Green smoothies are one of the easiest ways to get a punch of leafy greens in a breakfast meal. Blending greens increases the nutrient availability and the health benefits of eating greens, and here is why: by blending the greens you are greatly increasing the surface area of the green (blending emulsifies the greens) and this allows more interactions between the greens and your digestive system.
As easy as it is to make a green smoothie in a blender, it sometimes sounds like too much work first thing in the morning. I started freezing my smoothie ingredients together in single packs. When I am ready to make a smoothie, I toss in the frozen ingredients, add water and blend. This is helping me create a healthy habit and I hope that it will help you create a healthy habit out of a morning green smoothie too!
I have included four recipes below. Under the instructions for each recipe you will see ‘freezer instructions.’ You can make this recipe as a fresh prep recipe or freeze these recipes in single servings to use at a later date. You can easily create a month’s worth of smoothies in less than 30 minutes. Smoothie ingredients may be frozen safely for up to 6 months. I recommend using them up within 2 months so they retain their flavor.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Used pre-prepped frozen ingredients: To make this process even easier on you, lean on your local natural foods store frozen foods section. At Whole Foods, I purchase organic, frozen loose leaf spinach, kale, mustard greens, butternut squash, broccoli and cauliflower, blueberries, strawberries, mango and peaches to use in my smoothie recipes. These are already prepped, washed and ready to add to your frozen smoothie bags or straight into a smoothie.
- If you add coconut oil, flax oil, or nut butters, put the greens in the bag first, make a little nest out of the greens and add your oil to the middle of the greens. Then when you close up your bag, the oil will stick in the greens and not to the bag.
- Instead of using almond butter or whole nuts, consider using almond meal.
- You can add chia seeds, hemp seeds, protein powder and ground flax directly to the individually portioned freezer bag.
- Refrain from adding any liquid to your freezer bags. Add the liquid when you blend the smoothie.
- Date your smoothie bags and rotate your stock.
- If you fresh kale, remove all stems and large veins. These create a bitter flavor. I prefer to use frozen loose leaf kale. Pound for pound, this is a very affordable way to use kale in your smoothie.
- You can substitute the following
a. Greens: all leafy greens are interchangeable
b. Oils: flax, unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil are all interchangeable
c. Feel free to add a dash of spice
d. Feel free to add herbs: parsley, basil, cilantro etc.
The drawback with these is that you are using plastic bags. I do not like creating more waste, so I devised the following plan that works well for me. I keep one large quart size freezer bag in my freezer and I collect my smoothie freezer bags as I use them. I reuse these freezer bags a few times and then dispose of them. You can do this safely if you follow these guidelines:
- Practice good time techniques: prep and pack these smoothies in the freezer quickly. When you remove them from the freezer, immediately dump the contents into the blender, reseal the bag and place it in your collection bag in the freezer. When you go to reuse these, first prep your ingredients and then pull out your freezer bags. Repack them and quickly return them to the freezer.
IMMUNE BOOSTER GREEN SMOOTHIE
- 1/2 cup celery
- 1/2 cup parsley, fresh
- 1 cups water
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled
- 1/2-inch ginger, fresh
- 1 cup frozen mango
- 1/2 lemon, peeled
Blend celery, parsley and water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again
153 calories/ serving
Combine all ingredients, except water, in a freezer baggie. Seal and label. When ready to use, add frozen ingredients to a blender, add water and blend.
Pair with 2 cups homemade chicken noodle soup or white bean and kale soup
SPINACH AVOCADO BERRY SMOOTHIE
- 2 cups spinach
- ½ avocado
- 1 T virgin coconut oil
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/3 medium banana
- 1-2 cups water
- + 1 scoop protein powder
Spinach and avocado serve as a well-balanced base for any green smoothie!
Blend all ingredients in a blender
420 calories/ serving (with 80 calorie protein powder)
Combine all ingredients, except water and protein powder, in a freezer baggie. Seal and label. When ready to use, add frozen ingredients to a blender, add protein powder, water and blend.
This is a 420 calorie meal replacement.
SPINACH, PEAR, CINNAMON AND ALMOND MILK SMOOTHIE
- 1 cup spinach
- 2 small pears, (I used Bosc pears today!)
- 1/3 banana
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 T flax oil
- ¼ cups unsweetened almond milk
- ½ scoop protein powder
Blend all ingredients in a blender
420 calories/ serving (with 40 calorie protein powder)
Combine all ingredients, except almond milk and protein powder, in a freezer baggie. Seal and label. When ready to use, add frozen ingredients to a blender, add protein powder, almond milk and blend. This is a 420 calorie meal replacement.
SPINACH, ALMOND, BANANA GREEN SMOOTHIE
- 1 cup spinach
- 1.5 cups almond milk, unsweetened
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- .33 banana
- 1/4 cup almonds*
Blend spinach and water until smooth. Next add the remaining fruits and blend again. * Soak overnight in water before blending, or use 200 calorie equivalent of almond meal.
Use almond meal instead of whole almonds. Combine all ingredients, except almond milk, in a freezer baggie. Seal and label. When ready to use, add frozen ingredients to a blender, add almond milk and blend. This is a 420 calorie meal replacement.
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