Green Smoothies – the Breakfast of Champions

Posted by on Dec 1, 2010 in Nutrition | 44 comments

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries


Life is busy, and sometimes it’s hard to find the time to eat as well as we know we should.

It’s recommended that we consume between 25 and 35 grams of fiber each day, but the average person consumes less than 10 grams. Researchers report that a high-fiber diet can reduce cardiovascular risk, cholesterol and blood pressure.

It’s recommended that we consume 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables each day, but most people consume far less, and little of that is unprocessed. This, despite the fact that fresh fruits and vegetables are fat free, low in salt and an excellent source of fiber, as well as being rich in nutrients, phytonutrients and antioxidants.

What if you could get almost a whole day’s worth of nutrients from breakfast alone, at a reasonable price and in only 5 minutes? This is possible, by changing your breakfast from whatever it currently is (coffee and a muffin at the local drive-thru on your way to work?) to a Green Smoothie. And the really good news is – it’s yummy!


– 2 c cold water
– 1/4 c almonds
– 2 tbsp flax seeds
– 2c (60grams) raw parsley
– 1 frozen banana (peeled)
– 6 frozen strawberries
– 1/2 c frozen mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)

Combine water, almonds, flax, and parsley in a Vitamix (if any other blender, use ground flax seed) til completely broken down (no more chunks of almond, or flax, or parsley) – 30s in a Vitamix. You can soak the almonds overnight if you want – it will make them blend more easily.

Add banana and berries, blend til smooth (consistency of a milk-shake). Enjoy!

Note: for a change, replace the parsley with other greens, like spinach (a milder flavor), or kale. In the summer, add some dandelion greens, or chickweed. Rainbow chard is nice. My husband even likes cilantro. Experiment, and see what works for you and your family. Also, while I use flaxseed most of the time, it’s also possible to use chia seeds, or hemp seeds, each of which has its own significant nutritional benefits.

Note: if you’re trying to lose weight, green smoothies can be extremely helpful. One change you might want to make to this recipe is to leave out the flax and almonds – suddenly you’ll have a low-calorie, nutritionally dense, highly cleansing green smoothie that’s a perfect start to your day! I made the change about a month ago, and have seen substantial results. Warning: those smoothies are not quite as creamy as this recipe, and a little less sweet. My kids prefer this recipe, and it’s still what I have on weekends.

=> low-fat green smoothie recipe

If you don’t currently have a blender, or you do have one, but it’s not up to the task of blending frozen bananas and strawberries, consider purchasing your own Vitamix! To get free shipping (regular $25) on your shiny new Vitamix, click on my affiliate link, or mention my affiliate number (***06-006010***) when you order.

If you prefer to order by phone, here is the Vitamix contact information:
Jean-Pierre “J.P.” Minard
Direct Household Sales Consultant
Vitamix Corporation
Phone: +1 800 848 2649 ext 2303
UK: 0808 156 6633
IE: 0766 709 854

Nutritional breakdown (from ):

This food is low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Folate, Iron and Magnesium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

– glycemic load ~19 (very low – that’s good!)
– inflammation factor ~686 (very high – that’s good too!)
– calories 500
– fat 22.6grams (of which 2grams saturated fat) – high in both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
– protein 16grams (~35% DV for a person weighing 150lbs)
– dietary fiber 25grams
– Vitamin A 208% DV
– Vitamin C 380% DV
– Vitamin E 45% DV
– Vitamin K 2497% DV
– Thiamin 39% DV
– Riboflavin 33% DV
– Niacin 25% DV
– Vitamin B6 38% DV
– Folate 69% DV
– Calcium 34% DV
– Iron 62% DV
– Magnesium 69% DV
– Phosphorus 39% DV
– Zinc 26% DV
– Copper 51% DV
– Manganese 133% DV
– Phytosterols ~25mg


  1. In the news – Top 25 Foods for Longevity (have five of them for breakfast in your green smoothie)

    * * *

    The following 25 incredibly healthy foods have the potential to slow biological aging by acting in a number of ways. They provide unique antioxidants and nutrients that bolster our immune system, they defend against free radicals, they maintain a healthy blood-glucose and insulin level and they help to keep inflammation at bay.

    Almonds: Rich in vitamin E (an antioxidant) and a good source of monounsaturated fat (an anti-inflammatory).

    Berries: Packed with many phytochemicals that act as potent antioxidants.

    Flaxseed: Excellent source of alpha linolenic acid or ALA (an omega-3 fat) and lignans, phytochemicals thought to guard against breast and prostate cancer.

