced, I’ve created a list of hacks for you to keep in your back pocket.
tips+tricks on making green blends you’ll actually like
1. Natural sweeteners are a lifesaver
Before I went vegan, I didn’t even know what a date was. (The fruit, obv. Well, arguably the other thing too, now that I think about it. Hey, it’s tough out there…) That seems so crazy to me now, because today, they are such a HUGE part of my diet. They are a grocery store staple. Other examples of natural sweeteners are vanilla extract or vanilla bean, cinnamon, pineapple, bananas, and flavored nut milk. If it’s not a fruit+veg or it’s not homemade, always make sure there’s NO ADDED SUGAR.
2. Berries, berries, berries
Berries + greens are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, so why not have both before noon? No matter what kind of blend I’m making, I always use one or both of these. When making a green blend, they act as a natural sweetener and they amplify the nutrients in the dish. In most cases, I just use a handful.
3. Go frozen
If you’ve ever bought massive bunches of kale+spinach only to throw it out later in the week because it went bad, you’re not alone. When I grocery shop, I buy a TON of greens, and about 50% of them are frozen. I’ve found that frozen greens sort of act as nutrient-ice cubes in smoothies, bowls, and juices, which is a win-win. Cold, healthy, and cost efficient!
4. Fillers are KEY
When I say “fillers” I don’t mean whatever BS processed food contains to “fill” a product that’s really just made of junk. What I mean is this: A lot of people don’t like green smoothies or juices because when they make them, 3/4 of the ingredients are greens. Nutrient-wise, this is great! Taste wise, eh, not so much. But when you blend/juice greens, they whittle down to nearly nothing, so what do you do? This is where fillers come in. My two go-to fillers are frozen bananas and cauliflower. These ingredients give the blends texture, they make more food, and they help with the taste. (Especially banana.)
5. I’m in love with the vo-vo. AVO!
I always throw half an avo into my green dishes. It adds healthy fats which keep me happily full until the next meal, it REALLY helps with the texture so you don’t feel like you’re chewing on a carpet, and it helps with the taste. Sweet or salty, you can never go wrong with an avo.
6. Know what texture you are looking for
Are you looking to make a quick juice? Add more greens+water and fewer fillers. Are you looking for a breakfast bowl? Use nearly EVERYTHING frozen and top it with seeds+gronola to give it texture. Looking for a smoothie? Do a combo of both of the above. If you tell yourself you want a juice and you throw in 3 bananas and hardly any water, you’ll get a smoothie texture, and this is discouraging. Know what you want before you reach for the blender and you’ll set yourself up for success before you even begin.
Finally, just for reference, here’s my go-to green smoothie recipe. Happy blending!
In good health,