April Superfood: Smoothies

As a teenager, my mom asked me every time I ate out or made myself something to eat “where’s your green vegetable?” As a typical teenager, I didn’t so much appreciate my mom’s suggestions, or green vegetables for that matter.

Fast forward to me as mom – yes, I’m the one asking my kids where their green vegetable is. My mom tries not to say “I told you so,” but I appreciate her temptation.

My tactic for getting veggies of all colors into my kids: sneak. What they can’t see/taste won’t hurt them. So smoothies have become a bit of a staple in our house. I’ve done the green smoothie thing for years – thousands of them – and have tried many different ingredient combos. The smoothies may not be pretty to look at, but I’ve figured out how to make a pitcher full of veggies taste pretty good.

10 Tips to the Drinkable Green Smoothie:

  1. Freeze your greens. It seems to make them taste a bit less “green.” Grab the big bag or box of greens (kale, spinach, chard, a mix) and portion it out into sandwich bags. About a cup each and you have a serving per bag. Use them frozen. Thawing turns them to slime.
  2. Add a bit of red cabbage. It’s great for you, and it ups the color from sludge-ish green to a more appetizing purple.
  3. Always add at least half a banana. This helps the texture and sweetens the deal.
  4. Use frozen berries of all dark colors. Berries are at least as good for you as the green stuff, and they make the green stuff go down easier.
  5. Use a piece of pineapple core. Yes, the woody core. Cut up a pineapple, give your kids the good bits, cut the core into chunks and freeze them. It helps the digestion and the acidity covers the veggie bitterness.
  6. Mary Poppins and I give you permission to add a sweetener as needed – apologies to the purists. I use a pinch of Stevia. Agave, maple syrup and coconut sugar are all decent options.
  7. Add liquid – water, milk, yogurt, almond milk or juice. It’ll take more than you think to keep the smoothie from becoming sludge.
  8. Use a mondo blender. Yes, the ones that cost a bunch are the best. Sorry. You can “fake” it with a regular blender by cutting up the goods in small chunks and blending the harder stuff (carrots, celery, even the greens) first then re-blending with the rest.
  9. Make and drink it cold. Use some frozen ingredients, or add a few cubes of ice. A room temp green smoothie is a chore to chug.
  10. If you make more than you’re going to drink, store the leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge. Stir well before drinking the next day. I recommend using one of those cool oversize milkshake straws.

Recipes

Full-On Green Smoothie

Servings: 1 or 2 (about 20 ounces)

1 cup frozen greens

2 inch piece of cucumber

½ carrot

½ rib celery

2 inch piece of red cabbage

⅛ pineapple core

½ banana

½ cup frozen berries, cherries or mix

spot of sweetener – stevia, agave, honey, etc.

10-12 ounces of liquid (cold)

A few cubes of ice if ingredients aren’t cold enough.

Blend until totally smooth. It takes at least 90 seconds to 2 minutes depending upon blender power.

Kid Friendly “Sorbets”

Servings: 1 to 2

Peach:

½ can (¾ cup) white grape peach juice concentrate

1 banana

5 baby carrots (small handful)

3-4 cups of ice

Put all ingredients in blender and process until smooth and frozen.

Green Apple:

½ can (¾ cup) apple juice concentrate

1 banana

1 ½ cup spinach

3-4 cups of ice

Put all ingredients in blender and process until smooth and frozen.

About WF Staff

Washington FAMILY Staff

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