I know I already shared I got a Vitamix for Christmas from the husband.
Have I told you how much I love it already? Because right now I am wondering how I can take it on vacations with me?!
I have been creating green smoothies for about a year. It started because I was trying to find a way to use the greens available at my local farm stand. I also knew I needed more veggies in my diet. However green smoothies frightened me a little….was it going to taste GREEN?! I know you are thinking things can’t taste green but in my mind they could. A juice bar opened a few towns away and I headed up there one day with the kids and had a Kale, pineapple, orange smoothie -and it tasted great!! So I started making them at home. I pretty much made the same smoothie a few days a week the next 8 months. I know wicked adventurous right??
So I thought I would share Smoothie 101 from Stacey’s point of view. And by Stacey’s point of view I mean I am not a registered dietitian, not the Abe Froman of smoothies.
I am just a Rhode Island Mom with a blog and a new Vitamix.
Smoothies vs Juicing. A lot of people use the words interchangeably but they are different. Juicing is actually making juice from the veggies or the fruit. Think orange juice but with carrot and without the other ingredients. Some folks are really into juicing but you definitely need a specialty juicing machine for that process. So for right now I am sticking to smoothies but pick up a juice now and then when it’s available.
Figure out your green of choice
I think starting with spinach is a good place. Spinach is a bright green happy color and has a sweeter taste to start with than Kale. A cup and a half of spinach, an amount you can easily put in a smoothie, has only 10 calories, 2g of fiber, and 1g of protein. It’s also a good source of zinc. Putting that in your smoothie is over half you daily requirement for vegetables a day.
Add a fruit or two
So my suggestion is to use 1/2 fruit 1/2 veggies if possible. If you start with 2/3 fruit, 1/3 vegetables you are adding too much high sugar (even though its natural sugar) to your diet. And sugar doesn’t help control hunger that well in addition can add calories you don’t want in a smoothie. But start somewhere…even if it’s cutting back on the fruit little by little to get to a more balanced place.
I try to use lower glycemic index fruits. Basically lower sugar. A great article and list of lower GI fruits can be found in this article. Now I will say I added a whole grapefruit to a smoothie this week and I probably will cut it back to a half next time -way too tart for me!
A few other thoughts on fruit. I like it frozen if possible because I like cold icy like smoothies. Also for me its a great way to not spoil fruit. Usually I slice up a pineapple right away and throw it in the freezer. However for apples, pears or oranges that doesn’t really work. If you add blueberries or even strawberries to your green spinach be prepared for something that looks like this
Now I know it looks like something you would spend a lot of time analyzing with your partner if that came out of your newborn. But it’s a smoothie so it doesn’t taste like it looks I promise. And just ignore the comments from coworkers when you enter the office with that brownish-greenish drink in your hand.
You need liquid to blend with. Water is a good no calorie choice. I like some coconut water for the sweetness but you have to watch the calories. Usually I add 1/2 cup coconut water and a half cup coconut milk. Coconut milk adds creaminess. Or sometimes some water, some ice, some coconut milk. You sort have to find the consistency you like. I like icy so frozen fruit or ice is must for me.
If you water a Vitamix it’s that easy (infomercial almost over I promise!!).
If you have a regular blender it may take a little extra work. When I started making smoothies I had a kick butt Waring blender but it couldn’t smoothie things down like the Vitamix can. I used to chop the spinach a little, add liquid and blend. Turn it off add some fruit and more liquid and blend. Then check it and do a final blend. So here is the deal you can expect a tiny a bit of chew with a regular blender. It didn’t bother me but if you have texture issues at all you may not like it (spoken like the special needs Mom I am). Also using big fat straws to drink it through (I used to “acquire” McDonalds straws) helped too. I drink my smoothies with a straw, don’t know why it’s my thing.
Phew did you make it this far? I like being far more levity in my blog posts 9but I did squeeze the Abe Froman reference in – winning!) and more pictures but it’s a good start for Smoothie Sunday. Looking forward to more posts with what I blended weekly and look forward to you sharing your feedback/recipes!
The old standby – serves 2 – 16 ounce servings
1.5 cups Spinach
1.5 cups Kale
1.5 – 2 cups Pineapple (frozen)
.5 cups coconut water
.5 cups coconut milk
(add extra water or ice as needed)