Power Fuel for Nurses
Nurses need nutrition that is quick, affordable, portable, and delicious. One item that fits the bill every time is a green smoothie.
Here are my tips on crafting the healthiest smoothies with two of my favorite recipes.
Tips on building your perfect green smoothie
Let’s start with the good news, there is no wrong way to build a perfect green smoothie! The point of creating green smoothies is two-fold: to have a great time experimenting with food and to feed your body with amazing, healing foods.
If you consume a green smoothie for breakfast even several days a week, you will crave less sweets during the day, you will start to receive the healing benefits by the alkalinizing effects of the greens in your body and blood, & your taste buds will begin to change. In other words, you will naturally crowd out the unhealthy foods over time and start to prefer healthier varieties.
The Standard American Diet full of fat, salt, and sugar is very acidic and promotes disease. A diet full of greens on the other hand, is more alkaline, which helps reduce inflammation and is very healing.
Prep: You always want to buy fresh and organic foods for your smoothies if you can. Check out www.EWG.org (Environmental Working Group). If you have not heard of this group, they are a watchdog for consumers. They cover everything from beauty and skin products to food. Here you will find the “dirty dozen” and “fresh fifteen”. These are the top twelve and fifteen foods that you should always buy organic to avoid ingesting pesticides and chemicals that are unsafe. I always recommend buying your food locally, when possible.
A lot of stores sell organic fruit in bulk in the freezer section of the store. When ingesting green smoothies, it is best to rotate your greens. For example, have spinach for a week and then switch it up the following week with something different, like kale. I buy my greens in bulk and divide them up into gallon size ziplock bags and store in the freezer. If you want to save even more time, plan a few days worth of smoothies and place all of the ingredients in a ziplock and store it in the freezer until you are ready to make it. Toss it in the blender and voila you are done.
Another tip, I never throw brown bananas away. I stick them in the freezer and pop them in the microwave for 45 seconds to get them soft enough to cut the peel and pop them in the smoothie. Supposedly, brown spots on a banana represent, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) which is supposed to be a great cancer fighting ingredient!! I like my smoothies to be cold.
I use ice and/or use all fruit that is frozen to make it colder. To make smoothies creamy, use Almond Milk instead of water and include bananas and nuts or peanut butter. Smoothies are meant to be consumed when fresh, but may be stored for several hours in the fridge if necessary.
For some reason, I prefer to drink smoothies with a straw. I think it’s just more fun!
Setting up for success: Start out in the beginning with mild greens, such as spinach until you get used to the flavor and texture. Kale has more of a bitter taste and can take warming up to. Use fruit to sweeten your smoothie. As you get used to the flavor start adding more greens and less fruit!
Equipment: Any blender will do. The Magic Bullet is a great device that you can get for $100 at Target that is quick and easy for traveling and storing smoothies. I started with a Kitchen Aid blender, then moved on to the Magic Bullet, and now I have a Vitamix. The Vitamix is pretty expensive, but quite powerful and quick for building smoothies.
Juice vs. Smoothies: What’s the difference between juicing and green smoothies? Juicing is done with a juicer machine that removes the pulp (fiber) from the fruits and vegetables leaving you with only juice. Smoothies contain both the fiber and juice so there is no waste and you get the benefit of both juice and fiber. Juicing is commonly used for detoxing. Always check with your health care provider before trying a detox. I do like juice once in a while, but I don’t like throwing away food, so if I am going to juice, I try and save the pulp for adding to soups.
Washing your ingredients: Take a large bowl of cold water and let your ingredients soak for a few minutes to remove the residue and dirt.
Things to consider when building your smoothie. Choose any one item from each category below and simply let your creativity guide you. Over time, you will discover what combinations you love. The sky is the limit here to what you can create. Get your kids involved. They love to create in the kitchen.
Always start with a liquid base and build up from there.
Base Water, Almond Milk, Rice Milk, Coconut Milk, Coconut Water
Greens Spinach, Romaine, Red Chard, Rainbow Chard, Watercress, Kale, Red Kale, Dino Kale, Baby Kale, Dandelion Greens, Greens from Beets, Cilantro, Parsley
Fruit Peeled apples (green have the lowest sugar content), Bananas, Berries (straw/blue/black/raspberries), Pineapple, Watermelon, Cherries, Grapes, Fig
Veggies Beets, Carrots, Broccoli, Cucumbers, Celery
Protein/Fat Nuts (Walnuts, Almonds, Cashews) always use raw nuts and soak them for at least 4 hours prior to putting them in your blender. This helps your body absorb more of the nutrients, but not mandatory if you don’t have time. Peanut Butter (natural variety with less processed ingredients and lower sugar content). Almond Butter, Coconut Oil (organic), Avocado, Dairy options: (Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Kefir), Protein powder is ok, but fresh whole food is better if you have it!
Power options Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, Maca Powder, Goji Berries, Organic Vanilla Extract, Coconut Flakes, Fresh Ginger Root, Organic Cacao (code for chocolate), Cinnamon, Tahini, Lemon, Lime
To get started, try my two favorite recipes here. Fill the blender with the following ingredients and mix away. Add ice for a cold smoothie.
1 cup Water
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Maca Powder
1/2 cup Frozen Pineapple
1 cup Spinach or Baby Kale
1/2 Peeled Apple
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Coconut Flakes
1 cup Almond Milk
1 frozen Banana
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
1 Cup Baby Kale
1/2 Cup Frozen Strawberries
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Maca Powder
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I hope this has inspired you to whip out the old blender and have some FUN.
Please share your experience with green smoothies. Love them? Hate them? What are your favorite “go to” smoothies?