Adding citrus to your green smoothie


You sure can tell when spring is here—  Allergies. Colds. Diet ads promising to get you in shape for bikini season. Not our favorite things, for sure. Then there’s the farmer’s market, the local garden center opening their outdoor section and the birds chirping by your window. Now that’s what we LOVE about spring!

Citrus fruits are filled with vitamin C, fiber, and a fresh taste. If want to truly capture all the benefits that citrus fruits can provide then try blending them whole with your green smoothies (just make sure they are organic if you do the peel and all).

  • Vitamin C is good for beating the common cold and for bolstering your immune system.
  • Fiber slows digesting, which means it is good for weight control by keeping you full and sustains blood sugar levels more evenly for those that struggle to fight diabetes.
  • The fleshy parts of citrus fruits is where you find the fiber, which is one of the biggest reasons to blend them whole instead of using fruit juice.

The fresh and delightful taste of these citrus fruits will make this challenge a breeze, so we encourage you to try as many different kinds as you can. To help you do this we have made a list of our favorite citrus fruits, their benefits, and some “best practices” to help you blend away.


Health benefits of citrus:

lemon green smoothieLemon

When life gives you lemons, make green smoothies! Their tart flavor comes from citric acid which is a contributing factor in causing less kidney stones. Lemons are also a natural diuretic helping the body to flush fluids regularly. Don’t be afraid to add a whole lemon to your smoothie–especially with sweet berries and fruits–for all the nutrients and natural flavors.

clementines green smoothieClementines

Ever thought of involving your kids in making green smoothies? Try using clementines! They are easy to peel, seedless, and have a sweet taste. They also contain fiber, potassium, and calcium for healthy bone growth and formation. Kids love making new concoctions of flavors, especially when they get to hit the button that says, “Blend.”


If you are looking to make a change from constantly eating fast food, then look no further than the orange. To go along with Vitamin C and fiber that come in all citrus fruits, they are low in calories, sodium free, and filled with potassium. This means that they keep you full, help to maintain and lose weight, and support a healthy blood pressure. Their nutrients and zesty taste make them a great partner for those raw leafy greens in your everyday smoothie.

bloodorangeBlood orange
Blood oranges are almost nutritionally identical to oranges, but vary in their color and taste. Their pulp is deeper red than an orange, and they contain a taste that is more similar to raspberries. One nutritional difference to highlight is that blood oranges contain a healthy amount of folate–Vitamin B9–which is essential to the early development of the fetus in pregnant women. For this reason we recommend nursing mothers to use blood oranges regularly in green smoothies.

lime green smoothie

The acids found in a lime are are a boost to skin and stomach health. These potent acids exfoliate skin, which help to shed dead skin cells from our body. Skin exfoliation is helpful during winter months when dry skin and dandruff seem unbeatable. Limes’ potent acids also fight cholera, which is an intestinal infection caused by eating contaminated foods. Throw a lime in with a cilantro-based smoothie for a pleasant surprise!

grapefruit green smoothieGrapefruit

Carotenoids, limonoids, pectin fiber. These are the all-star nutrients for grapefruits. Carotenoids are powerful with preventing disease and cancers. Limonoids turn toxins into material that can be easily flushed. Pectin fiber makes your heart happy by lowering cholesterol and risk of heart disease. A consistent diet of grapefruit will give your body a diverse amount of health benefits, not to mention a delicious, tangy flavor.

tangelos green smoothiesTangelos
Tangelos carry similar benefits to many other citrus fruits, but some of their greatest may be in the bottom of your trash can. Though tangelo peels may carry a punch of tartness, they also carry coumarins and terpenes. These are phytochemicals that are known for their enhanced ability to fight cancer. Be careful! Not every blender is able to chew up citrus peels. Try cutting the peels up before throwing them into your pitcher to keep your motor and blades running smoothly.

tangerines green smoothieTangerine
The tangerine is another example of a citrus fruit with a power-packed peel. The fruit inside is low in fat and calories, cholesterol-free, sodium-free, and carries many cancer and disease fighting antioxidants. But the peel is especially effective with lowering bad cholesterol, while maintaining good cholesterol, which is an important distinction! Tangerines have a sought after sweet and tart taste, which makes them a great choice for your next green smoothie.

Sweet tip: If you want to truly capture all the benefits that citrus fruits can provide, then try blending them whole with your green smoothies (just make sure they are organic if you use the peel and all. Don’t go crazy on the peels because the taste is strong (Jen figured that out the hard way).

