If you’ve tuned in to the health and wellness blogosphere lately, or have spent any time drooling over food boards on Pinterest, you may have noticed something of a new breakfast trend: the green smoothie. A green smoothie?! Yep, that’s right. Green. As in spinach and kale and rocket and avocado and cucumber – vegetables packed to the brim with vitamin K and other good stuff. In liquid breakfast form. Everyone from supermodel Miranda Kerr to celebrity physician Dr. Oz seems to be on the green smoothie bandwagon.
If you’re like most people, a smoothie traditionally involves yoghurt (ok, maybe ice cream) and berries, mango or banana, or maybe a combo of these. And probably some honey and milk. Sounds delicious, right? But with that amount of sugar, a regular smoothie fix for breakfast isn’t going to do your waistline any favours, not to mention your digestive health. Homemade green smoothies on the other hand are usually low in sugar, packed with vitamins and are generally uber healthy. Depending on your preferred mix of ingredients, a daily green smoothie can be super-food-packed, all-day fuel for your belly and brain. These sometimes weird looking drinks get their distinctive verdant colour from leafy green vegetables blended with a variety of other tasty items – coconut water or almond milk, chia seeds, avocado, berries, mint, vanilla powder and ice for a thick smoothie/frappe texture. They can be either sweet or savoury. A savoury version might include yummy bites of basil with lemon and ginger, while a sweet option could use raw cacao nibs, avocado, berries and mint for a choc-mint flavour. They’re low in calories and high in the good stuff, making them perfect as a refreshing and filling breakfast. They’re also a great alternative to protein shakes for a post-workout nutrient hit, especially if they include ingredients like coconut and avocado for natural fats and proteins.
The majority of green smoothie recipes you’ll find online rely on leafy greens such as spinach, chard and kale as main ingredients. Try adding a dose of green in avocado or cucumber form as they are nutritious foods that improve digestion. If you have gut issues it can also help to ease off on the high fibre fruits, opting instead for stewed or canned options that tend to be easier on the gastrointestinal (GI) system. You can also add natural digestive aids such as fermented foods (yoghurt and kefir), fennel seeds and bananas.
Don’t let the colour put you off – with so many flavour combinations out there, you’re sure to find a power-packed concoction that your tastebuds and body will love. Best of all, with vegetables for breakfast you’ll get a slow release of energy throughout the day and will feel full for longer.
So whip that blender out now and start experimenting! If you need some inspiration, search Instagram for #greensmoothie – thousands of people share their recipes along with photos of their emerald brekkies, or you could give this digestive-friendly recipe a go:
Chilled Green Smoothie
- 1 cup cubed honeydew melon
- 3/4 cup peeled, seeded, and cubed fresh cucumber
- 1/2 cup plain acidophilus yogurt
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon lime juice and/or a dash of ground cloves (optional)