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I’m Jen Hansard, mom of two, ultra runner and lover of green smoothies, coffee & tacos. I took my family's health into my own hands while broke and without health insurance...and have helped 1 million+ other families along the way.

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How to make healthy smoothies

I know how overwhelming it can be when getting started with smoothies. It’s totally normal and I promise it’s actually really really simple! Here’s answers to common questions and tips on how to make healthy smoothies (that taste great too!):

What type of blender do you use?

I believe that any blender will work when making a green smoothie. So start with what you have and work your way up when the time is right. When I first started blending green smoothies, I used a Waring blender that I got for my wedding. It was a $70 blender that worked okay. It turned my produce into a smoothie, yet it did leave chunks of spinach in my smoothie and it was very loud. Yet it got me started and I made my daily green smoothie with it for over a year. When it finally died and I went online and bought a refurbished Vitamix 5200 for $329. It came within a week and blends like a beast — no spinach leaf is left unblended when this bad boy is done. Best decision I ever made when it comes to green smoothies. I love my Vitamix so much!

Our other team members use a variety of other blenders. You can find our comprehensive Blender Guide here. Some us are Team Blendtec. Some of us are Team Kitchen Aid. Others are all about the Vitamix. (We just love our blenders!)

Blender healthy smoothies

Need a cheap blender?

We polled our Green Smoothie community and found some AWESOME affordable blenders that will help you if Vitamix and Blendtec are a tad pricey for you at the moment. Check it out: Best Blenders under $120.

How many servings do your recipes make?

Our smoothie recipes make about 4-5 cups (32oz – 40oz). Some of us drink at least 2 cups (16 oz) everyday in the morning as a breakfast meal replacement. When it comes to making a health green smoothies, it’s really important to make sure you’re consistent with it. I drink mine for lunch or sometimes as a mid-morning snack. Since green smoothies are full of fiber, they keep us full for awhile. If we need an afternoon pick-me-up, we have been known to make another green smoothie later in the day instead of drinking a caffeinated beverage.

 how to make healthy smoothies with raw, fresh ingredients like kale, cacao, berries and tomatoes

Do I have to follow the recipe exactly, or can I switch out an ingredient or two?

Of course you can change up the recipes! All of our recipes are meant to inspire you to eat and live healthy, not to burden you with fruits/veggies that you can’t get your hands on, you don’t like, or are allergic to. Some recipes are made for specific purposes (i.e. detoxifying, immunity boosting, etc.) and need more specific replacements, but most are made to simply taste great and give your body access to fresh and raw ingredients. If there are adjustments that would make our recipe work better for you, then go for it!

Can I store my smoothie in the fridge?

Some people say you have to drink it “right away” to get the optimal nutrients from each blend. But if left in the fridge overnight for one to three days, the taste and satisfaction is still there. You also may want to add a small amount of lemon juice to preserve and keep the smoothie blend as fresh as possible. Your body is still reaping the benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables even if it is not consumed right away. Here’s some tips on prepping green smoothies ahead of time.

chia seeds healthy smoothies

What are chia seeds and where can I get them?

We are obsessed with these tiny little crunchy seeds. We sprinkle them on top of smoothies, or put them inside our oatmeal with almond butter and almond milk. Many people ask what are the health benefits of chia seeds? Is there a difference between black chia seeds and white chia seeds? And where can I buy chia seeds? We have answered all your awesome questions right here: 6 Reasons Why We Love Chia Seeds.

Do you have a good recipe for weight loss?

If you want to burn fat, you want to include plant-based smoothie ingredients that have the following weight loss effects:

  • jump start your digestion
  • burn excess fat
  • reduce and expel bad cholesterol
  • provide energy for your cardiovascular system
  • detox and hydrate your body
  • promote healthy bowel movement
  • decrease your appetite for processed foods and sugars

The Kiwi Berry Punch is a low-calorie, nutrient-dense smoothie recipe that combine the best fruits and veggies for an optimal approach to healthy weight loss.