All these citrus fruits carry a healthy dose of vitamin C and fiber, but many of them have their own, special traits that make them unique. We encourage you to try as many different varieties as you can! Look for which citrus fruits will give you the benefits that you need, and then experiment with different combinations to find something that you love. Giving your body the nutrients it needs is simple, fun, and tastes good, too! Cheers!

59 Responses to “Adding citrus to your green smoothie”

  1. Amy 2.21.2015 at 5:40 pm #

    Blood oranges: If folate is essential for early fetus development, shouldn’t you be specifically recommending that pregnant women eat them, not nursing mothers? By the time a mother is nursing, her baby is pretty far past the early fetus development stage. Am I missing something here?

  2. Bill 2.13.2015 at 10:45 am #

    Seems like a lot of recipes call for banana and pineapple, neither of which I like. What are some good substitutes for these?

    • Felicity 2.18.2015 at 8:21 pm #

      Hi Bill,

      I found this article helpful for making non banana smoothies: (because the creamy texture of bananas is really helpful in smoothies so replacing that rather than just substituting banana for say apple is handy)

      As for replacing fruit, you can really add any fruit – just experiment and see what you like best!


    • SGS Rawkstar Jessie 2.19.2015 at 6:49 am #

      Hey Bill!

      Thanks for reaching out. Some great banana substitutes are:

      Chia seeds
      Fresh dates
      Nut Butters
      Unsweetened applesauce
      Avocado (won’t add the sweetness, but will definitely add the thick
      and creamy texture)

      Some substitutions for pineapple would be peaches, mangos, oranges or pears. :)

  3. Susan 1.29.2015 at 12:04 am #

    Help! I put too much citrus peel in my green juice and my mouth is sort of numb. I did add sugar but it became too sweet. What should I do?

    • SGS Rawkstar Jessie 1.29.2015 at 7:44 am #

      Hey Susan.

      I would suggest reaching out to your health care provider, since we are not doctors or nutritionist. Sounds like you might of have a food allergy. Was your peel organic?

  4. Joyce 12.3.2014 at 9:25 pm #

    What do you think make with apples.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jessie 12.4.2014 at 10:39 am #

      Go for it! :)

  5. Judith 11.9.2014 at 2:41 pm #

    Can I replace citrus with pineapple – it’s in season here at the moment.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jessie 11.10.2014 at 5:40 am #

      Yes, of course. Make the smoothie recipe work for you and your seasonal availability. :)

  6. Barb 10.11.2014 at 6:09 am #

    Can I use kale in a recipe that calls for spinach and spinach for kale?

  7. Barbie 9.6.2014 at 3:02 pm #

    The one time I tried blending oranges I found the result too pulpy. You’ve been great at helping me avoid the “grass clipping” effect of blending greens by blending them first with the base liquid. Is there a similar tip to blending citrus in order to have a smoother smoothie?

    • SGS Rawkstar Jessie 9.8.2014 at 6:37 am #

      Hey Barbie,

      Great Question, try blending your liquid and citrus first, then add the remaining items. :)

    • Lori 10.1.2014 at 9:32 am #

      Get a more powerful blender. My Vitamix can blend anything super smooth. I love it!

      • SGS Rawkstar Jessie 10.2.2014 at 10:19 am #

        We love Vitamix too! A great choice in blenders!

  8. April 7.30.2014 at 8:41 am #

    I’m confused. You say to blend the whole fruit but then say don’t go crazy on the peels because of the strong flavor. I read through the comments, and I’m guessing you mean to start with only a bit of the peel then, slowly work your way up to using the entire peel as you adjust to the taste. Is that correct? Thanks for all the awesome tips! I love your site!

    • SGS Rawkstar Jessie 7.31.2014 at 12:19 pm #

      Yes, April. You can use a little at a time and add more as desired. :)

  9. Megan 7.27.2014 at 10:00 am #

    I have heard that consuming the pits/seeds of citrus is not good for some reason. Are you blending the whole fruits WITH the pits/seeds? Or removing those first?

    • SGS Rawkstar Jessie 7.27.2014 at 9:23 pm #

      Hey Megan!

      Yes, we blend the whole thing. If you want to truly capture all the benefits that citrus fruits can provide, then try blending them whole with your green smoothies (just make sure they are organic if you use the peel and all. Don’t go crazy on the peels because the taste is strong.

      Hope that helps.

  10. Annarita 6.19.2014 at 10:16 pm #

    I was wondering if there is a smoothie with the fruits and vegetables that contain the highest lutein?

