The Ultimate Green Smoothie Guide: My Best Recipes, Tips, and Tricks
If you do just ONE thing to improve your health, make it a green smoothie! Making a daily green smoothie is a 10-minute habit that can have profound health benefits.
In this article:
- What is a Green Smoothie Made Of?
- How Do I Make a Green Smoothie?
- More Of My Best Green Smoothie Recipes To Try
- Tips and Hacks for Making Green Smoothies Even Healthier, Easier, and Tastier
- Best Green Smoothie Recipes For Weight Loss And Health Issues
- Green Smoothie Testimonials And Stories
My foolproof green smoothie recipe is below, and I’ll include the frequently asked questions I’ve gotten most often over the 20 years I’ve been teaching people to add a green smoothie to their daily diet.
Green smoothies are simply blended mixtures of whole foods that include greens (like spinach, kale, and collard) or other nutrient-dense veggies, and they may or may not contain other ingredients like fruit or nuts blended in. Don’t let the name mislead you—green smoothies don’t necessarily come out looking green! Some of my smoothies do have a rich green hue, but I’ll often add frozen mixed berries to make them purple or other ingredients that turn the smoothie purple, pink, or orange.
Green smoothies are very healthy, especially if the emphasis is on the greens! Green food is a powerhouse of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Drinking a quart of green smoothie a day addresses what I believe is the #1 deficit in the American diet: lack of leafy greens. A close second deficit is lack of overall plant fiber in the diet, but eating green smoothies addresses that, too.
One quart of green smoothie per day can be a major game-changer for your health. Based on my research poll of 175 adults for The Green Smoothies Diet, 95.4% of people who drank a daily quart of green smoothie for 30 days reported improved health or quality of life. Specifically, the quart-a-day health benefits respondents reported were:
- more energy (85%)
- improved digestion (79.5%)
- fewer cravings for sweets and processed foods (65%)
- more positive, stable mood (54%)
- improvement in skin tone and clarity (50%)
- weight loss (50%)
Green smoothies are “fast food” that actually leave you feeling energized. It’s easy to make one for yourself before you go to bed, put it in a glass jar and refrigerate overnight before drinking it in the morning on your way out the door, which is a vast improvement over most quick options or skipping breakfast entirely.
How do I make a green smoothie?
My easiest starter green smoothie recipe is still the most popular, because it’s versatile and always works. It can even be a meal replacement! The basic ratio is 1:1:1 of liquids, greens, and fruit.
This recipe makes 6 cups of raw green smoothie, giving you your recommended full quart for the day, plus extra to snack on or share. Enjoy!
Put 2 cups of water in your blender, then blend it with greens like spinach, kale, and collards until the pureed mixture reaches the 4-cup line. (A big handful of greens usually does the trick).
Gradually add fresh or frozen fruit, blending between additions, until the blended mixture reaches the 6-cup line. (I usually use a banana, ¼ whole lemon including peel, an apple, and about 2 cups of frozen berries to hit the 6-cup mark.)
Add optional ingredients to adjust taste and nutrients. Ideas include a scoop of protein powder, a tablespoon of sprouted flax for omegas, a handful of cashews for healthy fats, or a few drops of liquid stevia to make it sweeter. Blend until smooth.
Use this free printer-friendly version of the green smoothie recipe template to tape up in your cupboard, giving you the steps to follow to use whatever you already have in your fridge or pantry to make a yummy combination.
Green smoothies keep well 2 or 3 days in the fridge. They often begin to separate fairly quickly, but that is easily remedied by a quick shake or another spin in the blender. After the third day, though, you’ll notice your green smoothie start to taste a little off.
You can freeze green smoothies! I like to pour them into pint-size jars (leaving a half inch or so space for expansion) and store them in the freezer. When ready to use, allow to thaw at room temperature or in the fridge, then shake well (or reblend) before drinking. You can also freeze smoothies in ice cube trays to re-blend later.
You can make a smoothie with any blender, but for proper digestion and the best benefit, the ingredients need to be blended thoroughly. Many blenders will give you “chunkies” to drink instead of smoothies, so I like a high-speed blender like Blendtec or Vitamix.
I have a lot to say about the best blenders for making your green smoothies, but you can get a pretty good result with a cheaper blender if you don’t use frozen fruits or veggies and make sure to blend in ingredients a bit at a time. Make sure the mixture is a smooth puree before adding in the next ingredient. Add a bit more water if you feel the smoothie is too thick.
I even have a reader who makes all her smoothies with her hand-held stick blender! It’s great for making smoothies on the road, at work, and even at home.