The best part about a healthy smoothie–  you can use it as a low-calorie meal replacement because they are full of fiber which keeps your body feeling fuller longer. And if you want to take your health to the next level, we recommend checking out our Fresh Start: A 21-Day Cleanse (click the link to learn more).

leafy greens healthy smoothies

Does adding leafy greens make the smoothie taste bitter or weird?

As long as you follow the 60/40 formula (60% fruits; 40% leafy greens) when trying to make a healthy smoothie, you should not be able to taste the green veggies. The fruits naturally mask the taste– and bananas are the perfect natural sweetener for any green smoothie packed with spinach, kale, or other leafy green. Here’s a list of 13 of our favorite leafy greens.

How to make healthy smoothies “smooth” without leafy chunks

If you have a high-speed blender, you will always have a perfectly smooth smoothie. But don’t let that stop you from making green smoothies if you have a regular blender. Healthy lifestyle choices can be made on any budget. My favorite tip to share about green smoothies is to blend your leafy greens and liquids first (water, almond or cashew milk, or coconut water) until you get a juice-like consistency. You should be able to achieve this texture in 30 to 60 seconds. Once you have blended all of the leafy greens, then you can add the remaining ingredients. Let me know if this works for you.

sweetener healthy smoothies

I’ve got a sweet tooth— can I add a sweetener to my green smoothie?

We find that using whole fruits as natural sweeteners is the best way to sweeten your green smoothies. If you like the taste of bananas, you can add an extra banana or two whenever your smoothie is not sweet enough. Other natural sweeteners are dates and figs, which provide nutrients and fiber as well as a super sweet taste to your smoothie recipe. Some other alternatives are 100% fresh squeezed fruit juices, raw honey and 100% maple syrup.

Although you may add these sugar substitutes to your recipes, you will find that we do not add any sugars or sweeteners to our smoothie recipes unless it is a natural whole fruit. And please stay away from “0 calorie” sweeteners, they are made of artificial ingredients like aspartame which is so toxic to your body.

This smoothie is perfect for your sweet tooth: Almond Butter and “Jelly”

How do I clean my blender?

The easiest and fastest way to clean your blender is to immediately give it a quick rinse with warm water after use (a tiny drop of soap is optional). If you are in a hurry, fill your blender with water, until you are ready to wash it. If you are in a super duper rush, and you let your blender sit with no water, fill your blender 3/4 full with warm water and soap and give it a nice scrub on the insides. Place it back on your blender stand and turn the blender on for 30 seconds— It’s like a mini-dishwasher. Here’s a video showing you how to clean your blender.

I’m on a tight budget— how can I get inexpensive produce?

If you are new to eating a lot of fruits and veggies, your grocery bill may be a little shocking with the extra fresh and frozen produce purchases. Over time, you will eliminate a lot of processed food items which will in turn bring your grocery bill back to normal. But here are a few quick tips to saving money on produce.

  • Make a shopping list: making a weekly meal planning list that covers what you will eat on a daily basis will help you only buy what you need. Make sure to include snacks in your meal plan and shopping list too.
  • Buy seasonal fruit and veggies: purchasing produce is in season is typically cheaper. And if you see a good deal on fresh fruits and veggies, purchase in bulk and freeze for future smoothies.
  • Buy out of season fruits frozen: Costco and Sam’s Club sell large bags of organic frozen fruit at good prices. If your freezer can accommodate bags in bulk, take advantage of making these purchases.
  • Buy from local fruit stands, farmer’s markets and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture): For the tastiest and most fresh organic produce, buy locally. Not only has the produce been grown and harvested close to home, but buying locally also helps our environment buy eliminating the time and resources needed to deliver. Visit, www.LocalHarvest.org to find your local farm, farmers markets, and other local food sources.
  • Follow the EWG’s Dirty Dozen: this list will help you know what is worth getting organic and what you can buy conventional.

“Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.” —Josh Billings

This 7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge is an expensive way to drink green smoothies for a whole week!

Smoothie Shop with Mason Jars

Where can I buy those mason jars you use?