    Kale: Good source of vitamins A, C and K, folate, calcium and potassium and is plentiful in phytochemicals that help preserve eyesight.

    Spinach – packed with lutein for eye health and a good source of anti-cancer compounds including vitamins A and C, beta-carotene and flavonoids.

  2. I tried out your recipe, and have had green smoothies the past few days for breakfast. What I’ve noticed is that I easily make it through to lunch time without feeling hungry. Normally I’m starving by 11am.

  3. And, today in the news, another reason why to make green smoothies part of your daily breakfast:

    * * *

    Two or more cups of berries a week may protect against Parkinson’s, according to a study of more than 130,000 American men and women.

    It’s the first prospective study in humans — meaning it looked at people initially without Parkinson’s disease and followed them over time — to explore the association between flavonoids and the risk of developing the debilitating brain disorder.

    Flavonoids are natural compounds that have an antioxidant effect. Blueberries and strawberries are high in flavonoids, as are tea, apples, oranges, orange juice and red wine. Other studies have suggested flavonoids may account for lower rates of stroke and other vascular diseases among wine drinkers.

  4. Can this smoothie be given to children? I have some very picky eaters and this would be a great way to get them to eat veggies.

    • Hi, Lily,

      This smoothie can DEFINITELY be given to children!

      I used to serve them to all the girls for breakfast when my daughter had sleep-overs, until the time that one piece of spinach got caught under the lid of my blender, and my son picked up the unblended spinach leaf from his drink and said “What’s this?” Suddenly, all of the girls looked in horror at the drinks that they’d been enjoying only seconds earlier…

      Don’t let this happen to you! 😉

      My suggestion – start out with small amounts of fresh baby spinach (like maybe one handful), and make sure you use blueberries and raspberries (they’ve got strong fruit flavors and are very colorful). As your kids get used to it, you can add more spinach.

      When it comes right down to it – the guy at the Vitamix demos uses 1/4 head of green cabbage in the ones he makes, and children drink them pretty eagerly. You can put all sorts of vegetables in, especially if they’re a little sweet anyway (beets are beautiful, peppers, cucumber…). Just do it gradually, and taste it yourself first to make sure any new experiments are successful.

  5. Hi,

    Im allergic to almonds and bananas so what can I use as a substitute?

    • Hi, Jill,

      I guess it depends on what you’re NOT allergic to.

      You might consider replacing the almonds and flax seed with ‘hemp hearts’ (shelled hemp seeds). They are very high in Omega 3 fatty acids and protein, as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals.

      As to the bananas, they’re providing a lot of the ‘smoothness’ of the smoothie, so you should replace with another sweet fruit that’s a little heavier than berries – try mangoes, peaches, nectarines. Or you could replace with tofu. If you are OK with dairy, then plain yogurt (especially if you freeze it!) will work well.

  6. Just made this recipe but its not green! lol Still, I’m a meat and potatoes kind of man but this was very good.

    • Indeed – the berries make it a lovely shade of purple (that’s how I got my kids and their friends to drink these) – but it’s still a great way to get more greens into your diet. Glad you enjoyed it!

  7. hello, i just wanna ask if i dont have berries, what other fruits do u think is good for this green smoothie?

    • Hi, Hanis,

      For me, the frozen banana is non-negotiable – it makes the smoothie thick and creamy, like a milk-shake. Besides that, you can really experiment with all sorts of different fruits. I use berries because they’re just so darn healthy. That said, I often toss in a ripe kiwi (peel and all). Pineapple works. Coconut and dates makes a fantastically delicious smoothie. Mango is good, or peaches or nectarines. Cantaloupe works. Basically, I don’t tend to use citrus, because of the water content (if you do, then decrease the amount of water in the smoothie). I don’t use apples or pears because of the texture (but they’re probably fine). Cherries would probably be good – grapes not quite so good (again, water content).

      Try out various fruits – let me know what works for you!

  8. Hi there,

    I am in DESPERATE need to lose weight, had back surgery that has caused me to gain ALOT of weight. I have tried just about everything but haven’t had any positive results.

    Is there anything advice that could be given to me to help me out? I never weighed over 125lbs even after my 4 kids, have back surgery and now I weigh 175lbs.


    • I have been on the green smoothie diet for about 3 months and I lost weight w/o even trying. I recommend looking up arnolds way on youtube b/c it was his vids that convinced me to try it. Trust me you wont regret it.

  9. Hi, all,

    I was recently asked if you could freeze your green smoothie. I hadn’t thought much about it, but I decided to try it on the weekend – by making Green Smoothie Popsicles!