The taste of green smoothies can certainly be an adjustment if you’re used to processed foods, but luckily, you can tailor the ingredients to your liking. Many folks start with a lot of mixed berries and other fruits in their green smoothies so the final result is sweet. Some also add a few drops of liquid stevia or a tablespoon of honey to make it even sweeter. Over time, as your preferences evolve, you’ll probably add more greens and still love the taste as much as ever.
Pretty much any kind of edible leafy green can be thrown into your blender and whipped up into a tasty green smoothie. Spinach is very mild and a great green to start with (especially for kids’ green smoothies). Other mild greens are kale, collards, and chard. Greens that are more savory or bitter can be added as you widen your repertoire, like beet greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, and arugula. There are even edible weeds you can use for smoothie greens, like dandelion and purslane.
While the exact cost of a green smoothie will depend on your preferred ingredients, you’ll spend about 12 cents per ounce of green smoothie if you make it with about half greens and half fruit. That makes a quart of green smoothie cost about $3.76.
Some cost variables include which ingredients you choose and whether you grow or forage ingredients, use in-season fruits and vegetables, or purchase organic produce. You may even be able to get some ingredients for free if you forage or know what to ask for at a farmer’s market.
The exact number of calories in a green smoothie depends on what ingredients you use, but a quart of green smoothie with about half greens and half fruit will be around 250 calories. 250 nutrient-dense, delicious calories!
With the wide variety of fruits, vegetables, seeds, legumes, and other nourishing foods available, your green smoothie ingredient options are practically endless. Here are just a few possibilities:
- Liquid base: water, coconut milk, coconut water, almond milk, juice
- Leafy greens: spinach, kale, chard, collard greens, beet greens, mustard greens, sprouts, bok choy
- Vegetables: celery, beets, cucumbers, sweet peppers, sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, purple cabbage, carrots
- Fruit: bananas, mangos, berries, lemon, apricots, watermelon, pomegranate, oranges, apples, cantaloupe, peaches, grapes, pears, dates, limes, plums, pineapples
- Healthy fats: avocado, nuts, nut butters, coconut oil, sprouted ground flax, flaxseed oil, sunflower seeds
- Extras: cacao powder, cinnamon, bee pollen, parsley, maca, real maple syrup, honey, fennel, turmeric, basil, cilantro, aloe vera, protein powder, vanilla extract
It’s not necessary to buy all-organic produce for green smoothies, especially for foods that have thick outer shells or peels that are removed, like watermelon, bananas, oranges, lemons, limes, and pumpkins. But you may want to consider organic for other produce that is more difficult to wash herbicides and pesticides from, like leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards) and strawberries.
Check out our more complete discussion of what “organic” actually means, plus a list of which foods you should buy organic and which ones are okay to get conventionally.
My Best Green Smoothie Recipes
Check out some more of my most-requested recipes:
- The Hot Pink Smoothie is a fan favorite, practically a legend! My Most-Famous Recipe
- Make a breakfast smoothie that will pump you up for the entire day: The Best Breakfast Smoothie Recipes for Energy
- Even the tiniest tots can get in on green smoothie goodness: 10 Easy Green Smoothie Recipes Kids of All Ages Will Love
- This recipe is a great way to use extra berries hanging around in your fridge, freezer, or garden: A Morning Berry Smoothie Recipe
- Skip yogurt in your next smoothie without sacrificing texture: How to Make Creamy Smoothies Without Yogurt or Dairy
- Why not match your smoothie to the weather, when flavors (and nutrients) are at their peak? Healthiest Smoothie Recipes for Each Season of the Year
- Sometimes you want a smoothie that will really satisfy your hunger. 15 Tasty Meal Replacement Smoothie Recipes to Fill You Up and Keep You Going
- Make your exercise regimen even more beneficial by following it up wisely! 15 Post-Workout Green Smoothies for Faster Recovery
- Let these recipes nourish you when temperatures drop: Warm Green Smoothies That Are Perfect for Cold Weather
Tips and Hacks for Making Green Smoothies Even Healthier, Easier, and Tastier
Over the years, I've been sharing some of my favorite green smoothie ingredient add-ins, kitchen hacks, money-saving tips, and ways to get your kids and other loved ones on the green smoothie train with you:
- One simple thing you can do to enjoy more nutritional benefits from your smoothie: Why You Should Chew Your Green Smoothies
- Turns out, you don't even need a "real" blender to make smoothies--perfect for traveling! Make Green Smoothies With A Cuisinart Smart Stick!
- Have you ever thought of adding some sea greens to your smoothie? Health Benefits of Kelp and Dulse (and How to Eat It)
- Add this unexpected special ingredient for all kinds of symptom relief: 12 Proven Aloe Vera Benefits (Plus Uses & Precautions)
- Save your greens for future use instead of letting them get gross in the fridge: How to Freeze Spinach and Other Leafy Greens for Later (with Shortcuts!)
