Or how to make a green smoothie that kids will actually drink. I’m not saying my kids prefer this green smoothie to candy but rather like it and do not object it every other day. And that’s good enough for me.
Typical North American diet is full of meat and dairy products which increases acidity of your blood. In turn, it can lead to liver and kidney disease and unfortunately cancer. Dark leafy greens and other green vegetables help to reduce that acidity and guard from many other diseases, including a nasty flu. With Christmas behind us it’s time for a fresh healthy start to 2015! I don’t feel I went crazy, I just had a fair share of treats, mostly all Clean Eating approved. I told you it’s a lifestyle, not a diet.
Do you drink green smoothies?! We do. I make a goal to make one every other day and another day a salad. Just to keep it interesting. If you drink green smoothies, do your kids drink them with you? Mine sure do. And I’m not talking about those fruit yogurt smoothies. I don’t have to ask my kids twice to eat fruits and vanilla yogurt.
There is no other way on Earth I would be able to feed them kale, spinach, ginger, lemon and hemp seeds if not for a green smoothie. But you have to make them drinkable, sweet and fun for the kids, right?! Today I’m sharing what I do for my kids and hope you can do the same. My trick consists of making a green smoothie for both adults and kids in one shot and here is how I do it.
1. Add water and leafy greens
I usually start with 4 cups of cold water, 3 large handfuls spinach and 4 large kale leaves (stalks removed). You want more spinach than kale to avoid bitterness. Pulse a few times.
Now, you NEED a good blender! Trust me! It will take you from eating a vegetable puree to drinking a delicious silky green smoothie. $40 blender won’t cut it. It has to be powerful enough to process all ingredients into smooth and silky liquid. Completely different experience! You won’t have to cut vegetables much either. Obviously cut celery into a few sticks but other than that large chunks of veggies even broken by hands are fine. That pole with extra blades in the middle crushes whole fruits and vegetables. I have my blender by the sink, so it’s easy to rinse, break and add vegetables to a blender right away. Or I cut them with a pairing knife right in the sink or above the blender, no need for cutting board, except for lemon.
I use Ninja Ultima blender that I absolutely love! It costs $179 versus $500 Vitamix and $350 Blendtec, and delivers exactly the same results.
2. Add other green veggies, lemon and ginger
Add about 2 large celery stalks, a few handfuls of broccoli including the stem (don’t throw it out, it’s the most nutritious part), 1/2 lemon (peeled) and 1 – 2 inch piece of ginger. You could also throw in some cucumber. Pulse a few times.
I bet you wouldn’t chew on lemon or ginger on their own, not to mention the kids, right?! But if you add them to a smoothie, they will add a nice flavour and all cancer fighting, immune boosting and anti inflammatory benefits.
I always buy a big bag of organic lemons for making lemon water in the mornings. And of course organic ginger – if you ever pay attention to where your ginger comes, let me know what you find. I bet you it’s China, just like with garlic. Ginger and garlic raised on human waste?! No, thank you!
3. Add seeds
All of the seeds above share the same Omega 3 health benefits. Add about 1/4 cup.
Chia seeds are tiny seeds that expand a lot when hydrated. You might want to add more water to the smoothie, especially the next day. Chia seeds also make a delicious overnight pudding. Chia might seem expensive but a little goes a long way.
I like to buy ground flax seeds. They reduce blending time and can be added to vegan baked goods instead of an egg or for a boost of healthy fats. Flax seeds are more affordable than chia.
Little hemp hearts with a nutty taste are quickly gaining popularity. They can be sprinkled on salads, added to a morning oatmeal and obviously smoothies.
4. Add fruits and/or berries
About large ripe banana and 1 – 1 1/2 cups any sweet fruit of choice. Now process on medium speed for a few minutes and then for 3 – 4 minutes or until silky smooth. Don’t be afraid to take this baby for a ride! It will sound like it is about to take off and splash all over your kitchen but it won’t, I promise! Somehow, men are scared to do that and Alex has served me a vegetable puree a few times. Just let it go until it looks smooth like below.
I like to add frozen organic mango chunks I buy from Costco for $10. They are sweet, add creaminess (especially frozen) and a nice yellow undertone making green smoothie more appealing. You can also add berries but I find the brownish purple coloured smoothie is a turn off for the kids.
5. Pour for adults, add more fruit and pour for kids
At this point the adult green smoothie is ready. Divide it between cups and leave a little bit less than your kids will drink in a jug. I usually end up with 4 green smoothies for adults => 2 tall glasses for today and 2 large to go cups for tomorrow. What I love about my Ninja is that it comes with these tall cups with lids, perfect for storage and on the go. To stir the smoothie, just shake it. The cups are really leak proof. Alex carries them in a backpack to work all the time. You can refrigerate the smoothie for a few days and then shake or stir before drinking (I love these long spoons for stirring in tall glasses).
Now, add 1/2 – 1 cup water and either another banana or more sweet fruit, or both. You can also add dates or honey. It really depends on your kids and their tastebuds. Make it as sweet as they can drink but not overly sweet. Start with sweeter smoothie and reduce amount of fruit as they get used to the taste.
That’s it. Wasn’t it easy?! Oh, and the best tip I can give you is to rinse your blender right away with warm water, no need for soap. That’s when double sink comes in handy for drying. I also use wide plastic straws for the kids that I rinse right away. Even disposable ones, I rinse and reuse. I hate waste. These metal straws seem like a good alternative too.
And big tip: it helps to have pre-washed and pre-cut vegetables on hand. I always buy pre-washed organic baby spinach and then wash and cut other veggies in large Ziploc containers or bags. I’m not a fan of hot or warm food in a plastic but for cold stuff BPA free containers are fine, if you ask me. Here is a good article about plastic and food.
Let me know how you and your kids like it and what else have you added to your green smoothie. Happy Clean Eating and Drinking!
- 4 1/2 cups water, divided
- 3 large handfuls spinach (I use pre-washed)
- 4 large kale leaves, stalks removed
- 2 large celery stalks, cut in sticks
- 2 - 3 handfuls broccoli (including stalks)
- 1/2 English cucumber, cut in large chunks (optional)
- 1/2 peeled lemon (remove white part as well)
- 1 - 2 inch fresh ginger (I don't peel organic one)
- 1/4 cup chia, flax or hemp seeds
- 2 large ripe bananas, divided
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups mango or pineapple chunks (frozen or fresh), divided
- Raw honey or dates (optional)
- In a powerful blender, add 4 cups of cold water, spinach and kale; pulse a few times.
- Add celery, broccoli, cucumber (optional), lemon and ginger; pulse a few times.
- Add chia (flax or hemp) seeds, 1 banana, all mango or other sweet fruit; process on medium speed for a few minutes and then for 3 – 4 minutes or until silky smooth. At this point the adult green smoothie is ready. Divide it between cups and leave a little bit less than your kids will drink in a jug. I usually end up with 4 green smoothies for adults => 2 for today and 2 for tomorrow.
- Add 1/2 cup water and either another banana or more sweet fruit, or both. You can also add honey or dates. It really depends on your kids and their tastebuds. Make it as sweet as they can drink but not overly sweet. Reduce amount of sweetener as they get used to the taste of a smoothie. Now your kids' smoothies are ready. Serve cold.