    What a great way to celebrate summer; instead of those frozen sugar-water popsicles you can buy in the store, make your own, and know that you’re getting loads of nutrients as you cool off.

    • I love the idea of making popsicles. My kids are always wanting to make orange juice popsicles. In desperate times (when there is no orange juice in the house)they will even make ice popsicles. lol This would be so much better.

      • You’re right, Elizabeth – these ARE much better! They hold together better than orange juice popsicles, AND it’s not possible to suck all the flavor out of them and be left with just ice.

        Lately my family has been enjoying another kind of fruit popsicle. I’ve been making raw fruit ‘pudding’ (see my raw-nectarine-pudding article for details), and discovered that it’s also fantastic as frozen popsicles.

        If we’re eating these for dessert instead of ice cream, that’s got to be a good thing 🙂

  10. Hi! I will be trying this soon! Do you need the banana to be frozen? Please let me know!

    • Hi, Rose,

      The banana doesn’t NEED to be frozen, but it really does make the smoothie be a lot thicker and creamier (like a milkshake). What I do is buy a bunch of bananas, and when they begin to get brown spots, then I peel them, put them into a zip-lock freezer bag, and put them all in the freezer. It’s a convenient way to always have frozen bananas for my smoothies.

  11. Green smoothies are the best! I’m kinda addicted to them. I buy all the leafy greens in the market and add them. Celery is one of my favorite ingredients!

    PS I love your blog theme!

    • Hi, Christine,

      Thanks – I like the theme too!

      I’ve tried all sorts of leafy greens – and only once did I end up with something not-drinkable. I recommend never mixing organic mustard greens into your fruit smoothies – this may seem obvious to everyone but me, but they were so beautiful that I didn’t even think that maybe they’d taste a little like, well, mustard.

  12. I currently eat lots of fruits and vegetables, but am finding that I can’t eat enough to keep up with the speed at which they start to (go brown, slimy, wilty, etc.) Have you found any successful methods for chopping/freezing the leafy greens so they keep longer? I’ve frozen spinach before, but not sure if that would work well (maybe in ice-cube form) in the smoothies?

    I’ll begin experimenting at home…

    • Hi, Christine,

      For leafy greens:
      – kale lasts quite a while, I just have it in the fridge (but I imagine it would freeze just fine, for smoothies or soups)
      – parsley lasts almost as long; if I expect to not use it quickly enough, parsley freezes really well without doing anything special (wash it, shake the water out, put it in the freezer in a plastic bag); frozen parsley is fine in smoothies, or in soups that you’ll be blending to make them smooth and creamy
      – spinach doesn’t last long at all, but I find that wrapping a paper towel around it (between the plastic bag and the spinach) can add several days
      – cilantro is the worst (I don’t use it in my smoothies, but my husband does; I use LOADS of it in my salads, though); the paper towel trick also helps a lot for cilantro

      fruit – you can freeze almost all of it – I freeze bananas constantly, so they’ll be ready for use in smoothies; apples can be peeled, sliced, and frozen, and be used in smoothies or for cooking; berries can be washed and frozen; peaches/nectarines can be sliced and frozen…

      That said – I use about 8 cups of spinach in smoothies for a day – that’s like half a pound. So I go through the 4 pound bag in a week. Then I buy kale for the next week. Or parsley. So, in general, I never buy more than I will finish in a week.

      • Thanks for this! I tried arugula in this morning’s 1st trial run– it was delicious! I’ll keep experimenting with other leafy greens.

        Have a great weekend!

        • Glad you like it! Next time, try kale and watermelon – it’s my favorite, this week anyway 😉

  13. We’ve been addicted to green smoothies – celery and blueberries (banana of course too) is our favorite. I find that you can “hide” a lot of stuff in a blueberry smoothie for children. We have blueberry smoothie, blueberry ice cream, blueberry popsicles. A bit of lemon makes it also a lot better I think.

    • Indeed – that’s one of the reasons I use mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries) in most of my smoothies – between the color and the flavor, my kids don’t notice all the kale/parsley/spinach, even if they DO know it’s there.

  14. These are great! I was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease and came across this and it has helped so much in my diet change which has been so drastic. Has anyone tried to implement any beans?

    • Hi, Ryan,

      That must be so difficult – being diagnosed with Celiac disease. At least now you can start eating appropriately and letting your body heal itself. Smoothies are certainly a great start. Beans, too – you may have noticed I’m a big fan of them – ethnic recipes are a great way to start.

