How to Make the Healthiest Green Smoothie


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Want to know how to make the healthiest green smoothie? You don’t even need a recipe, just grab a variety of greens, fruits and these superfood add-ins.

How to make the healthiest green smoothie (recipes + tips).

Are you a green smoothie lover like me? I mean, what’s not to love, right? They’re convenient, portable, easily digestible and nutrient-dense. A glass of green goodness. Which….is why I make them several times a week. 

These healthy little drinks can be a meal replacement, immunity booster or jolt of energy, depending on what you put in them. And trust me when I say, the ingredients and combos are endless.

I remember when I first started making green smoothies years ago. For me, it started as a post-workout breakfast (as I tend to workout super early). But I soon fell in love with the fact that I could throw virtually anything into my Vitamix blender. Leftover salad greens. Yep. Fresh herbs. Yep. Veggies that I don’t normally love to eat. Yep (because woohoo, you won’t taste it).

What’s more, if you opt for mix-ins and superfood options you can uplevel your green smoothie in no time. Brilliant, eh?

The key here is to not be afraid to experiment. There really isn’t a wrong way to make a green smoothie (unless of course you forget the greens!).

How to make the healthiest green smoothie (recipes + tips).

How to make the healthiest green smoothie (recipes + tips).

A few tips to make the healthiest green smoothie

1. Start with fresh, organic greens

You’re probably drinking a green smoothie for the surge of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, right? So it’s best to keep your greens as fresh, clean and nutrient-dense as possible. Hit up your farmer’s market for just picked produce or grab some organic greens from your grocery store. The key here is to steer clear of pesticide residues and wilty greens – which won’t pack the nutrient punch you’re looking for.

Dark leafy greens that work well in smoothies include kale, spinach, and chard. But you could switch that up with romaine, mustard greens, dandelion greens and celery as well. You don’t want to fall into a food rut, so make sure to alternate your greens.

2. Choose a healthy liquid base

You’re gonna be adding whole fruit to your smoothie, so it’s best to steer clear of fruit juice as the base. This will also help to limit the total amount of sugar in your smoothie. Good liquids include filtered water, coconut water and nut milks (like my fave cashew milk). Homemade nut milks are better than store bought as they won’t contain thickeners, emulsifiers, additives and other nasties. They’re also super easy to make, so give them a try!

3. Add a variety of fruit

If you’re new to the world of green smoothies, you can start with a higher ratio of fruit to help your palate get used to the flavor of greens. But over time, your goal should be to reduce the amount of fruit and increase the number of veggies. A good ratio for newbies is 2:1 – fruits to greens. This means for every one cup of greens, add two cups of fruit. But after a few weeks, work towards a 1:1 ratio….and eventually try for double the amount of greens to fruit. That’s how you’ll get the healthiest green smoothie possible. 

Some greens will make this easier than others. For instance, spinach is pretty mild so you’ll acclimate to less fruit faster. Kale on the other hand is quite strong and you may need more fruit to get used to the flavor.

Fresh fruit that you’ve frozen is always ideal. Adding ice to your smoothie will make it watery, but frozen fruit helps to keep it thick and yummy! So pick a variety of fruits – bananas, apples, strawberries, mangoes, etc – slice them, freeze them on a flat sheet, put them into ziploc bags and voila – fresh frozen fruit for your smoothie and already individually packed.

How to make the healthiest green smoothie (recipes + tips).

4. Don’t forget some healthy fats

I see many people forget this step, but it’s crucial! Healthy fats help your body absorb all the goodness from the greens, veggies and fruits. Without fats, you might absorb only a portion of the nutrients available. So don’t miss out!

Simply add a little fat with coconut oil, nuts and seeds. Flax seeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds are perfectly healthy options. But if you want your smoothie extra creamy and delish, toss in a 1/4 of an avocado. Adding healthy fats will ensure the highest absorption of fat soluble vitamins and nutrients, such as beta-carotene and lycopene, as well as vitamins A, D, E and K. Things your body needs!

5. Boost it with superfoods and mix-ins.

Based on the first four steps, you’ve got a rockin’ green smoothie. But if you want to uplevel it, toss in some superfoods and additional mix-ins. I personally love adding spices, like cinnamon, ginger and turmeric and superfoods like acai powder, maca powder, bee pollen and spirulina (though spirulina can be an acquired taste).

