Green Smoothies: Breakfast of Champions

A friend of mine recently asked me what change has made the biggest impact in creating a healthier diet for myself and my family. Without a doubt I answered, “Green Smoothies”. She was a little skeptical, so I invited her over this morning for a taste test.
green smoothie
Pictured: Smoothie made from Italian kale, spinach, bananas, peanut butter, apple juice and yogurt.
Several years ago, I heard some talk show host mention that she always tossed a bit of spinach in with her smoothies. It sounded crazy, but I am impulsive. Naturally, I wanted to try it.
I checked the bottom of the crisper for some fruit, dragged out the blender and started throwing stuff in. When it was almost done, I tossed in a couple of spinach leaves. I felt so virtuous as I served it up to my daughter with her morning fruit loops.
This is a healthy breakfast. I am a great an excellent mother.
Excellent mothering skills notwithstanding, I soon forgot about spinach in smoothies. I didn’t think about it again until a little over a year ago. I was visiting with some other moms after a volunteer meeting. One of them mentioned that she made green smoothies for her kids every day. I said, “Oh, I’ve put spinach in smoothies before. (Subtext: See what a good mother I am?) You can’t even tell it’s there. Is that what you mean?”
She went on the tell me that she used spinach, kale, Swiss chard and other greens. Again, I thought it sounded crazy. I picked up a bunch of kale on the way home.
The next morning I pulled out my old Osterizer and blended up some kale with strawberries and bananas. It looked a little gross – kind of a brownish-green color, but it tasted really good. The next day, I still had plenty of kale left, so I made another. And another the day after that.
I noticed that I was getting a lot more done around the house. I just seemed to have more energy. I also wasn’t having food cravings in the evenings. The siren song from the kitchen no longer had any power over me. I think in giving my body what it needed, it no longer wanted to send me such bossy requests.
Sugar! Now! [nom nom nom] No, not sugar, you dummy! I really wanted salt! Gaaaah!.
I have had a green smoothie for breakfast nearly every day for almost a year. That single change made it so much easier to make other good choices. Cutting down on sugar and processed foods is simple when you aren’t feeling cravings for them. Added energy makes meal planning and preparation much easier.
I’ve come a long way from junk foodie to real foodie; green smoothies were only one step in my progression. Yet, for all the good they have done me, I think that one step may have been taken while wearing seven-league boots. Green seven-league boots, of course.

My friend really liked the smoothie I prepared for her today. I think you will too. Here’s the “recipe”:

5.0 from 3 reviews
PB&J Green Smoothie (not pictured)
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Tastes great, great for you, and a color that will freak out the neighbors. What more could you want in a smoothie?
Ingredients
  • Apple juice
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Fresh or frozen strawberries
  • bananas
  • natural peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Fill your blender to the 2 cup line with apple juice (or water and a couple of tablespoons of apple juice concentrate.)
  2. Add some kale and spinach leaves. Pulse. Keep adding greens and pulsing until your blender is filled to the 4 cup line.
  3. Add about 1½ cups of fresh or frozen strawberries, two or three bananas and a tablespoon or two of natural peanut butter.
  4. Blend.
  5. Drink.
  6. Feel great!

 

And since I like you, here’s a bonus: my favorite way to freeze fresh berries so you don’t end up trying to chisel what you want from a frozen brick.
Wash your berries, then scoop them into muffin tins.  Stack them in the freezer with a cookie sheet between the layers.
Best way ever to freeze berries
If you are like me, you may have to shift things around in your freezer to achieve a precarious balance. Right now I’m sort of questioning the structural integrity of those waffles.
When they are frozen solid, remove from freezer and dip tins in hot water. The little cups of frozen fruit should pop right out with the help of a butter knife.
Best way ever to freeze berries
Store in freezer bags.  FYI: Each cup in my tin holds just under half a cup of berries

Do you green smoothie? What are your favorite ingredients?

linked with WFM Wednesday and Healthy 2Day Wednesdays

12 Comments

  1. What a great idea about freezing berries in muffin tins! I will have to do that! The smoothie looks delightful! Thanks for linking up with Healthy 2day Wednesdays!

    • Thanks for the comment, Rachel and thanks for hosting. I love freezing berries this way – especially mushy ones like raspberries.

  2. Wow! I love that freezing tip! I like to put berries in my smoothies, but also HATE the chiseling…
    I’ve been trying to get better at getting a smoothie like this every morning, as I know it also helps my energy level, and I also really just don’t care for a lot of other breakfast foods.
    I’ll add your recipe to my repertoire! 😉 Thanks!

    • Glad you liked it. I’ve also really been enjoying one with strawberries, fresh rhubarb, apple juice, greens and a bit of honey. Yum!
      Thanks for commenting!

  3. That sounds so yummy! We do a lot of spinach smoothies, but I’ve never tried kale or swiss chard. I’ve heard of using it, just haven’t gotten around to it yet. So if you’ve had one every day for a year, do you have a bunch of recipes to share or do you have the same thing every day?

    • I have usually have something different every time I make one. I’ll throw one together with whatever frozen fruit I have on hand and whatever fresh fruit/greens look good. This past winter I went through a big fresh pineapple phase.
      Not many real recipes, but I do have a formula that I tend to follow: My blender holds 8 cups so I use 2 cups liquid (I like water, apple juice, and/or coconut water, etc.). Add and blend greens (spinach, chard, parsley, and/or kale, etc.) until liquid is at or just below the 4 cup line (depending on the strength of flavor of the greens I’m using). Add and blend fruit until full. If needed for sweetness, I’ll add honey, maple syrup, agave nectar or dried dates/raisins. Other mix-ins: peanut butter, cocoa powder (really good with bananas), flax or chia seeds (for the omegas), bee pollen…
      Today I used apple juice, kale, spinach and chard from my garden, blackberries, mango and banana. It was so good!

      • Hi there!

        Have you ever tried GREEN TEA in your smoothie in place of water? It’s THE BEST!!

        • I haven’t, as I only drink herbal teas, but what a great ideas! I may have to try some of my favorite herbals.

  4. I love smoothies and what a fun way to get one’s veggies. I really like what you said about not craving the “bad” stuff when we give our bodies what they need … I’ve always believed that but haven’t heard many people say it. Thanks, again!

  5. Thank you for your great recipe. I laughed when I read this post. Serving green smoothies to your kids does make you feel like a good mother!
    I started drinking green smoothies a few years ago and overcame chronic fatigue syndrome where I couldn’t get out of bed to then running for an hour a few months later. I lost 56 pounds too. It was amazing.
    Now with my baby I don’t have much time for food but still love my green smoothie in the morning. The problem was they weren’t filling me up, so I invented the Green Thickie which is a green smoothie with oats and seeds or nuts to make it into a complete meal. They keep me going until lunch time now.
    I love this peanut butter smoothie recipe. I love peanut butter in anything!
    Thanks for the great idea about the berries too. We don’t get frozen strawberries much in the UK so it’s a good idea to freeze them when they are cheaper for the winter.

  6. very good!!! not very appetizing color though!

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