When you think of a smoothie, you most likely picture a blend of fruits, milk, yogurt and juice. You can boost the nutrition of your smoothies by including vegetables. Some types of vegetables blend into smoothies better than others. You can add vegetables without altering the flavor of your fruit-based smoothie, or you can make vegetables the feature ingredient for a more savory version.
Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale and romaine lettuce, blend easily into fruit smoothies. They change the color, sometimes making the drink a bright green or a dull brown, but they do not add a strong vegetable taste. Leafy greens are a source of vitamins A and K, folate, calcium and iron. Spinach is the most neutral-flavored addition to smoothies. Blend together 1 cup of soy milk with half of a frozen banana, 1 cup of frozen strawberries and 1 cup of raw baby spinach. You can add kale to a smoothie made with orange juice, yogurt and bananas. Romaine blends into just about any smoothie; try adding it to one made with blueberries, apple juice and a drizzle of honey.
Cucumbers and Tomatoes
Cucumbers add thickness and moisture to smoothies without adding much flavor. You can blend cucumbers together with tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic and fresh basil to create a gazpacho-like savory smoothie with vitamins A and C and the mineral potassium. You could also add spinach or kale to this smoothie to further boost the nutrition.
Carrots are a sweet vegetable that are almost undetectable when added to a smoothie. Try blending a raw, chopped carrot into a mixture of green grapes, lime juice, half of a banana, half of an apple and orange juice for a refreshing smoothie with ample amounts of vitamins A and C. Consider investing in a high-speed blender before adding carrots to smoothies. Weaker blenders may leave your smoothie with an unpleasant, chunky texture.
Although higher in calories than most other vegetables, avocados are a source of folate, vitamin E, potassium and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Their creamy texture makes them a natural addition to smoothies. Blend a ripe avocado with pineapple, coconut water, agave nectar, lime juice and vanilla extract to create a healthier version of a pina colada. Be judicious when adding avocado to smoothies; too much can make you feel like you are drinking guacamole.
- USDA; Why Is It Important to Eat Vegetables?; February 2011
- "Raw Food, Real World"; Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis; 2005
- "Raw Food Cleanse"; Penni Shelton; 2010
- USDA: Nutrient Data Laboratory