USDA guidelines call for two and a half cups of vegetables per day. While I don’t agree with all of the USDA guidelines, I think they are on target with this one. If you stop by the farmers market on a Saturday, it’s easy to load up on greens and get your recommended servings early in the week. It’s when the week unfolds with the busy-ness of meetings to attend and chores to be done and family responsibilities that our focus on vegetables narrows.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, is to whirl them with some other nutritious ingredients in your blender to create a green smoothie. I’m not just talking about tossing a few spinach leaves into a fruit and yogurt smoothie. Think big. Think half a head of kale, or several handfuls of spinach. Start with a few ice cubes, and then use your creativity to build your smoothie. Some good bases include water, coconut water, coconut milk, or full-fat organic greek yogurt (if you can tolerate dairy). Frozen fruit, almond butter, a ripe banana, leftover canned or fresh pumpkin, avocado, flaxseed, and hempseed are some goodies to try. Just don’t forget to add your washed greens (and remember to de-stem the kale before blending it to avoid it’s excessive toughness). The coconut oil and avocado add some healthy fats as a bonus!
Here’s a template I use frequently:
5 ice cubes
6-8 frozen strawberries
½ cup of other frozen fruit (blueberries, mango, pineapple)
1 ripe banana
5-6 large leaves of kale/2 handfuls spinach
1/2 an avocado
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 big splash coconut water
1 big splash coconut milk
Blend everything together, adding cold water as needed to bring it to your desired consistency.
And the real secret to enjoying green smoothies…pour it into a glass or jar that you really like!