    • SGS Rawkstar Jessie 7.27.2014 at 9:20 pm #

      Kale & spinach are high in lutein, Annarita. :)

      Hope that helps.

  11. Christine Dolan 5.30.2014 at 12:00 am #

    As I have candida can I still include lemons and limes?
    Thx for ur great website.

    • SGS Rawkstar Dan 5.30.2014 at 7:10 am #

      Hi Christine,
      Do you usually try to stay away from lemons and limes with candida? If so, then we’d recommend not using them in green smoothies, too.

  12. Christine Dolan 5.29.2014 at 11:59 pm #

    As I have candida albicans I should avoid all fruits ! Is it ok for lemons and limes in the green smoothies? Thx for ur wonderful website.

  13. Amanda 5.7.2014 at 5:51 am #

    Hi. 5 weeks ago I gave up smoking and began a massive change in my diet (lots of raw greens, Greek yoghurt, chia seeds, LSA and berries), but this morning I came across your site. This afternoon I bought a blender, kale, bananas, avocado and coconut oil and more chia seeds. Thank you for such a great site. I will be back here a few times a week I imagine to check out all the different recipes. “I do it for ME, because it can only benefit ME.”

    • SGS Rawkstar Dan 5.7.2014 at 8:29 am #

      Awesome to hear, Amanda! Keep up the healthy eating lifestyle and let us know if you have any questions.

  14. Jen 5.5.2014 at 2:12 pm #

    when a smoothie calls for 1 lime do you just carve out the “meat” and juices or do you cut up the whole thing and throw skin and all in?

    • SGS Rawkstar Dan 5.6.2014 at 8:00 am #

      Hi Jen!
      We usually don’t through lime skin in. It’s pretty bitter! Sometimes we’ll include the skin of oranges, but never really for limes.

  15. Jess R 4.14.2014 at 2:09 pm #

    Hi J & J!
    I just showed my husband your website/Instagram/& Pinterest (all of which I have been obsessing over for months now.. Yet haven’t tried.) I told him I really wanted to make this change and he was all about it! We went out and bought a Ninja blender (one day we’ll get that coveted vitamix!) and lots f greens and fruits! We are SO excited to go green!
    Any suggestions for us newbies? I’m worried we may scare ourselves away with overpowering drinks!?

  16. tara clayborne 4.1.2014 at 11:49 am #

    This is day 1 of my second challenge, but have been enjoying green smoothies for over 3 months now; i love them(even have my coworkers hooked too). The only thing i couldn’t do was the greens powder, the taste was horrible. I noticed on this new list, the orange julious doesn’t have vanilla added……

    • SGS Rawkstar Dan 4.2.2014 at 10:15 am #

      Hi Tara!
      Yep, it’s a slightly different recipe. Do whichever one you prefer!

  17. Don West 3.27.2014 at 4:31 pm #

    Well, this will be my first week making and consuming smoothies, but to be honest with you, I am looking forward to it! I think i am in need of a gentle nudge in the old back side to get going on this.This is going to be quite an adventure!

    • SGS Rawkstar Dan 3.28.2014 at 11:42 am #

      Hope you enjoy it, Don! We’re here to help in any way we can.

  18. Chante 1.4.2014 at 11:42 am #

    I’m allergic to orange juice and oranges what can I use to substitute those things in the recipe???

    • Jadah and Jen 1.6.2014 at 11:12 am #

      What about other citrus fruits? Grapefruit would be a good option :-) If not, then anything else that is somewhat sweet and tangy would work as a replacement!

  19. Jennifer 12.8.2013 at 8:07 pm #

    Hi I was looking for the lemon ging honey recipe. Thank you!!!

  20. Sonja 11.30.2013 at 5:27 am #

    I’ve heard you should only have two fruits a day. It was about fructose intake that is like a sugar that is harder to burn. Is this true ? I’m concerned I’ll add too much or too little fruit to my smoothies.

    • Jadah and Jen 12.2.2013 at 11:49 am #

      Hi Sonja!
      It is different for every person :-) We think an abundance of fruit in your diet is way better than an abundance of meats, grains, processed foods, etc. Hope this helps!

  21. Rose Maxey 10.3.2013 at 6:57 am #

    My 3rd day of going green, I have been enjoying them so for
    kale,1 banana, 1/2 cup mango, & 1/4 cup pineapple… is that okay I am not sure if I am preparing them correctly…. will this give you energy and help with weigh loss

  22. Olivia 9.11.2013 at 9:36 am #

    I’m really excited about making green smoothies this fall, and incorporating ingredients to help with skin health especially. Great article, but one question though-it it ok to freeze the citrus fruits ahead of time??