      You may also want to look into going partially Raw. Raw Foodism is largely grain-free, so it’s a great match for Celiac disease.

  15. This looks like a great way to start the day! Have you heard of the green monster movement? It is a online website to promote the super-healthy green smoothie, check it out:

    Here is a great simple green smoothie (this one is definitely green!)

    Virgin Green Monster

    2 cups organic spinach
    1-1.25 cups milk (your choice of cow’s milk, soy, hemp, almond, rice, etc)
    1 tablespoon flax (optional)
    1 banana


    Place the ingredients into the blender in the following order: 1) Flax, 2) spinach, 3) banana, 4) milk.

    Source: Green Monster Movement

    • In fact, I HAVE heard of the Green Monster Movement – I was at the site last week.

      Thanks for the recipe – it looks a lot like mine, only minus the berries. Remember if you’re using whole flax seed to grind it in advance (unless you’ve got a vitamix, or some equivalent uber-blender). And using frozen bananas (instead of fresh) makes the smoothie a lot thicker and creamier.

  16. Great recipe and awesome blog!
    I’ve been making green smoothies for a few years now but haven’t used much beyond just fruits and greens. Love the addition of almonds and flax seeds.

    • Glad you like it! I’m a self-confessed green smoothie fanatic, so I’m always eager to tell people about them 🙂

      Actually, I was pretty impressed yesterday when a friend told me she sends her 1 year-old daughter to daycare with a green smoothie for breakfast every day – baby loves them, caregivers are amazed. Wish I’d known about them when my kids were little.

  17. My mom introduced me to Green Smoothies. She bought a high tech blender and I was a little weary to try it. I saw what she put in it and I thought that it would be absolutely horrible.

    It wasn’t. I actually enjoyed it. Ever since I have been thinking about getting into it. She does co-ops where she gets a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and I need to find a co-op because it would be really expensive to buy all the fruits and vegetables from the grocery store.

    Thanks for this post.

  18. This sounds delicious! I am always looking for healthy breakfasts that actually carry me through the day til lunch time. With all the stuff packed into this I am sure I would not be tempted to snack.

    • What I’ve been doing the past year is dividing my smoothie into two jars, bringing them in to work, and then having the first jar at 9am, and the second jar at 11am. I generally don’t get hungry til 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and that’s when I have lunch. Which makes it much easier to get through the afternoon without snacking.

  19. Have read with interest all the above comments and was hoping someone could help me with a query.
    I have rinsed and dried my spinach and then packed it in 3-day portions into zip lock bags and frozen. Note, no blanching or cooking done prior. Then, when I make my smoothie I simply break off the desired amount I want from my frozen portion. It breaks off easily and blends up fine in the smoothie. Am I committing an awful nutritional no-no by freezing my leafy greens without blanching, and by using them frozen? I am really concerned about maintaining nutritional value and as I am the only one in my family that eats spinach it often sits in the fridge for up to 10 days.
    Would love to hear others opinions.

    • Hi, Lynne,

      No, I wouldn’t say you’re committing any sort of nutritional ‘sin’ by freezing your spinach. I’ve started buying 4kg bags of fresh (pre-washed) spinach, and tossing the whole thing in the deep-freeze. It freezes perfectly, and then I can use it over the next week or so in my smoothies, no problem. Before that, there was always the problem with spinach getting nasty and slimy if I didn’t use it quickly enough.

      • Excellent news…thanks for the reply! Have also started freezing silverbeet as well to tide me over until the vegie garden is ready for my maiden journey into growing leafy greens!!

        • Hi, Lynne,

          As a completely unsuccessful gardener, I swear by leafy greens. And herbs. I’ve had parsley (lots), kale, romaine, chard, basil, thyme, lavender, rosemary, sage, mint… in my small garden the past few years, and love how really low-effort it is. And love the feeling of walking into my back yard in the morning and harvesting the fresh greens I use in my morning smoothies.

          Hope it goes well for you – keep me up to date!

  20. I’m always curious if I take the right amount of fiber each day. Thanks for sharing the recipe. By just looking at the recipe or the ingredients, I can say that this is delicious. I’ll definitely try this. Nice post!

  21. The smoothies are awesome, but I don’t if I can be able to take them in the morning. Maybe in the afternoon may be the perfect time.

  22. I know this іf off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it

    • If you’re tech-savvy, setting up a blog of your own is very straightforward. If not, there are a lot of sites out there that provide free web hosting and a variety of off-the-rack blog ‘themes’ between which you can choose. Try Wix, or, or Yola (for example). good luck!

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