Leafy Greens- Nutritional Powerhouse

We recently splurged on a BlendTec blender and have really been enjoying experimenting with “green smoothies”.  Green, leafy vegetables offer so many nutrients and health benefits for everyone- and especially have much to offer during pregnancy. 

Leafy greens are a rich source of minerals (including magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium) and vitamins, including many of the B vitamins, C, E, & K. Greens also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Dark green leaves even contain small amounts of ultra-important Omega-3 fats.   There are a variety of “greens”, including but not limited to spinach, kale, collard greens, beet greens, dandelion greens, arugula, romaine lettuce…

We were previously most familiar with salads and cooked greens.  So here’s a little snapshot of what we’ve learned about raw green smoothies since our blender purchase two weeks ago (I’m sure we have much more to learn!):

First of all, a powerful blender like the VitaMix or BlendTec is a wonderful aid in making whole-food smoothies.  Another good rule of thumb (for someone new to green smoothies) is to blend 60% fruits/ 40% greens.  We’ve found that just about any combination of apples, grapes, blueberries, kiwi, pineapple, banana, strawberries, pear, blackberries, mango, or lemon all make great fruit choices.  Then we cut up and add kale, collards, spinach, or dandelion greens.  (A friend has recommended lacinato kale, which I’ve not yet been able to find in our local grocery store, but hope to try at some point.)  I personally like to cut my fruit up in fairly small chunks and freeze some of it before making my smoothie.  Most of the fruits I’ve tried have frozen very well.  And then you can just grab what you need from the container instead of feeling like you need to use the whole fresh pineapple that day!  I don’t freeze large amounts, however, to keep them as fresh as possible.  You can also add some ice to your smoothie if you wish- less necessary if using some frozen fruit &/or greens.  One of the great things about a VitaMix or BlendTec is that you can leave the fruit skin (i.e. apple, kiwi, pear…) and it will blend it all right in.  It is definitely optimal to buy organic fruits and greens, especially if they have edible skins. 

Have a wonderful time experimenting with how you can increase the amount of green, leafy veggies in your diet!

2 Responses to “Leafy Greens- Nutritional Powerhouse”

  1. Allie Says:

    We love green smoothies! When I first started, I always used a green-colored fruit like kiwi or pear and then called it a “pear smoothie” or “kiwi smoothie” to make it more exciting for the kids. Now they are used to the greens and don’t mind it being called a spinach smoothie. Our favorite is: 1 apple, 1 banana, frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, 1/2 c orange juice, a little water, and spinach to fill up the blender. We put them in sundae glasses with a wiggly straw. Fun!

  2. Tammia Says:

    We also like to add nut butters to our smoothies. Also fish oil or flax seed oil for more Omega 3’s. I read somewhere to add powdered egg whites for more protein (but I haven’t checked to see if you can powder that is free range/organic).

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