By Pamela Fay
You’ve heard of a fruit smoothie. And you’ve heard of a diet shake. But have you heard of green smoothies? A green smoothie is nature’s own diet shake. They are sweet, creamy, delicious-and packed with nutrition. If you have tried diet shakes in the past and like the convenience but can’t get too enthusiastic about the taste, try whipping up a smoothie.
A green smoothie is simply a fruit smoothie with vegetables added. Despite the name, your smoothie might also be a vivid purple or chocolate colored depending upon the ingredients. You can add whatever veggies please your palate. Leafy greens are popular, and you should probably include them for highest nutritional value. Spinach, romaine, collards, kale and parsley are all good choices. But, you can also throw in red leaf lettuce, mint, basil, red pepper, celery and tomatoes if the mood strikes you. It is best to vary your greens so that you get a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals.
Green smoothies provide energy to power you through your mornings. Rich in fiber and high in antioxidants, they can also provide an abundance of vitamins like A, C and K. Contrary to popular opinion, greens provide a readily available source of essential amino acids (protein). In addition, you may find that the more fruits and vegetables you consume, the more your body seems to crave. These smoothies are just as convenient as diet shakes. You can make one fresh each morning and sip it on the way to work. Or, carry your smoothie along in a chilled thermos for a snack or fast meal replacement.
The best green smoothie recipes include a liquid, such as water, soy or almond milk, or a splash of grapefruit, lime or lemon juice. To keep the calories down, avoid using liquids that have added sugar, like a commercial smoothie mix or base. You can include frozen ingredients to make your smoothie thicker. Add in ice, frozen juice cubes, or frozen chunks of fruit. Frozen banana give the drink a creamy consistency, just like your favorite fast food shake. Green smoothies also include fresh fruit. Use whatever fruit you like: grapes, berries, cherries, mango, oranges, pears, kiwi, peaches or apricots to name just a few.
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Here is a recipe to get you started. It has approximately 145 calories in one large serving. With a delicious drink like this, who needs an artificially sweetened and flavored canned diet shake?
- 2 cups Romaine lettuce
- 1 banana (frozen, cut in chunks, or fresh)
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 cup water
- 4 to 6 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Makes one quart or two large servings. Enjoy!
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