More than a quarter of your daily food intake should include a variety of fresh vegetables. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as of May 2016, less than 4% of Australians were eating the recommended servings of vegetables for optimum health benefits.
A healthy smoothie or ‘green smoothie’ for breakfast is a convenient way to kick start your vegetable intake for the day and comes with lots of unexpected side benefits. Once you get started, it is really hard to stop.
A surprising side benefit for this author has been a significantly reduced urge for caffeine despite not planning to cut back!
Where do the recommended vegetable serves come from?
The Australian Dietary Guidelines takes the latest scientific research and condenses it in to a simple summary of recommendations of daily serves across food groups.
Making these recommendations is in the best interest of the Government. Why? A healthy population is much kinder to the economy. In addition, a healthy nation of people is a productive nation.
A healthy smoothie or green smoothie starts off as a colourful blender jug containing, in order of density:
- More than 50% of the total should include fresh, nutrient rich leafy greens such as kale and spinach; along with raw vegetables – celery, carrot and beetroot are great liver cleansers!
- Fresh fruits – fruits soften and sweeten the taste. A banana is a great way to make your smoothie creamy, not watery.
- Protein boosters such as dairy, seeds, nuts or nut milks – do your research first. Some seeds when pulverised can be toxic, and nuts may need to be soaked overnight in water.
- Some liquid to help blend it – water or coconut water works well if you’re not adding milk or nut milks.
Washing the ingredients thoroughly beforehand is important, particularly when leaving skins on will give you the maximum fibre benefits.
Consider investing in a high powered blender to get a smooth blend every time. Don’t shun it until you try it. If you get the balance of sweet or acidic fruits right, and the creaminess of a pureed banana, you won’t even notice that you’re sucking down most of your vegetable serves before you’ve even started your day!
Here are five reasons you should start every day with a healthy smoothie. Once you start, you’ll be hooked!
A healthy smoothie is an easy way to consume a variety of vegetables
Bulking up a plate or sandwich with vegetables doesn’t appeal to everyone. In fact, the thought of munching through a variety of different vegetables when time isn’t always on your side, can feel onerous. If the thought of crunching on raw celery and carrot sticks throughout the day is enough to make you grind your teeth, pulverise them! Add them to your breakfast smoothie instead. Your body will thank you for a morning blend of kale, spinach, raw beetroot, carrot and celery.
A healthy smoothie is super convenient
You can blend up your healthy green smoothie the night before, pop it in the fridge and there’s a highly nutritious breakfast in the morning, ready to gulp down! If you’re on the run in the mornings, take your smoothie with you and slurp away. And if the day gets away from you and your eating regime isn’t fabulous for the rest of the day, at least you know that your body has had one ample nutritional boost for the day.
A healthy smoothie fills you up
Imagine the bulk of what you’re packing into a blender jug, on a plate. There is a lot of volume there. One nutritious green smoothie will keep you going until lunchtime. So much so, that there doesn’t feel like there’s room for even a coffee!
Chocolate lovers can continue their love affair
You’ll be surprised what taste sensations you can create by simply adding a decent helping of cacao powder and manuka honey. Add a good sprinkling of cinnamon too, if you like your chocolate spicy! Cacao and beetroot also work beautifully together. A ripe avocado, a heaped tablespoon or more of cacao, one frozen banana, a splash of coconut milk or coconut yoghurt, a teaspoon of cassia cinnamon, a teaspoon of vanilla extract – blend it up, and you have one very smooth and tasty chocolate mousse.
There are heaps of online resources and recipes to inspire you
Green smoothies have been a health trend for years now which means that there are bucket loads of great online inspiration to be found. Type ‘green smoothie recipes’ in to your online search. You’ll be overwhelmed with ideas and healthy concoctions.
Here are some websites to help get you started:
- Simple Green Smoothies
- Real Simple > Food Recipes > Healthy Meals > Green Smoothie Recipes
- Incredible Smoothies > How to Make the Perfect Green Smoothie
- Beginners Guide to the Ultimate Smoothie and Blender / Glass reviews
ABS 4364.0.55.012 – Australian Health Survey: Consumption of Food Groups from the Australian Dietary Guidelines, 2011-12 (May 2016 update)