Healthy Green Smoothie
It’s pretty safe to say that most of you have probably made a smoothie, right? But have you made a Healthy Green Smoothie? Adding dark leafy greens to your smoothies not only adds fiber and helps keep them lower in sugar, but they pack a big nutritional punch as well. This one features Swiss chard, cucumber, celery, avocado, pineapple, ginger and coconut milk and has no added sugar!
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I’ll admit that adding vegetables to my smoothies is a fairly new thing for me. I’m definitely more of a strawberry peanut butter smoothie kind of smoothie girl. But last year when I had more kale in my garden than I knew what to do with I added a few leaves to my banana blueberry smoothie and I’ve never looked back.
So I was psyched when I saw Super Green Smoothies, a new cookbook from Danielle Omar, MS RDN. All the awesome smoothie recipes include more veggies than fruit and some sort of leafy green like arugula, kale, Swiss chard, micro greens and more. It is also an extremely good resource for all things smoothie-related like smoothie prep, tools and equipment and how to pick the best produce.
While some smoothies are loaded with added sugar, Danielle shares her tips on how to make sure your smoothie is healthy. She explains that adding vegetables to your smoothies is a perfect way to ensure they are healthy. They say variety is the spice of life, so try throwing in some Swiss chard, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers or carrots and you’ll be surprised how delicious a green smoothie can be!
Are Smoothies Healthy?
- Yes! BUT…. The key to making a healthy smoothie is to include the right balance of veggies, fruit, protein and fat.
- Adding vegetables, especially dark leafy greens like Swiss chard, kale and spinach really help to up the nutritional value and keep it lower in sugar.
- Mixing up the ingredients also helps ensure a well rounded nutritional diet.
Smoothies can be a very healthy addition to your nutritional plan, but they can also quickly become calorie bombs if you include too many added sweeteners or too much of a high calorie ingredient like nut butters. Read more about building a healthy smoothie on Everyday Health.
Green Smoothie Ingredients
I think kale has been stealing Swiss chard’s thunder for too long! It is a mild-flavored leafy green and is rich in vitamins A,C, E and K. We love sauteed Swiss Chard, but it is also great used in a green smoothie recipe. It is also a good source of calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, sodium and phosphorus.
Swiss Chard is actually less bitter when eaten raw, but it’s still a good idea to remove the stems before blending it into smoothies. See tips for storing and cleaning Swiss chard here.
Cucumbers add a crisp and refreshing flavor to this green smoothie recipe. They are low-calorie and hydrating, high in antioxidants, and a good source of vitamins C and K and potassium.
Celery is quenching and hydrating, low in calories and rich in antioxidants.
Avocados are high in fiber, lutein and healthy fats. They also add an amazing creamy texture to smoothies. Try also our Avocado Honey and Pear Smoothie next!
Pineapple has a sweet and tart flavor. It is rich in bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps break down proteins, boost the immune system and suppress inflammation.
Ginger is a tropical plant and the root is commonly used fresh or dried. According to WebMD it helps fight germs, calms nausea, acts as an anti-inflammatory, soothes sore muscles, curbs cancer growth, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol and protects against disease.
Unsweetened Coconut Milk
According to Medical News Today the top three benefits of coconut milk are weight loss, heart health and a boost to the immune system. It contains high levels of saturated fat, making it a very calorie-rich food, so make sure and measure when adding it to your smoothies.
Alternative Ingredients For A Healthy Smoothie
- Dark leafy greens add a huge nutritional boost.
- Veggies like carrots, beets, sweet potato and red bell pepper add natural sweetness.
- Fruit in moderation helps sweeten smoothies and decreases the need for added sugars.
- Focus on low-sugar fruits like berries, avocado, grapefruit, tart cherries and apples.
- Danielle’s tip is to balance fruit with an additional serving of greens and other veggies to keep your blood sugar from spiking.
Plant Based Fats
- Nut butters like almond butter, peanut butter and cashew butter add flavor and a dose of healthy fat (adding 1 tablespoon is usually plenty).
- Seeds like chia seeds, hemp hearts, flaxseed and wheat germ add fiber, protein and tons of nutrients.
- Avocados are a smoothie game changer, they add flavor and unbelievable creaminess to smoothies.
- Milk and non-dairy milks add protein and creaminess.
- Greek yogurt and kefir are great ways to add protein and nutrition.
- Protein powders can be great, just watch out for ones with added sugar (check out pea, whey and egg options).
- Nut butters are not only a healthy fat, but also an awesome source of protein.
- Veggies and fruits are a great source of healthy carbs.
- Whole grains like rolled oats or cooked brown rice are a fun addition and add a satisfying thick creamy texture.
- Legumes like lentils or chickpeas can also add a nice texture and interesting flavor profile.
- Cocoa powder is a great addition to a smoothie with peanut or almond butter.
- Spices like cinnamon, turmeric and ginger add warmth and dimension.
- Fresh herbs like basil, mint, parsley and cilantro will brighten any veggie smoothie.
- Matcha powder is powdered tea, so it can add a caffeine pick me up, as well as a nutritional boost.
- Milk and non dairy milks like almond milk, soy and oat milk add flavor and nutritional benefits.
- Kefir is a fermented beverage that is tart like yogurt and has more fat than yogurt, but also has more protein.
- Coconut water comes from unripe, green coconuts and is great for hydration.
- Coconut milk is made by mixing coconut flesh with water and it will add more fat and protein than coconut water.
- Fruit juice should be used in moderation, so you don’t add too much sugar and fresh juice is better.
