How much should I vary greens in green smoothies?

by Cassandra
(Brookklyn)

Question: How much should I vary greens in green smoothies? How many green veggies should we be using a day in our green smoothies?


I have been blending green smoothies but only using baby spinach. It has the lightest "green" flavor. I didn't realize I had to switch it up.

Today, I made 1 quart of green smoothie.

2 cups frozen berries
1 banana
2 cup water
2 cups spinach

(made slightly more than a quart)

I drank this througout the day.

1. Is it okay to drink a quart of juice throughout the day?

2. Should I use 3 different greens a day and just alternate throughout the week?

3. Should I be switching fruits too?

Answer:
Cassandra,

What great green smoothie questions! You are right on target when saying that we should vary our greens in our smoothies.

It is important... as there are many different types of beneficial nutrients in each set of greens. Some are packed with iron, others protein, and so forth. Our bodies need a rainbow of nutrients.

Also, Victoria Boutenko has research in her book showing that greens all have their own type of alkaloid that can be harmful if consumed on a regular basis. She recommends a minimum of 2 types of greens rotated throughout the week. And to rotate to 2 other types of greens the following week.

Example of changing greens:
Week #1 - Spinach and Kale Green Smoothies
Week #2 - Lettuce and Swiss Card Green Smoothies
Week #3 - Bok Choy and Spinach Green Smoothies
Week #4 - Kale and Beet tops Green Smoothies

To answer your other questions:

1. Yes, you can drink your green smoothies throughout the day. That's completely fine. It is probably better for your system to have the smoothie slowly going through your digestive track instead of a gush of it all at once. I actually prefer to drink mine throughout the morning.

Just make sure that the leftovers are chilled in the refrigerator or in a cold thermos.

2. Using 3 types of greens throughout the week is a great idea. But the following week, change at least 1-2 of those greens. Perhaps, you could keep using spinach throughout those weeks... but keep changing up the other two types of greens.

3. It's always a great idea to switch up fruits just like the greens. Every fruit has its benefits. I have a hard time with this one. I prefer blueberries, pineapple, and banana. So I am constantly trying to break out of my Green Smoothie mold.

You don't have to be so rigid about changing up fruits every week. But I would encourage you to try new varieties. Maybe... You just might find another favorite green smoothie combination. :)

I hope this answers your green smoothie questions!

Happy Blending!

DaNae
Thirsty? Check out more delicious and healthy smoothie recipes!

Comments for How much should I vary greens in green smoothies?

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green smoothie alt.
by: Anonymous

I like to use green apple as my base, then kale n baby spinach, then swich around other vegies.. apple is a sweatner,

Favorite versatile green recipe
by: Paige

I have been using this recipe for about six months, at least once a day, usually twice, and it's my absolute favorite green smoothie recipe. Most days it's either kale, spinach, or a combination of the two, but I'm going to branch into other greens starting this week. I find that this one has a good creamy vanilla-banana flavor that I usually can't get with berry-sweetened smoothies. Since going vegan, I needed something to fulfill my craving for "creamy" stuff (if that makes sense), and this fits the bill.

How to make the easiest and best green smoothie:

1-1.5 cups sweetened almond milk (I use vanilla)
1-2 tblsp hemp seeds or 1 tsp hemp oil (optional)
spoonful of natural peanut butter or almond butter
half a banana (frozen is best but room temp will
do)
drizzle of honey
3-4 torn up leaves of kale (or 2 cups in volume
of whatever greens you're using)

Blend until green flecks are no longer, and boom, the best way to start your morning :) ...also a very reliable hangover cure

Green Smoothies
by: Connie D.

I purchased a vita mix a month ago. Best thing I have purchased that is used every day.

I make my green smoothies witout the fruit. They are delicious!!

Sometimes I add a 1/4 cup of blueberries , or 4 big strawberries, or 1/4 cup of rasberries. I try watching my carbs.

The base is:

1 cup almond milk..the 40 calorie one
1/2 cup of cottage cheese or ricotta
or 1/4 or each
1/2 T. of Olive oil
1 T. almond meal
1 T. of flaxseed meal
1 T. S. Cream
2 T. Ray Robb Protein Powder.

Top with 2/4 cups of Kale, and 2/spinach.

I vary my greens, but shoot for 5 cups in the smoothie. Use yellow squash, zuc.

It is very good. Also there is a powdered p. butter out there, that most of fat has been removed..Ing. are p.butter and salt. Very good in the smoothie also.

Try it...is very very good. Freezes well

Carrots and carrot tops, i.e., greens
by: Mike Corbeil

DaNae,

In reference to your reply to Christine:

You wrote, "When I have a lot of carrots from the garden, I usually wash all of them and freeze them in baggies".

