Smoothies for Spring: Green and Scrumptious

Warmer weather brings me back to my Vitamix and green smoothies. I started making green smoothies when I was studying nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2010. Immediately, I felt a difference in my body as it soaked up all those micronutrients. I began craving one every day.

In the wintertime though, I find it more challenging to get into the smoothies. Instead, I use my Vitamix for blending soups and pestos.

Now that it’s spring, I’ve been back into a daily smoothie and I feel fantastic. Dancers have asked what’s the difference between a green juice and a smoothie? A smoothie is made in a blender where all of the greens, fruit, and water are blended together; a juicer presses the juice out of greens and fruit into a glass. The “husk” of the greens and fruit gets thrown away once it’s been pressed.

I like smoothies better than juice because

  1. I don’t own a juicer and I’m not going to buy a juicer. They’re expensive and take up a lot of kitchen space I don’t have.
  2. I like that the entire vegetable or fruit is IN the smoothie- that’s a lot of soluble fiber, which helps keep my intestines clean and happy.

That said when wandering the streets of Brooklyn or NYC, I will occasionally stop for a fresh green juice at the local juicer. The benefits of green juice shouldn’t be understated – I just don’t happen to make it.

The recipes I start my dancers on are the following:

Sweet Smoothie

  • Add 3.5 glasses of water to blender
  • Add 5 oz washed baby spinach
  • Add flesh from one mango, peeled
  • Add 1 banana
  • Blend at high speed until smooth

Savory Smoothie

  • Add 3.5 glasses of water to blender
  • Add 5 oz washed baby spinach
  • Add flesh from one avocado, peeled
  • Add 1 cucumber
  • Add handful of fresh parsley or cilantro
  • Add juice from half a lemon (or more, to taste)
  • Blend at high speed until smooth

Depending on the power of your blender, you may have to chop fruits/veg into cubes or blend in stages. With the Vitamix, it can all be blended at once.

I always start with water and suggest you do too. (Too much unneeded sugar in juice.) The banana and avocado act as the emulsifier- the thing that makes all the ingredients stick together.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll learn which fruits and greens go well together and which tastes work best for you. There are tons of recipes online, but I’ve found it fun just to experiment and see what I like.

A green smoothie is great first thing in the morning before you jump into the shower. In fact, it’s recommended to be consumed on an empty stomach for maximum absorption of nutrients. It also makes a yummy snack in between class and rehearsals or right when you get home as you’re preparing dinner. Rather than reaching for crackers or some other empty-calorie snack food, drink down a smoothie. It will satisfy your hunger without ruining your appetite for that delicious dinner you’re making.

Let me know what you think if you try these recipes!

 

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