    • Jadah and Jen 9.12.2013 at 9:33 am #

      We have found that it’s not a good idea to freeze citrus. If you freeze an orange or lemon, you can’t let it thaw and then expect it to be as good as new. It would be something you have to toss right in the blender. So, for us, we don’t freeze our citrus because we like how fresh and bright the flavors taste when they are raw. :)

  23. Hakeem 8.18.2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Culinary Lavendar is traditionally added with citrus in cooking recipes and can add a distinctive dash of variety to your smoothie as well.

    Thanks your blog is very informative. I’m new to all of this and love your site.

    Thanks again.

  24. Kerrie halliwell 6.21.2013 at 4:51 pm #

    I wasn’t sure if it was ok to use citrus fruits in my green smoothies but after reading all this info I now know its ok! I’m only new at making green smoothies and was a little worried about the flavor of them but I seem to have found a perfect mix that I make regularly now…
    1 banana
    1 orange ( no peel)
    1 lemon (no peel)
    2cups spinach
    (I also sometimes add berries but it makes the smoothie brown so can be a little harder to get my head around drinking it) lol!
    This has the perfect sweetness for me and a perfect way to get myself used to eating greens!! :)
    Thanks for all the help in getting me into a healthy life!

  25. Lenia 4.26.2013 at 7:05 am #

    Hi, how can I get the challenge 4recipes e-mail?

  26. Mary 4.22.2013 at 5:36 am #

    I am having a hard time putting together smoothies. Some that i have tried to put together are gross! Especially with kale. Sometimes they taste just toooooo green! I gulp them down just because I don’t want to waste them. HELP!

    • Jadah and Jen 4.22.2013 at 9:48 pm #

      Hi Mary! If they taste too green then we would recommend just taking some of the green out. You still want some of those nutrients, though! You can even add a little extra of the fruit/veggie you most like in the smoothie to give it a stronger kick of flavor :-)

  27. Angela 4.20.2013 at 7:11 am #

    Looking forward to Challenge #4! Shopped everything except we couldn’t find Blood Oranges here in Texas. They’re not in seasonal here =( What would you recommend us to replace Blood Oranges for the first recipe – Kale Blood Orange Cooler? Thanks

    • Jadah and Jen 4.20.2013 at 8:00 pm #

      Hi Angela! What about a Kale Clementine Cooler? Clementines will have a similar sweet taste, which is something we love about blood oranges. Grapefruit could be another suggestion. Really any citrus fruit that you find to be sweet and tasty would be a great substitute :-)

  28. Lori 4.19.2013 at 7:36 am #

    My connection for week 4 shows error and I can’t pull up shopping list or recipes. can you send out the link again or tell me how to find please.

  29. Linda L. 4.19.2013 at 5:42 am #

    Many thanks for the wonderful information about citrus and getting them into our green smoothies!! The only questions I have are:

    First: It appears that when you say, “fleshy part” of the fruit, I’m assuming you are discussing the rind (the entire peel/outer coating that most people peel off an dispose of)? Is that correct?

    Second question: Would you recommend perhaps slowly introducing the peel into the diet, or can you just begin with the entire thing? I have tried a salad dressing with the entire rind of a lemon and it had an almost burning or foamy effect – and I could no longer eat that combination because it was so strong.

    Third question: Do you recommend certain combinations or amounts for a better taste or more powerful effect?

    • Jadah and Jen 4.19.2013 at 3:09 pm #

      Hi Linda! Great questions :-) Lets see if we can help

      First answer: The fleshy parts are all the inside parts that aren’t juice or seeds, not the peel or the skin just inside of the peel. When you squeeze the juice out of a citrus fruit you don’t get a lot of those fleshy, pulpy parts, which have a lot of nutrients.

      Second answer: We would DEFINITELY recommend a slow process of introducing peels. It can be a pretty drastic change if you put a bunch of peels in without ever eating them before :-)

      Third answer: Our best recommendations for citrus combinations are in our challenge #4 recipes. Did you get the email?

      Hope this helps!

  30. Nicole 4.19.2013 at 5:24 am #

    Wow! soo excited. not knowing what the next challenge woild be; I had a smoohtie this morning mixed with cilantro, lime and lemon and berries. Ohh what a tasty treat!

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