Smoothies, and in particular green smoothies, are a fun and fantastically easy way to get a bucket of nutrients into yourself and your kids. I’ll admit, the first time I heard about having a ‘green shake’, I absolutely balked at the idea: How could blending a salad be even remotely delicious? And you think my kids are going to eat this??? Well, as a mom of two, I’ll tell ya, I have become an expert at blending exceptionally yummy green drinks that my little guys go crazy for!
Green drinks ~ make ’em delicious!
The trick to a successful green drink, at least at first, is to hide the green stuff and then make it really creamy. To do this, you’ll need a high-powered blender or food-processor.
Fill the blender with greens (I use a mixture of spinach, kale, parsley and cilantro. To make my life easy, I mix them all together in one bag and then just grab handfuls out of it). My ‘blender’ is a large food processor, and I fill the bowl to the top with greens, loosely packed down. All in, its’ more than 4 cups of green food. I add 3-4 pitted dates on top as this will sweeten the smoothie as well as provide an excellent source of minerals.
I then pour hot water (yes, hot!) over the top to wilt the greens a bit (in total, it’s about ¼-½ cup of boiling water). Greens are an excellent source of iron, calcium and other minerals, but they need to be cooked in order for us to get these nutrients out of them. For me, boiling water is the quickest way to do this. Don’t worry, you’re going to chill this down with frozen fruit and ice-cubes. I promise, you’re not going to serve a hot green mess for breakfast and expect your kids to love it!
Start blending, and then get creative and add in all sorts of produce. I like to add a small cucumber (the little Japanese ones are great) and some kiwi or mango if I’ve got it (this increases the vitamin C and gets even more fruit and veg in).
Make it Creamy…
Believe it or not, the first stop on my creamy smoothie train is zucchini! It has a mild flavour which masks the more bitter greens, and it creates a deliciously creamy smoothie. On the nutrient front, zucchini is a great source of fiber, minerals and vitamin C. If you’re hiding the greens, peel the zucchini to avoid the tell-tale green flecks that your little monkeys will notice immediately!
For further creaminess, add an avocado (healthy fats) and 1 or 2 bananas (great source of potassium and vitamin B6). Drizzle in some flax oil (1 Tbsp or so) and hemp hearts (1-2 Tbsp) to increase the healthy fats and to provide protein.
To boost the protein content, add a couple scoops of protein powder (I use a sprouted brown rice protein powder that has nothing else in it). Alternatively, add a few tablespoons of nut butter for protein.
Leave it green for those that can handle the colour, or add frozen blueberries or even cocoa powder and you’re on the road to a deliciously healthy chocolate milkshake. And who doesn’t love that?!
Add your liquid of choice (rice milk, nut milk, coconut milk or water) until it’s the consistency you want, and then blend in 5 or 6 ice cubes to chill it down and make it frothy.
Voila! A vegetable rich, nutrient dense, super satisfying glass of deliciousness. And for an added twist? Leave the liquid out so it’s thicker, and either pour it into popsicle moulds for an afternoon treat or pop it into a bowl and top with granola and sliced banana for the all-new and trendy smoothie-bowl!
NUTRITION IN A GLASS MADE SO FAST!
- high-powered blender
INGREDIENTS & INSTRUCTIONS:
- Place the following in the blender:
- mix of any number of greens, enough to fill the blender (3-4 handfuls): spinach, kale, cilantro, parsley
- 3-4 pitted dates
- Pour 1/4-1/2 cup boiling water over the greens and dates. Just enough so the greens wilt & brighten
- Blend until as smooth as possible
- Add the creamy ingredients and blend well:
- 1 small zucchini, peeled if you’re hiding the green (zucchine is the secret key for the creamy! Also high in fiber & vitamin C)
- 1-2 ripe bananas
- 1 avocado (optional, but delicious & nutritious & CREAMY)
- Add any other soft produce: cucumber, mango, kiwi, pear…
- Keep blending…
- Add 3/4 – 1 cup frozen berries (blues, blacks, raspberries…)
- Add liquid of choice to reach the consistency you like (avoid juice to keep the sugar lower). Nut milks, rice milk or water all work great
- Keep the liquid out and you’ve got a ‘smoothie bowl’ that you can add granola too or pour it into popsicle moulds for a fun treat.
- Add 2 scoops of protein powder of nut butter to increase the protein content
- Add 1-2 Tbsp of flax or hemp oil to increase the essential fatty acids
- Add herbs & spices to increase the micronutrient content. Consider the following:
- tumeric: detoxifying and anti-inflammatory
- cinnamon: aids blood-sugar balance and immune function
- ginger: aids digestion and immune function