Yeah, I know...that is the longest title of a blog post in blog history! But I wanted to emphasize the insane health benefits in this smoothie and to point out that it actually tastes delicious too!
I think it is important to have fruits and vegetables on our plates for dinner every night, but that is not the main way I get my kids to eat their greens! I like to find ways to hide veggies in different recipes or smoothies as much as I can so my kids get the adequate nutrition that they need! We started drinking green smoothies a few years ago and I have seen amazing results from it.
A few tricks on making a green smoothie: First, put in your liquid, then your spinach (or whatever greens you are using) and blend this together first before you add anything else. This will get the spinach completely broken down and smooth. Notice how much I put in...I stuff as much as I possible can into each smoothie...the spinach really has no flavor and it is soooo good for you (see reasons why down below). Then add your flax seeds, chia seeds, and peanut or almond butter...blend again to get a smooth consistency...add fruit and ice and blend one last time. If your kids are picky, spray some whip cream on the top of it and put it in a fancy cup so they will think it is a treat.
Chocolate Protein and Omega Packed Green Smoothie-Dairy Free
(Makes approximately 4-6 smoothies)
3 cups Almond Milk
3 cups Spinach
2 scoops Chocolate Protein Powder (my favorite is muscle milk-cheapest at Costco)
3 tablespoons Almond Butter
1 tablespoon Chia Seed
2 tablespoon Flax Seed
It is the perfect snack for after school, before swim team or after dance class...and it's great to add to a healthy breakfast too. The kids will ALWAYS ask for seconds of this recipe!
Health Benefits of this recipe
Flaxseeds: Two tablespoons of flaxseed meal contains 4 grams of fiber, 2.4 grams of the short-chain omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and 300 milligrams of a particular type of antioxidant called lignans. Both ALA and lignans are anti-inflammatory, and lignans may also help lower cholesterol levels. Flaxseeds should be eating ground, otherwise they won’t be fully digested—and you won’t extract the nutrients.
Chia Seeds: While most associate them with the infomercials trying to convince you to buy green furry pets, chia seeds were originally eaten by the Mayan and Aztecs. One of the goals of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans was to have people choose foods that provide more dietary fiber. The typical American only eats 40 percent of their daily fiber goals (women should aim to consume 25 grams a day). Chia seeds can help you close this gap. With 5 grams of fiber per tablespoon, just adding two tablespoons of the seeds to your oatmeal or smoothie in the morning will double the fiber intake of the average American. Like flax, chia seeds also contain the omega-3 fat ALA.
Spinach (this is all in 1 Cup):
- High in Protein - The highest vegetable protein around! One cup of spinach equals 5g of protein. (12% DV)
- Super high in Vitamin A – Over 18,000 IU (377% DV). Vitamin A benefits the heart by preventing cholesterol from becoming oxidized in the body.
- Crazy high in Vitamin K – Second only to Cauliflower with over 880 mcg (1111% DV) Vitamin K is essential as it helps calcium adhere to the bone making them stronger.
- Great source of Folate/Folic Acid – Over 260 mcg or 66% DV. Which is particularly important for pregnant or nursing women.
- Nice source of Vitamin C – With 17.6 mg or 29% DV. This also benefits the heart by preventing cholesterol from becoming oxidized in the body.
- Great source of Minerals - 84% DV of manganese, 39% DV of magnesium, 36% DV of iron, 24% DV of potassium, and 24% DV of calcium.
- 13 Flavonoids that help to fight cancer, protect against age related memory loss, and prevent heart disease.
- Decent source of Fiber with 4.3g or 17% DV.
Health Benefits of Green Smoothies
1 – Natural Weight Loss
Drinking a green smoothie is the best thing you can do to lose weight. Green smoothies provide the nutrition, vitamins, minerals, healthy carbohydrates, fiber and low fat whole food that you need to lose weight quickly, safely and effectively without starving yourself.
2 – Increased Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables (Particularly Greens)
The American Cancer Society recommends that we eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day to prevent cancer and other diseases. Green smoothies are a quick and convenient way to get your vegetables and dark, leafy greens without tasting them. The fruit masks the flavor so even though all you taste is pineapple, mango, banana or strawberry, you are consuming a healthy dose of spinach, carrots, tomatoes and any other vegetable that you put in.
3 – Easy Digestibility and Nutrient Assimilation
Blending fruits and vegetables together breaks down the cells of plants and improves digestibility. Your blender unlocks the nutrients and maximizes their delivery to your body more than chewing any salad could. Smoothies are quicker and more convenient than preparing and thoroughly chewing a salad, especially when you are on the go.
4 – Antioxidants
Green smoothies are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Not only are you giving your body the best defenses for disease, but you are ingesting a variety of natural substances that are essential for optimum health and fitness.
5 – Increased Energy
Smoothies provide a powerful boost of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients without bogging down your digestive system. Since you are eating natural, whole foods in the most optimum form for your digestion and nutrient absorption, you will have more energy to get things done and enjoy your day.
6 – Mental Clarity and Focus
With a healthier diet comes greater mental clarity and focus. You will experience greater alertness, energy and dramatically reduced anxiety and nervousness.
7 – Increased Fiber Intake
Unlike fruit juice or using a juicer, green smoothies use the whole fruit and vegetable so that you get all the fiber and nutrition. Fiber is essential for good colon health and it keeps your bowels in working order.
8 – Clearer Skin
Clearer, radiant skin is an often-reported benefit to eating healthier. Smoothies are high in fiber and allow your body to eliminate toxins the right way instead of through your skin.
9 – Reduce Cravings
Green smoothies reduce cravings for junk foods, unhealthy sweets, salt and fats. You will find that after a few weeks of drinking smoothies, you will crave healthier foods such as fruits, vegetables and greens.
10 – Rich With Chlorophyll
Green smoothies are rich with chlorophyll which some natural health experts say enhances the immune system, purifies the blood and rejuvenates the body.
11 – Alkalizing
Fruits and vegetables are alkaline foods and many natural health experts claim that consuming these foods helps maintain a proper alkaline balance in the body. Acid-producing foods (as well as the over-consumption of protein) can raise the PH level of the blood, which can cause your body to leach calcium from your bones to neutralize it, thus increasing your risk for osteoporosis.