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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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  1. Francine Leslie

    September 12th, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    When does your next challenge begin?

  2. SGS Rawkstar

    September 14th, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Francine,

    Our next challenge kicks off on October 1! We hope you’ll join us!!

    Cheers 🙂

  3. Deborah

    September 12th, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Do green smoothies cause sugar/insulin spikes?

  4. SGS Rawkstar

    September 14th, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Hi Deborah,

    Great question! The fruit in our green smoothies contain naturally occurring sugar. Worried about how those natural sugars can effect your insulin levels? We suggest reaching out to your doctor to find out whats best for you + your body!

    Cheers 🙂

  5. Jeanne

    September 15th, 2015 at 11:45 am

    What is the best protein powder to buy?

  6. SGS Rawkstar

    September 15th, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Jeanne,

    We love reaching for plant-based protein powders like hemp or brown rice!

    Cheers 🙂

  7. Mel

    September 16th, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Hi,
    Do you have to cook food such as broccoli and oats before you add to the smoothie?

  8. SGS Rawkstar

    September 16th, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Hi Mel,

    Great questions! We love adding raw + cooked ingredients to our smoothies! When blendin’ oats raw you might find them sightly gritty, adding cooked oats will help create a more smooth texture – it’s all about what works for you. The same with broccoli…if you have a powerhouse blender raw is a great way to go, if your blender needs a little help a quick steam will create a smooth consistency.

    Cheers 🙂

  9. Teresa

    September 20th, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Is it possible to wash away the level of prescription meds in your body by drinking green smoothies and if so could drinking the smoothie in the morning and taking my meds in the evening help with this. Do green smoothies detox prescriptions meds our of your system?

    Thanks so much for all the work you put into this website and for all the valuable information you share!

  10. SGS Rawkstar

    September 21st, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Hi Teresa,

    Thank you so much for reaching out! That’s an important question, and since we’re not doctors, we suggest reaching out to your physician to ensure green smoothies + your medicine pair well together! Sorry we can’t be more help, but we’d rather leave your question to the medical professionals!

  11. patsy gibson

    September 21st, 2015 at 8:59 am

    are there low sugar smoothies i’m a dietetic

  12. SGS Rawkstar

    September 21st, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Hi Patsy,

    Thank for reaching out to us. Since we are not doctors or nutritionists, we suggest that any member of community with health concerns to speak to their healthcare provider to confirm that green smoothies and the natural sugars are okay for their eating plan. Here is a link to our favorite low sugar fruits.

    https://simplegreensmoothies.com/low-sugar-fruits

  13. Glennis

    September 22nd, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Hi Ladies,
    I have been following your recipes for weight loss and using morning shake and lunch time shake and eating a healthy balanced dinner. I have not lost any weight in the month I have been doing the shakes. I also go to the gym 3 times a week. What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks,
    Glennis

  14. SGS Rawkstar

    September 22nd, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Hi Glennis,

    Thanks for reaching out! It sounds like you’re a total rawkstar with eating healthy + hitting the gym! Everyone’s body is different, but let us know which recipes you’re blendin’ and we’d love to help you along your health + weight loss journey.

    Cheers 🙂

  15. Tiffany

    September 28th, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Are there any fruits (besides the obvious ones like kiwi) you usually peel first before blending like peaches or nectarines or do you put it all in the blender besides the pit?

  16. SGS Rawkstar

    September 28th, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Hi Tiffany,

    Great question! When possible we try to include the peel, as fruit peels are packed with nutrients + tons of fiber! Did you know if you have a powerhouse blender that can breakdown the peel, kiwi peels are packed with flavonoids!

    Check out some great information here…

    http://blenderdude.com/articles/whole-fruit-nutrition/

  17. Angie

    September 28th, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    I’ve purchased all the ingredients to get started, except the broccoli, which I don’t really like. What would be some options for a substitute?

  18. SGS Rawkstar

    September 28th, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Hi Angie,

    Yay! We’re so excited to have you blendin’ with us! Which recipe are you looking to blend broccoli with? We’re happy to help identify the perfect substitute for you!

    Cheers 🙂

  19. Chris

    September 29th, 2015 at 3:12 am

    Apologies if this question has been asked before, there are so many comments and it’s a bit difficult to find it! I am not from the US and I struggle with cups and oz measuring :(((( could you help me with metric measuring so I can follow the correct proportion?
    Many thanks and looking forward to the challenge!