We adore mason jars for our green smoothies, feel free to visit our shop for mason jars, cups, cool lids, and other smoothie essentials by clicking here.  And don’t forget you can always wash out a spaghetti sauce jar for green smoothie mason jars too— that’s my signature move.

I am allergic to bananas (or pineapple, or mango, or…) what can I substitute with?

Got an allergy or an aversion to some fruits? Swap it out with a fruit that you love and adore. Can’t eat bananas? Switch it with more mango, peach, papaya, pear or an apple to sweeten it up. Or an avocado to make it thick and creamy.

Can’t do pineapples? Double up another ingredient already in the smoothie. If something calls for 1 cup of something you just can’t eat, swap it with 1 cup of a fruit you can eat. Mixed berries and mixed fruit bags that are frozen are a great replacement ingredient.

The best part is playing mini-chef with your blender. Not one smoothie will please everybody, but we promise over the next 30 days you will find a recipe that is your go-to smoothie. It will be the one you make for your friends and family and make them a green smoothie lover too. So explore, experiment, and smile!

Check out these yummy banana-free green smoothie recipes!

Need more help to learn how to make healthy smoothies?

Leave a question below and we’ll help you out!

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21-day cleanse

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  1. Jadah S

    November 24th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Sandy, you’re so adorable! Feel free to ask any other questions you might have that we didn’t answer here.

  2. Hilary

    February 25th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Can you freeze the smoothies??? if you make them ahead of time??

  3. Jen H

    February 26th, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Hey Hilary. You could freeze them ahead of time and defrost throughout the day. I personally have never done this— I keep my extras in the fridge and drink later that day or sometimes the next morning if I still have some. Yet freezing in bulk shouldn’t be a problem— aside from a subtle change in consistency.

  4. raquel

    December 29th, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I m not able to download the 101 guide.

  5. Jadah S

    January 6th, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Were you able to download it yet? It’s a link you click (and not an attachment). If you still can’t download, please send me an email simplegreensmoothies@gmail.com

  6. Sue

    December 30th, 2012 at 10:21 am

    we have a family member with a tree nut allergy. Can I use rice milk instead of almond milk? If so, will there still be enough protein in the smoothie? Any suggestions you can provide to accommodate for this allergy would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  7. Jadah S

    January 6th, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Rice milk is a great alternative. You can find ways to supplement in other ways instead of adding tons of protein to your smoothies too.

  8. Jocelyn

    December 30th, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Signed up and ready to go!!! Just a few questions. If you use the two smoothies as meal replacements, do you usually have a snack in between? If so what kinds? Also what are your thoughts on Goji berries? Thanks!!!

  9. Jadah S

    January 6th, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Goji berries are great. A great topping for smoothies or as a snack. Yes, snack in between meals or whenever you’re hungry. This is not a fast, so please eat. I usually snack on lots of whole fruits (apples, pears, clementines, grapes), carrots, hardboiled eggs, nuts (almonds and pistachios).

  10. Nicole

    December 31st, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Hi! So I’m wondering, will you send us the 30 recipes ahead of time or ? I want to be organized and DO this, kwim? Thanks so much! Already downloaded my free e-bbok (thank you) and got an extra few off your website.

    Should I start with those?

    Nicole from Canada

  11. Jadah S

    January 6th, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Hi Nicole, are you getting all of the 30 day challenge details? Make sure to sign-up at http://www.simplegreensmoothies.com/30-day-challenge

  12. jessica

    January 1st, 2013 at 3:35 am

    hi there

    do we start this challenge with the smoothie begginers luck green smoothie everyday for the first week or for the 30 days can we mix the smoothies up to the recipes on here and instagram ??

    thanks xxx

  13. Jen H

    January 1st, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Hi Jessica— the Beginner’s Luck smoothie is to get you started. You can use that and any other one’s you personally prefer (online, instagram, etc)— it’s totally up to you. The Beginner’s Luck is just a nice transition into the world of green smoothies. 🙂 When we start Challenge #1 on Monday, we will give you specific recipes that go along with that week’s challenge. Hope that helps!

