Thursday, February 18, 2010

Healthy Green Smoothies

Recently, I came across a great website for health and nutrition.
I learned some great ways to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables in my family's diet.  
And the best part is, they really enjoy it!
I've been making smoothies for my kids- often for breakfast, but a few times for an after dinner snack, too.
Amazingly, they ask for it.  

Below, I have posted directions for a basic green smoothie.
Full of fresh greens (and you can use all types) and berries, this drink is chock full of nutrients.  
And it turns purple....which somehow delights the eyes and brains of  young children  so much more than something vibrantly green. 

I do believe that greens like spinach and kale, swiss chard and beet greens should also be eaten lightly cooked as this helps break down the oxalic acid in them.
Spinach and other fibrous leafy greens contain oxalic acid. While this cleans our intestinal tract, oxalic acid binds with calcium and diminishes the absorption of calcium in our bodies. 
For those who are prone to kidney stones, you might check into other greens for your smoothies- those that are not so high in oxalic acid.  Or, put in a lesser amount.  
Here is a link to an article on this very subject.
The 'chewing' process of the blender helps break down these fibrous greens, so our bodies can digest them easier.

Here's what you need:
A strong blender.  Mine is a Cuisinart and works great.

Spinach and Kale  (Spinach is a very sweet tasting green and is a great addition to your smoothie)  or Spinach and Swiss chard. 
Or any other leafy green combination you'd like to try. 
I purchase my spinach at Costco- an enormous bag, organic, for less than $4.00.

Berries.  I like to combine Costco's mixed berries with blueberries.            


Virgin Coconut oil and some milled Flax seed.
These add good fats to the smoothie, which helps you absorb more vitamins from the fruits and vegetables.  They're also great for your brain!

Plain yogurt.  This is optional- I don't always add it.  
But it's great for  adding probiotics to your diet and intestinal tract.

Bananas.  Or other fruit.  I usually add an apple (skin and all) to my smoothie.  The kids like a banana and apple in theirs.

To begin, add a few cups of water to  your blender.

To this; add a great, big handful of Spinach.
Get it down in there, where the blades can do their job.  
But don't pack it in tightly.

Mix it until smooth.


Now add another big handful of Spinach.


And throw in some Kale.  
I usually add a bit more than this, but I was running out.
I recommend adding a little the first few times, as Kale can  have a stronger 'green' flavor than spinach.

Mix it well.


Now  wash and core your apple, cutting it into quarters or eighths.
Leave the skin on. 
And toss her in:

This is also a good time to add your flax seed and coconut oil.
I usually add 3-4 tablespoons of flax meal and a large tablespoon of oil.


Now you can add your banana:


Add your berries.  I usually do 2 cups of mixed berries and 1 cup of blueberries. (all frozen- this makes the smoothie cold)
Add the cups separately and mix well between.

If the blender has a hard time mixing the berries, 
you can add a bit more water to thin it down.

See the color beginning to change?

 For this batch, I only added one cup of mixed berries and one cup of blueberries.  So it's not as dark as it usually is.

Scrape the sides to get all of the green incorporated.

Pour into glasses.
(Again, this is usually a darker purple)
And serve! 

 For my own smoothie, I sometimes add a bit of protein powder as well.
This breakfast is so much better for you than cereal, pancakes or other typical fare. 
We try to rotate our breakfast menu- some mornings we have the smoothies, other mornings we have steel cut oatmeal or eggs and toast.
These smoothies can be an added benefit to any meal.
And they are great brain boosters!

If you'd like to check out the website where I learned about these,
go here

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