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Are you up for a green smoothie challenge? How many times have you planned to lead a healthier lifestyle, only to find yourself making excuses, and putting it off? Weeks, months, and in some cases, years go by, and there you are, still clinging to your sugar-laden soda and bag of crisps, or cappuccino and croissant. Trust me, we’ve all been there!
Even though most of us are desperate to be healthier, happier, fitter, trimmer and more energetic, change takes time and effort – and sometimes comes with a price tag – gym membership, fitness equipment, supplements, organic fruit, and veg – none of which are cheap.
But what if there was a simple way to improve your overall health and wellbeing, get your 5 a day, and if weight loss is your goal, lose a few pounds on the way – and all achievable with small changes and little cost? The good news is, there is! And I’ve done it myself. It’s a small change, but the rewards are BIG. All you have to do is to introduce a green smoothie into your daily diet.
So let’s get started!
WHY A GREEN SMOOTHIE
Still need convincing? Just by drinking a green smoothie every day, you will reap the following rewards:
- Increase your vegetable and fruit intake
- Boost your vitamin, mineral and antioxidant intake
- Green Smoothies alkalise your body, which has been proven to help fight off illness and disease.
- Improve hydration levels, especially if you make your green smoothie with coconut water
- Improve your digestion. Green smoothies are filled with fibre, which is beneficial for a variety of digestive complaints
- Support weight loss by satisfying your appetite and reducing the desire to snack on junk food
BE PREPARED AND GO GREEN!
One of the best things about green smoothies is that they are a fuss-free but high-gain health tweak. Green smoothies can be prepared in advance, which means that it’s easy to make them a part of your daily routine. It also lessens the chances of running late (because you’re busy blending), not having the ingredients to hand, and of course, the biggest excuse of all, that you can’t be bothered because it’s too much effort! If you do the prep, you can throw a green smoothie together in minutes.
Gather your ingredients: Go shopping for all your ingredients. I try to buy organic and I shop locally, so my fruit and veg are good quality. Or if you’re a green-fingered gardener and grow your own, they’re literally ready-to-pick!
Organic alternative: If you can’t afford to buy organic, as this can be expensive, a good tip is to soak your fruit and veg in a bowl of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for around 5 minutes. This helps to remove any pesticides. Fruit and veg often go off so quickly, so smoothies are a great way of ensuring you have little, or no waste.
Go seasonal: Shop for seasonal fruit and veg when you can. This means that they are more likely to be local and less likely to have travelled from far-off places, so lessening your carbon footprint.
Experiment with Green Smoothie Recipes: Don’t be afraid to experiment with your smoothies. The more variety, the better!
EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED FOR A GREEN SMOOTHIE CHALLENGE
- High-Speed Blender; I use a Vitamix blender. I’ve tried-and-tested a number of cheaper blenders, but they just didn’t do the job., Since I invested in a Vitamix, I haven’t looked back. If you are going to be making a lot of smoothies, a high-speed blender is the easiest, fastest way to get smooth results. Cheap blenders, in my experience, often equal lumpy smoothies!
- Freezer Bags; (I use biodegradable bags, or you can invest in some silicone reusable bags.). These are great for storing and keeping your chopped fruit and veg ‘fresh’ until you need them.
- Freezer safe Mason Jars
- Optional; Pineapple corer and slicer but this tool is brilliant if you eat a lot of pineapples
HOW MUCH FRUIT AND VEG TO USE
I find green smoothies work best with ¾ vegetables and ¼ fruit as a natural sweetener. If you have a higher veggie content, your smoothie may taste too bitter.
If you are new to smoothies, I would recommend trying more fruit to start with, and then as your taste buds become accustomed, gradually lessen the fruit to reduce the sugar content.
I have created another post called The A – Z of the Best Smoothie ingredients to help you get even more organised.
IDEAS FOR GREEN SMOOTHIE BAGS
- 1 cup spinach or ½ cup kale as its more bitter (I like black kale )
- ½ celery stick
- 2 cm cucumber
- 1 chopped banana or ½ avocado for creaminess in your smoothie
- ½ cup large fruit (mango, apple, pineapple are good)
- A handful of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries
Chop your fruit and veg and add to freezer bags These bags should last up to 18 months in your freezer, but I’m really hoping they won’t last that long! They don’t take up much space, so will easily fit into the smallest freezer. I make up as many fruit and veg bags as I can and freeze them fruit and veg, just keeping a small amount in the fridge to eat ‘fresh’.
In the morning, simply take a bag out of the freezer and put it into the blender. Add 1 cup of liquid. I normally use non-dairy milk, like coconut or almond milk, water, coconut water, or you could add 1/2 cup yoghurt and ½ cup water (to thin it down slightly) and blend. If the consistency is too thick, add more liquid; or if it feels too ‘watery’, add some banana, or avocado to thicken it up.
You can experiment by adding superfood powders and other nutrient-rich ingredients such as dessert spoon of chia, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, a spoonful of peanut or almond butter, or a spoonful of superfood powders.
My advice is to add powders in small amounts, as some green powders, or maca can have a strong taste and may overpower your smoothie. Start with 1 dessert spoon and you can always add more if you really like the taste.
I recently wrote a post on my top 5 favourite superfood powders so take a look for inspiration.
Blend First then Freeze
The other option is to blend the smoothies first, then freeze them. You will need to use freezer-proof Mason Jars to do this. The main advantage of blending them before freezing is you can take them out the freezer in the morning to add to your packed lunch and by the time you go to lunch, your smoothie will have defrosted perfectly but still be chilled. Be careful not to overfill your Mason Jar right to the top, as when you’re freezing liquid it expands, so you could have an explosion in your freezer! Leave the jar empty from the bottom of the neck to allow the liquid to expand.
Another way to have your green smoothie is to have it with cereal in the morning and to create a smoothie bowl. Simply pour your smoothie into your cereal instead of milk. I always make my green smoothie with milk if I’m adding it to cereal. It’s another easy way of fitting your smoothie into your day.
I hope this inspires you all to add a green smoothie into your life! Sometimes it’s hard to get started and know what recipes to use, so I have added some to get you started
I hope this has inspired you to try the Green Smoothie Challenge! I’d love to know how you get on, and if you have a favourite recipe, please share it.
Have you tried this green tea chia seed dessert recipe yet?
|Natalie Shirlaw is passionate about healthy living and writes posts about wellbeing. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to pin it or share it!|