For time memorial, society has consistently stressed the importance of eating our veggies. Vegetables are often viewed as a necessary obligation. A chore. We eat them because we feel we should, not because we enjoy them.
According to the USDA, adults should aim to eat two to three cups of vegetables each day. Despite the fact that vegetables are packed with essential nutrients that can lead to a healthier, more fulfilling life, only 10% of adults actually meet the recommended amount.
When we were children, adults would often sneak vegetables into our meals as a way to trick us into eating more greens (anyone else get minced broccoli in their scrambled eggs as a kid?). Based on the dismal 10% statistic above, perhaps those tricks should carry on into adulthood.
One of the best ways to cram in that daily dose of vegetables is by blending them into smoothies. It is a great way to increase your veggie uptake, without having to force yourself into chewing down fibrous greens you don’t enjoy. If made correctly, a veggie smoothie can be a delicious and nutrient-dense option. The key is picking a complementary combination of fruits and vegetables, so your smoothie actually tastes good.
While the market for vegetables seem endless, there are certainly some that work and taste better in smoothies than others. We’ve rounded up a list of the best vegetables for smoothies below. These key ingredients were selected, not just because they are packed with a host of health benefits, but they also taste fantastic when blended with the right pairing. Be sure to read to the end, where we share with you some killer smoothie recipes that you HAVE to try.
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Are Fruits Or Vegetables Better?
While fruits can certainly be a healthy option, they can also be quite high in sugars. And as we all know, too much sugar in your diet not only causes weight gain, but can also lead to skin problems, cause spikes and drops in energy, and increase your risk of both heart disease and cancer. Adding vegetables into your smoothie offers a low-sugar alternative, without compromising the flavor or texture of the beverage.
Smoothies can be a great meal alternative. However, if they are not filling enough, they may do more harm than good by adding unnecessary calories.
Vegetables are a great source of fiber and, you guessed it, fiber helps to keep you full. By adding vegetables into your smoothie, you are making it both more healthy and filling by providing your body with the necessary nutrients to stay full until your next meal.
According to Mayo Clinic, a high-fiber diet can also help normalize bowel movements, lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels, help you live longer and aid in weight loss.
But don’t discount fruits! For example, pineapple can help reduce inflammation thanks to the presence of bromaline in them. And plantains are a great source of potassium (fun fact: our tropical friends have almost twice as much potassium as bananas).
What Are The Best Smoothie Veggies?
With no further ado, below are the top bang-for-your-buck vegetables to help you create incredibly nutrient-packed elixirs.
One of our personal favorites, spinach is a leafy green that you should aim to eat as often as possible. Popeye had it right all along, spinach is a muscle-building veggie that contains plant-based omega 3s and folate. It can also help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis.
Spinach is a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, iron and calcium. Additionally, it contains zeaxanthin and lutein, which helps maintain good eye health.
Some people dislike spinach due to its bitter taste. LIVESTRONG suggests combining spinach with sweeter fruits, such as mangos, oranges, blueberries and apples. This will help override the bitterness and create a delicious, nutritious smoothie.
Spinach is also low in calories. It is an excellent way to make your smoothie more filling and hearty without the extra points.
Dark leafy greens are essential to a healthy diet. Adding kale to your smoothie is a great way to get in your dark leafy greens. In fact, kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, due to its low-calorie content and numerous nutrients.
How good is it? Well, one cup of kale contains:
- 684% of the Daily Value (DV) of Vitamin K
- 206% of the DV of Vitamin A
- 134% of the DV of Vitamin C
- 26% of the DV of Manganese
- 10% of the DV of Copper
- 9% of the DV of Vitamin B6
- 9% of the DV of Calcium
- 9% of the DV of Potassium
- 6% of the DV of Magnesium
- 3% or more of the DV for Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Iron and Phosphorus
Yeah. It’s THAT good.
Kale is also extremely high in fiber. Medical News Today suggests that the fiber and antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid, found in kale, may help protect against diabetes. For those with diabetes, kale may help lower blood glucose levels.
Similar to spinach, kale has an acquired taste that may not appeal to everyone. By combining it with sweeter fruits, you can help cut down the strong taste of kale in your smoothie.
Looking to switch up your daily smoothie? Adding carrots will certainly do just that. Beyond the numerous health benefits of carrots, they also contain vitamins and minerals that can help improve your skin.
Specifically, those vitamins and minerals can help create glowing skin, prevent wrinkles, treat blemishes, help nourish dry skin, reduce oiliness and protect your skin from the sun. Carrots also can help create, strong healthy hair.
Plus, adding carrots to your smoothie makes it a beautiful and inviting orange color. Added bonus!
There is no denying that the health food industry has faced a bit of a celery craze lately. Many people swear by the health benefits of celery juice. And rightly so.
Celery can help with digestion, lower inflammation, reduce blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer and studies show it may even help prevent vision loss from aging.
It’s also extremely hydrating. Celery largely consists of water, which can only help you reach your daily hydration goals. There are also several additional benefits that come with it; celery is a natural diuretic so it can help relieve bloating, it is filled with antioxidants that can help you better fight illness, and it’s high in magnesium, which helps with muscle health, digestion and sleep.