You could even throw in goji berries, dates and lucuma powder for some natural sweetness. After a workout, you might consider protein powder…and collagen powder (you’ve read my post on collagen powder, right?) is always a favorite for healthy joints, skin, hair and nails.

How to make the healthiest green smoothie (recipes + tips).

And since you might be less familiar with boosters, let’s review their benefits:

Goji Berries: known as an anti-aging fruit, they’re packed with antioxidants, vitamins A and C, amino acids, fiber, potassium, iron and zinc. Their high levels of carotenoids make them good for vision health. 

Dates: rich in dietary fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, manganese and copper. And just one or two will help with constipation and sweeten your smoothie. 

Lucuma Powder: a natural sweetener native to Central and South America, lucuma is packed with antioxidants, fiber, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It’s sweetness also tastes like a combination of maple and caramel (yum!). 

Acai Powder: acai berries are loaded with even more antioxidants than blueberries! They’re also rich in vitamin A, calcium and disease fighting phytochemicals.

Maca Powder: rich in amino acids, phytonutrients, fatty acids and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. Maca is also an adaptagen (similar to ginseng) and can provide adrenal and hormonal support.

Matcha Green Tea Powder: packed with antioxidants, fiber, chlorophyll, vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium. It’s benefits include cancer fighting, anti-aging, detoxifying and energy boosting.

Bee Pollen: rich in protein, free amino acids, B-complex vitamins and folic acid. It’s touted benefits include help with digestion, immune function, respiratory system, skin conditions and energy. But if you have a pollen allergy, do your homework before consuming.

Spirulina: a blue-green microalgae loaded with antioxidants, vitamin A, iron and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains the eight essential amino acids and is one of the most nutrient-dense foods.

How to make the healthiest green smoothie (recipes + tips).

Whey Protein: provides whey-based protein, essential amino acids and other nutrients, perfect for exercise recovery.

Plant-based Protein: if you’re dairy-free, plant based-proteins can provide the same benefits of whey protein

Collagen: a protein necessary for cell renewal and healthy tendons, ligaments, muscles and cartilage. Collagen can also strengthen blood vessels, heal your gut (which you know I’m all about!) and boost healthy skin, hair and nails.

Hemp Seeds: full of easily digested proteins, essential fats, antioxidants, amino acids, fiber, iron, zinc and vitamin E.

Chia Seeds: rich in antioxidants, fiber, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium. They’re also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Cacao Powder/Cacao Nibs: raw cacao is not the same as processed chocolate. Raw cacao is high in antioxidants, vitamin C, magnesium, fiber and essential fats.

You’re now set to enjoy the healthiest green smoothie! If you have a high-powered blender, like my fave Vitamix, you can dump all ingredients in at once. If you have a standard blender, add the liquids and fruit first. Blend until smooth, then add your greens and mix-ins.

And don’t forget to try new flavor combinations and superfoods you’ve never tried before. Who knows, spirulina might just become your new thing. Enjoy!

How to make the healthiest green smoothie (recipes + tips).

Give these green smoothies and juices a try: Best Green Smoothie Recipe, Green Juice and Post Workout Green Smoothie

These smoothies aren’t green, but they’re nutrient-packed and anti-inflammatory: Golden Beet, Carrot and Turmeric Smoothie, Pineapple Turmeric Smoothie, and Blueberry Smoothie

Or for something totally different, you might just love: Green Smoothie Pancakes with Macerated Blueberries

How do you make your healthiest green smoothie? Do you mix it up or have a tried and true flavor? Share in the comments below!

(Note: this post was originally published June 2015, but just updated to include new info and photos)

About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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  1. When I first saw green smoothie I thought oh no….. I was happily surprised on how good it was!! I had some left over, is it ok until the next morning in the fridge? Would it be adding 1 tsp or Tbsp of Collagen powder, Chia, Hemp and Flax seed?

    I have never had anything from your site I didn’t like and I just got my A3500, so excited to make more, thanks so much for all the guidance and recipes!!

    1. Happy you loved it! And yes, you can definitely enjoy it the next morning, though it may go a bit brown. Enjoy!

  2. Hi there. I am new to the smoothie world, and lets face it…new to eating healthy. I was wondering what your take is on washing/how to make sure my fruits and veggies are as clean from pesticides as I can make them. Thanks so much. I’ve used several of your recipes and have had much enjoyment in flavor and turnout. 