  20. SGS Rawkstar

    September 29th, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Hi Chris,

    We love our international tribe + understand that our measurements can sometimes be difficult for those overseas. Make sure + check out our book hitting shelves on November 3rd, we put together a great conversion section to help answer any questions.

    https://simplegreensmoothies.com/book

    In the meantime, here is our suggested conversions…

    Spices | Proteins | Superfoods:

    ½ tsp = 2mL
    1 tsp = 5mL
    2 tsp = 10mL
    1 TBSP = 15mL
    2 TBSP = 30mL

    Fruits:

    Mango | Pineapple | Strawberries | Beets | Carrots | Blueberries | Raspberries | Leafy Greens

    1 cup = 250mL
    1 ½ cups = 375mL
    2 cups = 500mL

    Liquids:

    Water | Coconut Water | Coconut Milk | Almond Milk | Fresh Squeezed Juice | Rice Milk

    ½ cup = 125mL
    1 cup = 250mL
    1 ½ cups = 375mL
    2 cups = 500mL

    Grams:

    1 cup of leafy greens = 30g
    2 cups of leafy greens = 60g

  21. ron

    October 4th, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    What is a good substitute for avocado? I thought perhaps greek yogurt.

  22. SGS Rawkstar

    October 5th, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Ron,

    We love avocado because it’s a great source of monounsaturated fats! So when you’re looking to substitute avocado you want to look for other healthy fat options like almond butter, flaxseed oil, + coconut oil. Learn more about our favorite healthy fat options here…

    https://simplegreensmoothies.com/tips/healthy-fats

  23. Jennie

    October 6th, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Hi!

    Can you blend and freeze smoothies in mason jars in advance, and then defrost overnight for the morning commute?

    Thanks!
    Jennie

  24. SGS Rawkstar

    October 6th, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Jennie,

    Yes! Simply thaw your smoothie overnight in the refrigerator the night before you’re ready to enjoy! Separation is natural, so give your smoothie a quick shake before enjoying!

    Have you seen our tips on prepping green smoothies?

    https://simplegreensmoothies.com/tips/make-ahead-smoothie-prep

  25. Lauren

    October 6th, 2015 at 6:17 am

    Hey Jen & Jadah! Let me start off by saying I absolutely love your green smoothie challenges and Fresh Start 21!! Can’t wait till the new book comes out! Unfortunately, I was just diagnosed with a nut allergy, and didn’t know if you had any substitution suggestions that would continue to let me enjoy all your recipes??

  26. SGS Rawkstar

    October 6th, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Hi Lauren,

    Thanks for blendin’ with us! Recently, diagnosed with a nut allergy? No worries! We’ve got you covered!

    Substitute nuts for protein packed seeds like sunflower + pumpkin!

    Looking for an almond + coconut milk substitute, rice milk is a great option! Though it is lacking in protein, it is fortified with calcium and low in cholesterol, which makes it a slightly healthier option than cow’s milk–and you can get the lacking protein through various superfoods and leafy greens. It is naturally sweetened, fructose free, and goes great with your daily smoothie.

    Hope this helps!

  27. ron

    October 8th, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    How should I adjust recipes for one person rather than 2. My wife and I have different needs so we want to make enough for 10-12
    ounces. Or how about making 2 and keeping some in refridge for next day? What’s the max time to keep?

  28. SGS Rawkstar

    October 9th, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Hi Ron,

    Only want to make half a serving? Simply cut our recipes in half! I do every day for blending with my NutriBullet! Or store your remaining green smoothie in the refrigerator! Your smoothie will keep in the fridge for up to two days in an airtight container. We suggest adding a small amount of lemon juice to help preserve their green goodness!

    Cheers 🙂

  29. Kay Gerke

    October 11th, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    This is a great website, but I need to unsubscribe because I have too many emails. I have been eating green smoothies every day for years. My diet is very healthy.

    Thank you,

    Kay Gerke

  30. SGS Rawkstar

    October 12th, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Hi Kay,

    We’ll miss you, but we definitely understand! If you end up missing us too, join us again at the link below…

    https://simplegreensmoothies.com/30-day-challenge

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