Woah, a green smoothie. I have to admit I was afraid of green smoothies at first. Something seemed so wrong about blending fruits with vegetables. It didn’t help that the first few green smoothies I made were disastrous. What most people don’t tell you is that if you are not used to green smoothies, blending kale, cucumbers, kiwis, pineapple, and whatever other vegetables you want together does NOT taste good! I’m not saying that eventually I won’t love crazy combinations, but as a newbie and person with a fairly normal set of taste buds, I’ll happily start right here with a classic strawberry banana smoothie with a green makeover. Seriously, it tastes no different than any smoothie you’ve ever had before. It just happens to be green and comes with a lot of added health benefits!
Why green? Vegetables are in. Recently there has been a push to change up the food pyramid to include a larger proportion of fruits and vegetables than previously recommended. The problem is that most people are already struggling to get in their 3-5 servings. While I often make my entire main meal using only vegetables, not everyone is used to that. Adding vegetables to a smoothie is an easy way to sneak more of them into your diet for those lacking, or simply welcomed ingredients for hard core vegetable lovers like myself. Let’s look at a breakdown of the green ingredients in this smoothie to see just why this drink really is a super meal!
Packed with fiber, vitamin K, iron, and calcium, this nutrition superstar is a great green addition to your diet. Spinach also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to help fight cancer. Looking for a inexpensive and natural way to gain anti-aging benefits? The high concentrations of vitamin A in spinach help your skin stay healthy and moisturized while fighting acne and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Raw Hemp Protein
Normally I am not a fan of protein powder. I believe that you can and should get all the protein you need from your diet. Not to mention most protein powders are processed and extremely expensive! Raw hemp protein is my exception. Hemp is one of the most concentrated plant based protein sources and includes all the essential amino acids. It also contains fiber, omega-3’s, chlorophyll, and many minerals including iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. With no additional ingredients, I know I can get down with a scoop of this green powder! I usually add 1-2 tablespoons of this powder to my green smoothies just to boost the protein content. If you don’t have hemp protein, you can pair this smoothie with some nuts, seeds or nut butters to get a protein boost! If you are into protein powders, check out this post by Kathy over at Healthy.Happy.Life for a wonderful breakdown of different vegan protein powders.
Add these amazing benefits of spinach and raw hemp protein to the nutrition of bananas, strawberries, and almond milk, and it is pretty hard to avoid trying this green smoothie. Did I mention this tastes a strawberry banana smoothie? So what are you waiting for, actually enjoy your greens in this tasty smoothie!
Green Strawberry Banana Smoothie
yield: one large smoothie
1 ripe banana, frozen
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1-2 cups baby spinach
2 Tbsps raw hemp protein (or protein powder of choice), optional
1-2 tsp raw honey (or agave)
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
Blend everything together in a high speed blender, adding more almond milk as necessary until desired consistency is reached.