My Beginner's Smoothie Guide

By popular demand from my readers, I wanted to share what I call my “beginner’s smoothie guide”.  I LOVE my morning smoothies (as all my ex-coworkers know very well and would make fun of me for!) because while they look green and weird, my recipes are actually delicious, and of course, they are the quickest way to get a nutritious breakfast that revs up my metabolism and leaves me satisfied for hours.  

I make sure to include a combination of organic greens, low-glycemic fruit, clean protein and healthy fats, so this way, my smoothies won't cause a spike in blood sugar levels the way most other quick breakfast options do, like cereal and even oatmeal (especially if it’s the quick oats you get on-the-go).  And of course, green smoothies are an easy way to get 1-2 servings of greens into your day!  (Note: you shouldn't stop here with your greens, every meal should have some green vegetables, but at least with a green smoothie breakfast, you’re making sure to start your day in the right direction!)

So let’s start off with my step-by-step guide on preparing the smoothies, and then I’ll provide you with my recommended shopping list for you to take to your next visit to Whole Foods or your local health market!

SMOOTHIE GUIDE:

  1. Start by adding about ¼ cup of water to your smoothie cup or blender (I like to use NutriBullet for ease of use, though for something more powerful, Vitamix is the most recommended blender).  

  2. Add one scoop of Protein Powder + some powdered greens (including organic chlorella, spirulina, wheat-grass, barley grass, etc) if not already included in your protein powder.  Ideally, look for a protein powder that is free of pesticides, chemical preservatives and artificial sweeteners.  And personally, I think its best to go for a soy-free and dairy-free option.  See below for my Protein Powder recommendations!    

  3. Add your green vegetables! This can by a combination of organic spinach, kale, romaine, celery, parsley, zucchini, cucumbers, or whatever greens you have in your fridge/freezer.  I like to add a combination of dark leafy greens (spinach or kale) with some sweeter greens - romaine or zucchini are my favs.  I personally find celery and parsley have a strong flavor, and since I like my smoothies on the sweeter side, I save those for my green juices (vs smoothies).

  4. Add your fruits.  My preference is to use high fiber and relatively low-sugar fruits such as blueberries, cherries, figs, pears and apples.

  5. Add your liquid of choice.  I like to switch it up between vanilla almond milk, coconut milk, and coconut water.

  6. Add your superfoods.  Apart from my powdered organic greens, I also like to add other superfoods such as Maca, Lucuma, Acai, Raw Cacao, and of course, Chia seeds and Flax seeds.  Try them out and switch them up.  I use chia seeds just about every other day, same with flax seeds, and then switch up the other goodies depending on my mood and the other ingredients I’m using.

  7. Blend! And try it out.  If it’s too bitter, add a date for sweetness and blend another 5 seconds.  If it’s too liquid, add some more greens and berries, maybe ¼ avocado for added creaminess, or if it’s too thick, add some more almond milk or water, and blend another few seconds.  

I personally also like to add something crunchy at the end, so that I have something to chew (which stimulates the digestive enzymes in my mouth and gets my digestion process started), so I add some coconut flakes, slivered almonds or goji berries, etc as “toppings” to my creamy smoothie.  Experiment and see what you like and what keeps you satiated!

SHOPPING GUIDE:

  1. Protein powders: I've done extensive research on these, have checked-in with some functional medicine doctors and nutritionists, and after my research (and tasting many brands) my favorites include:

    • Sun Warrior Warrior Blend - vanilla flavor

    • Garden of Life Raw Protein (or you can have the Raw Meal which includes super-greens)

    • Vega Sport Performance  or Vega One (these include super-greens)

    • For those of you who are OK with dairy/whey, Tera's Whey is a great option, organic and carefully sourced/prepared.

  2. Powdered greens: offers a huge nutritional punch filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, usually probiotics & enzymes as well, and it’s an easy way to add a serving of greens to your day.  I like: 

    • AmazingGrass Green SuperFood - acai berry green or chocolate green flavor

    • ALOHA daily greens - green, berry or chocolate flavor

    • Garden of Life Perfect Food - berry or super green powder

  3. Additional Superfoods:

    • Seeds: Chia and Ground flax seeds (you buy them whole and grind them at home; they last longer this way)

    • Powders: Maca, Acai, Lucuma, and Raw Cacao.  Note: I like Navitas Naturals brand for all of the above (found in Whole Foods and Amazon)

  4. Produce:

    • organic (fresh or frozen) baby spinach, kale, romaine, or mixed baby greens

    • organic zucchini, cucumbers, avocados, beets, carrots

    • organic apples, pears, berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries), tart cherries, figs, prunes, mango, bananas (Note: Trader Jo’s sells frozen figs, as well as a great frozen berry and cherry mix)

  5. Other additions/ natural healthy sweeteners:

    • dates

    • raw honey (manuka honey is best) or 100% maple syrup

    • cinnamon, or I love pumpkin pie spice (has cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves)

And there you have it.  Give these smoothies a shot!  It may take a bit of practice and getting used to, but once you find the combos/ingredients that you like, start making green smoothies a regular morning meal, twice or three times a week if not more.  I personally find that no other breakfast makes me feel as good, so I have them almost every day (I’m slightly addicted!) but I switch up my combinations, and even alternate between protein powders when I finish them.  Love to get your feedback as always!

Love and smoothies,

Mariana