Authors: Registered Dietitians
(HealthCastle.com) Normally, I start my day with a breakfast that includes a grain, usually toast, a protein, usually peanut butter, a milk product, usually yogurt, and fruit, usually a banana, and of course, a few cups of coffee. I don't usually include vegetables early in the day. My husband usually starts his day with a smoothie of some sort - a blend of frozen fruit, juice, banana and some kind of protein.
This morning, I decided to mix things up [literally] and try starting my day with a smoothie that included some vegetables. After the heaviness of a winter lifestyle, I was curious how a veggie smoothie would taste, and how it would feel in my body.
I find smoothies are forgiving of culinary experimentation. You don't need to follow a recipe exactly. However there are a few ingredients that I find are helpful in great tasting smoothies.
Key Ingredients for Great Tasting Smoothies:
- Bananas add a creamy texture and consistency to smoothies. They also add natural sweetness.
- I love the texture and the coolness that frozen fruit contributes. There are lots of frozen fruits available - strawberries, mixed berries, pineapple, mango and tropical fruit blends.
- I am not a huge fan of adding in ice cubes to smoothies. Because they are made from water, ice cubes dilute the flavours already there without adding any additional flavor.
- If you don't have frozen fruit, you can freeze juice into juice cubes and add those to your smoothie.
- I like to add in juice to add in liquid to help thin out my smoothie. I also like that it will add in natural sweetness for a pleasing drink. My go-to juice tends to be apple juice, though I have experimented with more tropical 100% fruit juice blends with success.
- Yogurt helps to thin out the smoothie to make it drinkable [not to mention, to make it a little easier for your blender to do its work]. It also contributes to a creamy, smooth drink.
- I prefer a low-fat vanilla yogurt which also adds in a little sweetness.
- Depending on what kind of smoothie taste you are going for, I will add in low-fat milk, for more of a creamy-tasting smoothie. For my green smoothie below, I elected to leave out the milk in my experimentation.
Ingredients for a Green Vegetable Smoothie:
For my smoothie, I used the following:
- key lime yogurt
- kiwi fruit
- green apple
- green grapes
- apple juice
- frozen mango
I am not a huge fan of measuring ingredients for smoothies - it creates more dishes to clean up, and also allows more freedom to use ingredients that you have in your kitchen. However, if you would like some guidance on the approximate amounts that I used, here it is:
- 1 whole banana
- 1 cup key lime yogurt
- 1 peeled kiwi fruit
- 1/2 of a green apple, skin on
- 1/4 large English cucumber, skin removed
- 1/2 cup broccoli
- 1 cup green grapes
- Just under 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cup frozen mango
- a few leaves of parsley
I was most interested in what effect the cucumber, broccoli and parsley would have on my smoothie. I thew all my ingredients into my blender. I like to put the frozen fruit + liquid in first. Having a little bit of liquid helps the blender mix all the ingredients together without getting all jammed up.
I personally love yogurt. It adds moisture and a creaminess to the smoothie, not to mention calcium!
Give the blender a whirl. I let the blender run for about 1 minute to make sure all the vegetables and fruits were completely blended, leaving no fibrous bits. This was especially important since I had left the skin on both the grapes and apple. I also wanted to blend up the small ends of the broccoli.
And voila - a quick and nutritious smoothie Green Vegetable Smoothie. I made this smoothie in under 5 minutes.
The smoothie tasted fresh...clean...refreshing, leaving me with a light and clean feeling. I had my husband, and my 6 year old food critic taste test. Drum roll..... both said it was great. So good that my son wanted to use the smoothie as bait to catch a leprechaun with his home-made leprechaun trap.
I did not add in any additional sugar, and yet, the smoothie had a pleasant, natural sweetness from the banana, the apple juice and the grapes. It was a successful experimentation of adding in vegetables to my morning breakfast. This smoothie was a delicious addition to my breakfast, but could also be a hydrating and refueling drink as a snack, in the afternoon, or after a workout. It was a tasty way to add in more vegetables into my diet too.
I will definitely continue to experiment with adding in different combinations of vegetables to my morning drinks. Stay tuned...