Are you meaning only the carrot greens?

I've read that to freeze carrots (the root) they need to be blanched by placing them in boiling water for a few minutes, first. A Web search shows carrots need to be blanched and that this can be done by either boiling or steaming, lightly.

It apparently needs to be done with not all, but nevertheless many other plant foods that humans eat. And a website called PickYourOwn says that the blanching is to eliminate bacteria and that all vegetables and fruits come with some bacteria that need to be deactivated before freezing.

For leaf veggies, I don't know for sure but believe to have seen frozen raw spinach in grocery stores. If raw spinach can be safely frozen, then I suppose that freezing in raw form can also be suitable for leaf greens, though can't guess about lettuces.

Bell peppers and I believe onions can be safely frozen raw, but then they're not really vegetables. Or maybe the information I read about this in or from is inaccurate.

Oxalate acids:

WHFoodsDOTcom, which uses plenty of reference resources, says spinach and chard should be lightly boiled before consuming them and that this is to either eliminate or seriously reduce oxalate acid content; the oxalates being released into the boiling water and, therefore, removed from these veggies. Spinach would be boiled for 1 minute, while chard would be boiled for 3-4 minutes. I think that that's for a quantity of 1lb, each. And I think the website says that the countdown should begin as soon as these leaf veggies are placed and submerged in the water when it's boiling, instead of waiting to start the countdown only when the water returns to a boil. It's explained in the webpages for these veggies at that website, anyway.

The information is found at WHFoods and a simple Web search of the website for oxalates will turn up plenty of articles or pages. For leaf veggies, the website says there're three varieties that contain oxalates to be eliminated and collard greens, f.e., isn't the third. I just tried Googling the website and find that Kale contains "measurable amounts of oxalates", so maybe this is the third one.

Carrot greens:

The page for carrots at WHFoods mentions carrot greens (search using greens, plural) a number of times and it evidently is recommendable to consume them, including raw; or maybe only raw.

This would be for carrots grown in organic or certifiably organic ways. I wouldn't trust even plenty of rinsing of leaf veggies that've been contaminated with toxic chemicals; not even one minute of rinsing. It would wash off some of the contamination, but would it wash off all of these chemicals? Do the plants absorb any of these chemicials? I would just prefer to buy certified organic or grow my own.

Shopping for green smoothies...
by: DaNae

Lydia,

That's great that you started drinking green smoothies. The main thing to shop for are fruit (bananas, berries, pineapple, orange), greens (spinach, kale, collard greens), and nutrient additives (seeds, green drink, superfoods).

There are several recipes on my site that you can try.

I hope this helps!

Happy Blending!

I'm just starting...
by: Lydia

Hi, I'm just starting this, because I want to lose weight easy and safe. :) Do you have any specific recipes I could use? I kinda need an idea of what I need to buy at the store. :) I apreciate it.

Lettuce
by: DaNae

Suzanne,

You can use any kind of lettuce in your smoothies. Of course romaine lettuce contains the most nutrients... where iceberg doesn't contain many nutrients. You can also use any garden lettuce varieties.

Hope this helps!

Happy Blending!

DaNae

greens
by: Suzanne

What types of lettuce would you use?

Changing greens
by: Margie

Thank you for your ideas, I also have become a green smoothie addict and have my smoothie for breakfast. I have alternated my greens with broccoli, cucumber, celery, bok choy and silverbeet, still using the baby spinach as my base. I also change my fruit and mangoe and berries is my favourite.

Using carrot tops in smoothies
by: DaNae

Christine,

That's a good question! I have used carrot tops in my smoothies. I usually mix the tops with spinach, as the carrots tops have more green flavor than spinach. When I have a lot of carrots from the garden, I usually wash all of them and freeze them in baggies. I have also used: Beet tops, radish greens, parsley, and more.

Some people say that the carrot tops contain more nutrients than the actual carrot. :) So, go ahead and try it out!

Happy Blending!

DaNae

What about carrot tops?
by: Christine

I've just begun the green smoothie exploration with my Cuisinart. I've found my favorite recipe on this website and begun to stock my fridge/freezer with prepared ingredients to make things easy on busy days. Variety and relevance keeps me focused which leads to my question. I am big on carrots and have a constant supply of carrot tops. Do carrot tops have any nutritional benefits? If so, I would love to use them instead of tossing into the compost.

Thanks for letting me know!

-Christine

Very Helpful
by: Cassandra

Yes your suggestions are very helpful.


This evening I will be going to trader joes to pick up some other pre packaged fresh veggies.

I think I will keep switching two veggies per week. Now if only I can get trader joes to sell lambsquaters *sigh*

Thank you!

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