Celery is also extremely low in calories and sugar. Unlike spinach and kale, celery has a more neutral taste. Therefore, combining it with fruits is a great way to create a flavorful and nutritious beverage.
And if you’re someone looking to juice your celery in batches ahead of time, we got some tips and advice you’ll definitely want to check out over here.
Beets have several healthy benefits, including improved blood pressure, decreased heart disease risk, better brain function and improved stamina and physical performance. They’re also a great source of antioxidants that can help fight inflammation-related chronic diseases.
We especially like beets for their aid in detoxifying the liver. Beets contain iron, calcium, betaine, vitamin B and antioxidants which can improve liver function. As a result, you could face improved energy, a boost in your immune system, metabolic regulation and increased focus and mood. Make it a part of your post-drinking recovery regiment and your body will thank you!
Beets are a great addition to smoothies because they are naturally sweet. Therefore, you can make a healthy, sweet-tasting smoothie that is low in sugar!
While avocados are technically a fruit, I thought they should be included as they don’t typically come to mind when making smoothies. However, this unique ingredient has numerous health benefits. Also, if you like creamier smoothies, avocados are excellent emulsifiers and make for a rich, buttery addition to your beverage. Speaking of which, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our post on how to maximize the creamy, thickness of your smoothies.
Avocados are a great source of fiber and monounsaturated fats. The Food and Nutrition Board Institute of Medicine, women recommends women should be consuming a minimum of 21 grams of fiber daily. One avocado offers two-thirds of the daily requirement.
Healthy fats is a phrase many of you have probably heard several times. Avocados are filled with healthy fats, called monounsaturated fat. A better understanding of these fats has demonstrated that they can actually help with weight loss (as long as you don’t add extra calories to your diet).
Best Recipes for Veggie Smoothies
Below is a list of our favorite, delicious smoothie recipes that utilize the ingredients we covered in this article. Not only are these smoothies packed with flavor, but they’ve all been designed to give you that energy boost your body needs to seize the day. For smoothie recipes that don’t use dairy, be sure to check out our article on milk-free smoothie alternatives.
Green Machine Smoothie
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of kale (or spinach)
- ½ celery stalk (diced)
- 1 green apple (cored and diced)
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2-3 ice cubes
All You Can Beet Smoothie
- 1 cup of orange juice
- 1 cup of blueberries
- ½ cup of beets (diced)
- ¼ cup of yogurt
- 2-3 ice cubes
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- ½ cup of pineapple (fresh or frozen)
- Half an avocado (diced)
- 2-3 ice cubes
- Optional: Add honey or agave syrup to taste
- Optional: Omit the ice if using frozen pineapple
Carrot Ginger Smoothie
- 1 cup of carrots (diced)
- ½ cup of water
- 1 cup of almond milk
- 1 banana
- ½ cup of pineapple (diced)
- ½ tbsp ginger
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2-3 ice cubes (omit if using frozen pineapples)
Frequently Asked Questions
As a general rule of thumb, dark leafy greens are king of the hill when it comes to the healthiest of veggies. With the abundance of vitamins and nutrients that they pack, spinach and kale are at the top of our list when it comes to the best vegetables for smoothies.
Of course! It’s an excellent way to reach your suggested daily intake level. It’s helpful to use a high-performance blender, and even then, be sure to chop the vegetables into small pieces prior to blending.
Absolutely. Vegetables that are frozen shortly after they are picked or purchased stay fresher than vegetables that remain sitting in the fridge.
Freezing your vegetables for smoothies is also a way to cut back on waste as the vegetables will last much longer. If you use frozen vegetables, you could also omit the use of ice cubes!
The healthiness of your smoothie completely depends on what you put in it. There are plenty of ways to create nutritious, balanced smoothies. However, as mentioned in this article, smoothies can also be high in sugar, so it is important to keep that in mind when choosing your ingredients.
Smoothies can be an adequate meal replacement. However, in order to ensure that it is a healthy replacement, you must go beyond just blending up some fruit and vegetables. As Time reports: “a well-rounded smoothie usually has 1 to 2 tablespoons of fat, 1 cup of fruit, a handful or 2 of greens and 1 cup of protein.”
TIP: To make your smoothies into a full meal, add protein powder and/or some sort of nut butter, such as almond butter.
Again, this depends on the ingredients you put into your smoothie. If you are diabetic, it is important to limit sugar use. Diabetics can make healthy smoothies by including healthy fats (such as almond butter, avocado or chia seeds), protein (such as protein powder, Greek yogurt or nuts), carbohydrates (found in fruits and vegetables) and low glycemic index fruits and vegetables.
In order to maintain a healthy life, we need to be more mindful of what we put into our bodies. Next time you grab your blender to make your typical smoothie, shake it up by adding in some veggies. Not only will that help you hit your daily hydration and produce goals, they are extremely healthy for you with several wide-ranging benefits. And when you blitz that smoothie, make sure to include at least one of the key ingredients covered in this post, as they are amongst the best vegetables for smoothies you could hope for.
Veggie-based smoothies ensure that you get an abundance of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Unlike juicing, where you only extract the fluid out of the plants, smoothies contain the whole vegetable. “Whatever you put into your blender, you get out!”