Thursday, March 7, 2013

Are you getting your "greens?"

I feel like everywhere I turn, everyone is obsessed about "getting their greens." Greens meaning spinach and kale. Swiss chard and bok choy. I feel like the whole green movement is like the fat free trend of the 90's. Its hot right now. I put it in the same bucket as "eating clean."  

And no I am not bashing anyone who eats clean or green. 90% of the time, I eat that way. I just get annoyed at all the people who talk about it. Or "pin" it. Just eat. Eat because of the health benefits. Not because you think if you pin it, people will perceive you as this raw, organic wonder woman who concocts amazing, healthy recipes and crafts all day, everyday. Not reality.  

Obviously a hot button for me. I'll stop.

There's no denying that greens are nutritious and more people should be incorporating leafy veggies into their daily diet. But many of those people don't even know where to begin to make them delicious. One of the freshest, fastest ways to get your greens is in a smoothie. Plus smoothies are a good gateway drink for vegetable-adverse kids.

Here are a few tips for the best results and recipes from Real Simple that will have you turning over a new leaf in no time. These are simple recipes that you can make from the things you already have at home. I personally would add Greek yogurt to any of these for a more creamy texture. And if you want to get really fancy, you could add chia or flax seeds. But again, I'm trying to keep this simple.


1) Put the liquid in first. Surrounded by juice or water, the blender blades can move freely. Next add your greens with the chunks of fruit or vegetable going into the pitcher last.

2) Start slow. If your blender has speeds, start it on low to break up big pieces of fruit, then work your way up to high for a puree. For blenders with function buttons, pulse a few times before switching to the puree mode.

3) Thicken with ice. Added too much juice or coconut milk? Toss in a few ice cubes and voila!


Collard Greens Smoothie With Mango and Lime: Frozen mango and green grapes naturally sweeten this refreshing drink.

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups stemmed and chopped collard greens or spinach
1 1/2 cups frozen mango
1 cup green grapes

Directions: Combine the lime juice, ½ cup water, the collard greens, mango, and grapes in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.

Spinach Smoothie With Avocado and Apple: The avocado makes this smoothie creamy without any additional dairy.

1 1/2 cups apple juice
2 cups stemmed and chopped spinach or kale
1 apple—unpeeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 avocado, chopped

Directions: Combine the apple juice, spinach, apple, and avocado in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding water to reach the desired consistency.

Kale Smoothie With Pineapple and Banana: Coconut milk, chopped pineapple, and banana add a tasty tropical twist.

1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach
1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple (about 1/4 medium pineapple)
1 ripe banana, chopped

Directions: Combine the coconut milk, ½ cup water, the kale, pineapple, and banana in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.
Spinach, Grape, and Coconut Smoothie: With just 3 ingredients and a handful of ice, you can whip up a delicious breakfast or snack in minutes.

1 cup seedless green grapes
1 cup packed baby spinach
1/2 cup ice
1/4 cup coconut milk

Directions: Place the grapes, spinach, ice, and coconut milk in a blender. Blend until smooth and frothy.

Kale-Apple Smoothie: The apple juice and bananas mask the vegetable flavors so well, you’ll barely taste the kale.

3/4 cup chopped kale, ribs and thick stems removed
1 small stalk celery, chopped
1/2 banana
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup ice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions: Place the kale, celery, banana, apple juice, ice, and lemon juice in a blender.