- Water can also be used if you are not looking to add another flavor profile to your smoothie.
How To Make A Healthy Green Smoothie
- Peel the ginger with a spoon and grate using a microplane grater.
- Dice the cucumber and chop the celery.
- Cut the stems out of the Swiss chard to decrease the bitterness and roughly chop the leaves.
- Pour the coconut milk into the blender and add the ginger.
- Layer in the rest of the smoothie ingredeitns: cucumber, celery, Swiss chard leaves, avocado and pineapple. (Feel free to add in ice cube to make it a little icy!)
- Blend all of the ingredients together until completely smooth.
- Add more coconut milk if needed to reach desired consistency.
- Enjoy your delicious green smoothie immediately!
Danielle’s Tips On Choosing The Right Blender to Make The Best Green Smoothies
One of the reasons smoothies are so easy to make is that they really only require one piece of equipment… a blender. Danielle mentions that any blender can make a good smoothie, but that once you start adding greens to your smoothie a high-powered blender really does make the end result smoother and better tasting.
- Consider how much space you have for your blender and where it will be stored to determine the size you want.
- Think about your blender budget and how much you want to spend.
- If you plan to make green smoothies a few times a weeks, go with at least 600 watts of motor speed.
- High-powered and more expensive blenders usually have a warranty and will last for many years.
- Functions like preset settings can take the guesswork out of blending.
How To Prep Ahead For Healthy Vegetable Smoothies
Vegetable smoothies are an awesome and healthy way to start your day, but I do understand that the thought of wielding a big knife and doing a lot of chopping before you’ve even really opened your eyes can seem daunting. Fear not! Smoothies can be prepped ahead! And even better you can make a week or two worth of smoothies at one time. Here are Danielle’s pro-tips for smoothie prep.
Freezer Prep Bag Or Jars
- Layer frozen fruits, powders, nut butters, seeds, chopped fresh or frozen veggies and chopped fresh or frozen greens into quart-size freezer bags or Mason jars.
- Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it and freeze for up to three months.
- To make your smoothie, pour the fruits and vegetables into your blender, add in almond milk or your liquid of choice and blend until smooth.
Pre-Blended Big Batch Smoothies
- Another option is to pre-blend a big batch smoothie and freeze them in Mason jars. We also love Souper Cubes which are like big fancy ice cube trays to portion out and freeze leftovers. The one-cup size are perfect for smoothies.
- Leave an inch at the top for expansion when they freeze.
- Move the frozen smoothie to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
More Green Smoothies To Try
Now that you’re on the Healthy Green Smoothie bandwagon don’t miss checking out these other green smoothies!
I hope you try this awesome smoothie and check out Danielle’s new book! Please come back and let me know if you do try it! We love to hear from you! Don’t forget to leave a star rating and review! Thanks!!Print
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 16 ounces 1x
This Healthy Green Smoothie gets a big nutritional kick from Swiss chard, which adds fiber and helps keep it lower in sugar.
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup diced cucumber
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped Swiss chard (about 5 leaves)
1/2 avocado, pit and skin removed
3/4 cup frozen pineapple
- Pour the coconut milk into the blender and add the ginger.
- Layer in the cucumber, celery, Swiss chard, avocado and pineapple.
- Blend all the ingredients together until completely smooth, adding more coconut milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Enjoy immediately.
Leave out the Swiss chard stems to decrease bitterness.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Blender
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 16 ounces
- Calories: 200
- Sugar: 13 g
- Sodium: 230 mg
- Fat: 11 g
- Carbohydrates: 27 g
- Fiber: 8 g
- Protein: 4 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: Green Smoothie, Healthy Green Smoothie, Vegetable Smoothie
This looks delicious. Can I use collard greens instead of spinach and add some chia or flax seeds? Thank you!
This smoothie looks amazing. Quick question for you, what greens are most high in calcium? I am in osteoporosis range.
I should have watched your video first before tearing my leaves of chard from the stem. Lesson learned. Definitely going to make your green smoothie.
Thank you in advance!
Such a yummy and delicious way to start the day or as an afternoon pick me up!
You took the words right out of my mouth Kelly!! So happy you enjoyed this delicious smoothie!
Delicious and yummy recipe.
Thanks!! It is supper yummy!
This comes out great every time I make it!
Yay Ashley! So great to hear!
This smoothie is freshness in a glass! So delicious!
“Freshness in a glass” is the perfect description for this awesome smoothie!
I have been on a smoothie kick lately so this is super helpful, thank you! I have been doing a lot of reading trying to get healthy and I had no clue that eating too much spinach was actually poisonous! I read it in this article, https://www.ez.insure/landing/2020/02/8-foods-that-are-toxic/ . What are your thoughts?
Hi Carolyn! Glad you liked this smoothie! I am an (most) everything in moderation kind of girl and would probably never eat enough of any one thing for it to be harmful to me. I have heard about potential side effects of eating too much spinach and know there are possible adverse reactions it can have with certain medications. If you are eating spinach every day, it’s probably not a bad idea to confirm with your doctor what a good limit would be for you. I’m sure it differs person to person. Good luck with your health journey!!
This is absolutely amazing! Such a healthy and delicious smoothie!
Thanks Toni!! It is soooo good!
Yum! This looks so yummy! I can’t wait to give this a try!
Thanks Beth!! Let us know if you try it!
Even my picky husband loves this smoothie! Healthy abs delicious!
Woo hoo! So happy it passed the picky husband test!!