- Smoothies are a true fast food, especially when you prepare ahead of time: Make-Ahead Green Smoothies To Go
- And speaking of greens, here are some you may not have thought to use: Top 11 Greens to Use in Green Smoothies
- If the kids in your life are resisting healthy food, here are some tips: 9 Ways to Get Kids to Drink Healthy Green Smoothies
- Check out the dollars and cents: How Much Does a Green Smoothie Cost to Make?
- Green smoothies are pretty cheap already, but what if you could cut the cost even more? 6 Ways to Get Dozens of Free Ingredients for Green Smoothies
- Get your exercise, and find the greens for your post-hike smoothie at the same time: 12 Delicious Edible Weeds To Forage for Green Smoothies and More
- Learn all about the benefits of sprouts in smoothies and try it yourself: How to Sprout Grains, Nuts, and Seeds at Home
- Get the dirt on one ingredient you should definitely skip: What’s So Bad About Whey Protein?
- You don’t have to give up healthy eating just because you’re on the road! The Ultimate Packing Lists for Eating Right on a Trip
- Trying to save either time or money but still eat well? How to Eat Healthy if You Have More Time Than Money (or More Money Than Time)
- Take a look at these simple fixes to make your green smoothies taste just a little yummier: Does Everything That Goes in Your Mouth Have to Taste Good?
- Need to work on that green thumb, and dig in the dirt? Everything You Need To Know About Growing Your Own Smoothie Greens.
Best Green Smoothie Recipes For Weight Loss And Health Issues
During my 6-year, 450-city lecture tour, I always spent an hour after each lecture to meet attendees who had questions for me.
I heard many heartbreaking stories of failing health, of years of fruitless doctor visits and pills and surgeries, of scary diagnoses. And I also saw hope, because those who came learned about food as medicine and green smoothies as the 10-minute habit that could help them regain their health.
Each of the following collections of green smoothie recipes addresses a health issue, its likely underlying causes, and ways to tweak your daily green smoothie (and other meals) to encourage recovery and healing.
- Learn why green smoothies are perfect for fat burning and which combinations of ingredients to use for weight loss: Green Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss and Fat Burning
- Hormonal issues can affect women at any time of their lives: Green Smoothies To Balance Female Hormones Naturally
- If you deal with joint pain, these green smoothie recipes will be your faves: These Anti Inflammatory Smoothie Recipes Target Joint Pain and More
- Try these smoothies if you’re working to tame high blood pressure: Green Smoothies for High Blood Pressure Control
- For our diabetic friends, these smoothie changes will make a world of difference: Green Smoothies for Diabetes: Mistakes, Tips, and Recipes
- I cured my own thyroid dysfunction with green smoothies: How Green Smoothies Helped My Recovery from Hashimoto Thyroid Disease
- Could green smoothies have benefits in the bedroom as well? Green Smoothies and Sex
- Digestive disorders like IBS and Crohn's can be soothed with a green smoothie regimen: Green Smoothies for Crohn's Disease.
- The adjustment to plant-based eating can be tricky and may even cause some side effects at first: Why Do I Get Constipated or Not Lose Weight on Green Smoothies?
- Relieve your Raynaud’s flare and enjoy all the beneficial plant-based nutrients (without the brain freeze): Warm Green Smoothies That Are Perfect For Cold Weather
- Dealing with cold or flu symptoms, or trying to stop them before they start? 10 Green Smoothies to Beat Back Colds and Flu
- Make your liver health a priority. 11 Green Smoothie Recipes for Fatty Liver
- If your urinary tract is giving you trouble, there's hope! How to Prevent UTI with Food: Green Smoothie Recipes for Urinary Tract Health
Green Smoothie Testimonials And Stories
Hundreds of readers have shared their green smoothie testimonials with me over the years, and some even made it into the news! Here are just a few stories that demonstrate the power of a 10-minute daily habit.
- Green smoothies help Texas A&M men’s basketball coach combats Parkinson’s Disease
- Green smoothies are a weight-loss miracle for this young man
- One woman’s story of using green smoothies to ditch IBS and get to a healthy weight
- How green smoothies are used to improve the performance of extreme athletes
- Cutting your environmental impact by producing less trash can happen with green smoothies
- Read why this gold-medalist snowboarder drinks green smoothies
- This creative mom convinced her son’s school class that smoothies are awesome
- Parents drastically improve their daughter’s health with green smoothies
- A Canadian family’s adoption of green smoothies helps them heal in many ways
- Green smoothies helped one woman through hospice care
- For this couple, green smoothies made the difference with weight loss and emphysema symptoms
Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
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