(ARA) – Sure, you know greens are good for you. You occasionally toss a broccoli stalk or two into your chef salad – after all, anything tastes good with ranch dressing on it, right? And you often eat spinach when you visit your favorite neighborhood restaurant . . . and order the spinach-artichoke dip. Unfortunately, with that, you also get plenty of fat.
But if you still avoid more mysterious greens like kale, bok choy and mustard greens because you just don’t know how to prepare them so that they taste good, there’s a simple solution: green smoothies. A growing number of Americans, including TV personality Montel Williams, advocate the health – not to mention flavor – benefits of smoothies made with so-called “super foods” like green, leafy vegetables.
“Kids aren’t the only ones who don’t particularly like the taste of some greens,” says Jodi Berg, a fan of green smoothies and the executive vice president of Vita-Mix, manufacturer of commercial and household blenders, including one mentioned in Williams’ recent book on healthful living. “By incorporating raw greens in smoothies made with fruit and other flavorful ingredients, you can enjoy all the health benefits of these super veggies, plus the taste and fun associated with smoothies.”
The nutritional value of super greens has been well known for years, but the far-reaching positive impact of some nutrients is just now coming to light. From improving eye and blood health to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, the nutrients found in leafy greens have multiple health benefits. “The challenge in reaping these full benefits has been the taste,” Berg says. “Many raw leafy greens have a bitter flavor that even cooking can’t completely mask. Most people expect a green smoothie to have some of that bitterness as well, but there is none. When you combine the right ingredients in the Vita-Mix machine, the result is silky-smooth and surprisingly sweet and delicious.”
So what’s the secret of whipping up a great-tasting, nutrient-filled green smoothie that both kids and adults will love? Here are some tips:
* Start with fresh fruit to provide the sweet flavor. Any fruit that you like will do the trick, but remember there’s an added nutritional benefit with some fruits. Blueberries or pomegranate, for example, will impart sweetness and an antioxidant punch. Pineapple or orange will deliver tart sweetness and plenty of vitamin C, while potassium-rich bananas will also add thickness and body to the smoothie.
* Next, choose a healthful green that you likely wouldn’t eat any other way, like collard greens, Swiss chard or bok choy. In addition to being an excellent non-meat, nondairy source of calcium and iron, the high fiber content in these greens balances out the sugar content of the fruit so that you don’t experience a spike in your blood sugar levels.
* Use fresh, filtered water and ice with the fruit and veggies. You can also add fat-free or low-fat yogurt, plain or flavored, to add nutrition and flavor to your smoothie. Do avoid high-fat additives like ice cream that also contain refined sugars.
* Be sure to use the right equipment. While the average blender may do just fine to mix milk and ice cream into a milk shake, you’ll need a heavier-duty device to chop, blend and smooth hearty greens. The Vita-Mix Super 5200 has the power and precision to completely pulverize whole foods and breaks them down to the cellular level. Nutrients are freed and valuable fiber is not stripped away.
Berg offers her favorite smoothie recipes to get you started:
by Valerie Waugaman, American Gladiator star
4 ounces vanilla soymilk, unsweetened
2 ounces pomegranate juice
3 cups fresh spinach leaves, gently packed
1 kiwi, peeled
1/2 cup green grapes or 1/2 pear
1/4 avocado, peeled
1/8 slice lime with rind
1 scoop protein powder (vanilla flavor)
dash of vanilla extract
5 drops Stevia (optional)
2 cups ice cubes
Directions: Place all ingredients in Vita-Mix blender and blend until smooth.
Going Green Smoothie
2 cups fresh spinach or the leafy green of your choice
1/2 cup pineapple (fresh or frozen)
1 cup green grapes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ice
Place all ingredients in Vita-Mix container and secure two-part lid. Select variable speed 1. Turn machine on and quickly increase speed to 10, then to High. Process for 1 minute or until smooth. Makes 3 1/2 cups.
To learn more about the Vita-Mix and for more recipes and ideas on incorporating super greens into your diet, visit www.vitamix.com.
Courtesy of ARAcontent