  14. Nicole

    January 1st, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Hi – I can’t find the beginner’s luck smoothie. Could you please copy and paste for me? Thanks!

  15. Laura

    January 2nd, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Do you have calorie and nutritional information for the smoothie recipes you post?

  16. Georgina Silva

    January 2nd, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Can i replace a meal (breakfast or dinner) with one smoothie? I want to loose weight. Thank you.

  17. Jen H

    January 2nd, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Absolutely! Green smoothies are a great meal replacement— full of nutrients and vitamins. I drink one for breakfast every day.

  18. Twee

    January 4th, 2013 at 4:17 am

    I love green smoothies but I want to gain weight or at least maintain my weight instead of losing weight. Any tips to bulk up the smoothies? I’ve added dates to my smoothies in the past but wanted to see if there’s anything else I should be doing. Thanks so much for this awesome site and challenge!!

  19. Jadah S

    January 6th, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Twee, you can look to add more high-calorie fruits in to your smoothies. Instead of replacing a green smoothie as a meal, add it on top of what you already eat. Good luck!

  20. Alisa

    January 6th, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I have been having a green smoothie for breakfast for a while now…but I usually put greek yogurt in mine. Is there a reason you don’t put dairy in your smoothies? Also, is it bad to have the same smoothie all the time or should we be mixing up our veggies/fruit constantly to ensure we get all the essentials? Thanks, love your site!

  21. Jadah S

    January 6th, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Alisa, many people add dairy/yogurt to their smoothies. Dairy doesn’t always digest well in people’s bodies, so we avoid it here, but don’t stop anyone else from doing so. We try to make our recipes focused on a plant-based diet avoiding animal products. I usually have the same smoothie everyday. I mix it up every now and then– especially since people want more recipes on the site 🙂 It’s important to rotate your greens. We will talk about that this upcoming week for our challenge. Are you signed up for it? Join us if you can. It’s free and easy to follow along: http://www.simplegreensmoothies.com/30-day-challenge

  22. Dee

    January 7th, 2013 at 12:10 am

    This is great information for me to start out. I have a health condition where I can’t eat spinach. Can you recommend other vegetables as a replacement where the recipe calls for spinach? And will this change the true taste or nutritional value of the altered smoothies? Thanks so much for the guidance!

  23. Jen H

    January 7th, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Hi Dee. Spinach is the most mild tasting green, and a great beginner leaf for smoothies. Yet we are BIG advocates of rotating greens so feel free to swap the spinach out. Some other leafy greens we use regularly are: kale, romaine and arugala. You can also try:

    beet greens
    bok choy
    collard greens
    dandelion greens
    kale (red, green and black)
    lettuce, all kinds
    mixed baby greens
    mustard greens
    swiss chard
    turnip greens
    herbs (basil, cilantro, mint, parsley)

  24. Natasha

    January 14th, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I haven’t seen cabbage as a leafy green veggie to try in smoothies, is there a reason for that?

  25. Jen H

    January 14th, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Great question Natasha. I have used cabbage in a green smoothie— it’s high in antioxidants and that appeals to me. Yet you have to be careful with how much you use— it can turn the flavor south very fast. I recommend using half cabbage and half spinach if you want to introduce cabbage to your green smoothies.

  26. Natasha

    January 14th, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you Jen! My mom made some cabbage the other day and left a few pieces out for me, said “here, blend that up” LOL! I’ve been giving her a shot of green smoothie a day till she can get to a half cup at least, lol! Gave my aunt a shot today…told my family we’ll all be green soon. Have a great day!

  27. Natasha

    January 14th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Also, it’s day 3 for me and I’m feeling the alertness…usually by 5pm, I need a nap! Excited to reap the benefits of what the green smoothies are sowing!

  28. Jen H

    January 15th, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Haha. I love it! Thanks Natasha.

  29. annette

    January 15th, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Hi, first day for challenge will be tomorrow, better late than never. I was wondering your opinion of the nutra bullet.

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