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It's Easy to Be Green: Healthy Recipes for Green Smoothies
The Rise of Green Drinks
Years ago, if you picked up a juice from the grocery, it likely was something fruity from a major manufacturer. Fast forward to 2013, where you'll find a plethora of designer bottles most likely for $8.99 a pop.
Premium juicing is no longer a fringe movement of superfoods in a bottle; drinking your greens has hit its stride. In 2012 juicing was a $5 billion business, projected to grow up to 8 percent a year, according to Barron's. Well-known premium brands like Odwalla and Naked Juices are backed by powerhouse parents (Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, respectively). And in October 2013, Starbucks opened a new $70 million juice facility in Rancho Cucamonga, California, set to sling their bottled Evolution juice line right alongside their mocha-frappa-everythings.
The USDA recommends 2-4 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of vegetables daily, which can be challenging for some people. Like those who live in regions without easily accessible fresh produce. Or those who just really, really like burritos. But regardless which camp you belong to, green juices and smoothies are easy ways to funnel your daily allotment of greens into a single serving.
Green Smoothies vs. Green Juice
Both green juices and smoothies are good for you, but is one preferable to the other? See which method fits your lifestyle best:
If you have a busy morning with back-to-back meetings then you might be better off with the blender. Juicing tends to strip away fiber, which means that smoothies may keep you fuller longer, says Michelle Truong-Leikauf, RD, author of food blog Mitch in the Kitchen. Smoothies also pack maximum nutrition thanks to fibrous plant skins and pulp that contain micronutrients like carotenoids and flavonoids, which help reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
If you're a picky eater juices may be better at diversifying and disguising plants you might not otherwise eat. "Think wheatgrass, beets, jicama, kale, cucumbers," says Kristina LaRue, RD, LD/N, author of food blog Love and Zest. "You may not like the taste or texture of certain fruits and vegetables, but the good news is they taste different when juiced." Those with sensitive stomachs caused by conditions such as IBS or a flare-up of colitis may handle juices better than smoothies as well because they are easier to digest thanks to the lack of fiber. However, Truong-Leikauf cautions against juices that are heavy on fruit due to their sugar concentration. Even these naturally occurring sugars can cause issues for those with sensitive stomachs.
Regardless of whether you favor smoothies or juices, both can be a slimming snack or, if made with protein and carbohydrates, a meal replacement. Ready to blend? We've collected eight tasty green drink recipes straight from the kitchens of RDs.
Alexandra Caspero, RD
Blueberry Basil Smoothie
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup spinach leaves
1 frozen banana
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
Blend ingredients until smooth.
Nutrition info per serving: 249 calories, 6g total fat, 50g carbohydrates, 9g fiber, 28g sugar, 5g protein
Created by Alexandra Caspero, RD, owner of Delicious Knowledge
McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Mint Chocolate Chip Green Smoothie
2 heaping cups organic spinach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup filtered water
1 scoop chocolate protein powder of choice
1/4 cup fresh mint or 1 drop of mint extract to desired taste
1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs
Stevia to taste
Blend all ingredients into a high-speed blender until thick and smooth.
Nutrition info per serving: 365 calories, 22g fat, 0g trans fat, 22g carbohydrates, 8g sugar, 10g fiber, 30g protein
Created by McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian/Wellness Coach, owner and food blogger at Nutrition Stripped
Miranda Hammer, RD
Green Goblin Smoothie Bowl
2 dates, chopped
1 pear, chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
2 cups tightly packed spinach
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup coconut water
1 teaspoon turmeric
Flax seeds or powder
In a blender combine all ingredients until smooth. Place into a bowl and garnish with your preferred toppings.
Nutrition info per serving: 127 calories, 0.5g total fat, 0.1g saturated fat, 97mg sodium, 32.2g carbohydrate, 5.7g fiber, 16.8g sugar, 3.2g protein
Created by Miranda Hammer, RD, author of blog The Crunchy Radish
Andrea Lynne Photography
Green Monster Juice
1 cup of pineapple
4 large kale leaves
1/2 bunch of parsley
6 large stalks of celery
Knob of ginger
Place all ingredients into juicer.
Nutrition info per serving: 226 calories, 2g total fat, 35g carbohydrates, 15g sugar, 5g fiber, 8g protein
Created by Nicole Cormier, RD, LDN, author of blog Delicious Living Nutrition
Pretty in Pink Beet Chard Smoothie
1 cup firmly packed chopped red chard, including stems of 1 cup cooked red beets
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup ice
1 teaspoon maple syrup/sweetener of choice, optional
1 scoop protein powder of choice, optional
Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Nutrition info per serving: 270 calories, 4g fat, 20g protein, 39g, carbohydrates, 5g fiber
Created by EA Stewart, RD, author of blog The Spicy RD
Brenda Burdette, RD
Go-To Green Juice
1 cup raw baby spinach
1/2 green apple, with skin
1 kiwi, peeled
3-inch cucumber piece
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Splash of water (as needed)
1/2 cup lemon-flavored sparkling water or seltzer, chilled
In a blender, add ingredients through lemon juice and blend until completely combined. Add a splash of water if needed to help combine while blending. Pour into a glass and top with sparkling water. Stir to combine and enjoy.
Nutrition info per serving: 95 calories, 23g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 2g protein
Created by Brenda Burdette, RD, author of blog Deliciously Well
Michelle Truong-Leikauf, RD
Pineapple Kale Smoothie
3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup coarsely chopped kale, loosely packed
3 sprigs cilantro
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon agave nectar
A few dashes of chili powder
Blend ingredients together.
Nutrition info per serving: 192 calories, 2g total fat, 0.4g saturated fat, 8mg cholesterol, 86 mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate, 3.4g fiber, 19g sugar, 19g protein
Created by Michelle Truong-Leikauf, RD, author of blog Mitch in the Kitchen
Kristina LaRue, RD/LD/N
Tart Apple, Cucumber, and Mint Refresher
1/4 cup peeled and chopped cucumber
1/2 cup non fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup fresh baby spinach
1 small green apple, cored and sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh mint
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut water
2 cups ice
Pour all ingredients in a high-powered blender, and process until completely smooth.
Nutrition info per serving: 160 calories, 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 115mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate, 5g dietary fiber, 21g sugars, 11g protein
Created and photographed by Kristina LaRue, RD, LD/N, author of blog Love and Zest