  3. I wish to add matcha powder or cacao nibs (or both) to my smoothie for an energy boost instead of coffee. How much should I add per cup?

    1. It’s up to you really, but maybe 1 tablespoon might be good to start off with. And then you can add from there if it’s not enough.

  4. How many grams of kale or spinach can I put in a smoothie daily? Too much cruciferous veg can be bad for the thyroid especially if you have it everyday, what would you say is a safe amount I can have everyday?

    1. Hi Ellen – You can head over to my Green Smoothie recipe I have on my website. Just use the search bar to look for it :)

  5. I just wanted to say that your site has kick started my weight loss because of the variety of foods.  I started using your recipes for green smoothies, lemon lentil soup, chia puddings ( my favorites) along with your food prep videos.  In about one year I lost 58 pounds!  And still losing at age 66!   Feeling great.  Thank you so much!5 stars

  6. I’m a busy executive with only a little time for breakfast in the mornings, so I developed a go-to smoothie to drink every day as part of my breakfast for the last few years… here’s the recipe below, and the best part is I figured out how to prep 16 at a time that only takes about 20-30 minutes on a weekend, and then freeze them in a quart bags. I pop one in the microwave each morning for about a minute on each side to thaw, then put it into the blender with water.

    Baby spinach – 2 cups
    Zucchini squash – 1/2 cup (keep stem)
    Green apple – 1/2 (keep stems and seeds)
    Banana – 1/2 peeled
    Strawberries – 1 cup
    Blueberries – 1/3 cup
    Raspberries – 1/3 cup
    Filtered water – 18 ounces

  7. Hi, can you make this ahead to have later on in the day (ie. make at bkfst to take for a work mid-afternoon boost)? Is it correct to assume the antioxidant count won’t be as high? 

    1. Sure, you could store it in the fridge for later. Just be aware that it will likely separate, so you’ll have to give it a shake again. And I don’t think there would be any major impact to the antioxidant level.

  8. Lisa, was there a video where you shared your favourite superfoods, like I remember you showed Collagen jar there

    1. Hi Yuliy – I have a post/video all about anti-inflammatory foods I eat every week. Is that what you mean? You can find that under my blog posts. But I didn’t show collagen on that one. I did show collagen on my Pantry Organization post/video though.

  9. Forgot to mention one ingredient in my smoothie recipe, the liquid! I use organic coconut milk, 1/2 to 1 c as needed.

  10. My favorite green smoothie – 1/2c full fat plain yogurt, 1T. MCT oil, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 2 handfuls kale or spinach, 3/4 C frozen mixed berries, 2T golden flax meal, and liquid stevia to taste. Blend in Vita Mix and slurp it up! All ingredients are orgaic, and. Since I eat keto, this is a good keto meal option. If you don’t do dairy, ok to leave out yogurt, less carbs also, I like the politics myself though. Enjoy!

  11. Do you every worry about consuming high oxalate foods. i.e. spinach, regularly? Especially if they are raw? I love green smoothies, but there seems to be so much conflicting information on how healthy they actually are. My guess is all in moderation. However, I’m a creature of habit and when I find something I like, I stick to it…like a green smoothie every morning :)

    1. I don’t as I haven’t found my body to have a problem processing oxalates. But everyone is different. :)

    1. You can certainly use it, I just mentioned that I no longer use it. :) More information is on my summer meal prep post.

      1. How much should I drink, if I am doing this for the first time?

      2. Hi Kathy- It really is up to you, as you can make a green smoothie many times throughout the week! But I might say a two times a week is good to start!

  12. This looks like the perfect healthy addition to my morning routine! Great for kicking off 2017 in a healthy and satisfying way!

  13. I need to get back to green smoothies again. I hope to do that this year and this post is just in time. Thanks this was so informative.

  14. Great summary! Question: how do you wash your produce before adding to smoothies? I’m always concerned about icky stuff lurking. Typically I bathe in a mixture of vinegar and water hoping the acidity will remove any bad guys lingering on the produce.

    1. Hi Tara! Great question! A thorough wash and soak with plain, filtered water is always best. But yes, for extra precaution you can wash and soak produce in a 1:3 vinegar to water solution, to get rid of pesticides, residues and other nasties. For store bought and packaged organic greens (which are usually double and triple washed), there’s no need to wash again. Just toss them in your blender and enjoy! x