Green smoothies are becoming increasingly popular in the fitness world, and it’s not hard to see why. Leafy green vegetables are typically packed full of iron and folate, as well as a number of other essential vitamins and minerals, but eating them boiled or sautéed doesn’t appeal to everyone. One of the best ways to get more vegetables into your diet is by adding them to your morning smoothie. Trust us, it’s not as gross as it sounds!

We’re not expecting you to blend up some spinach leaves with water and enjoy that first thing in the morning. Using fruit as a natural sweetener increases the fibre, vitamins, and minerals in your drink, and using milk as a base adds protein. So, with that in mind, here are a couple of basic green smoothie guidelines to get you started...

  • The green stuff: You’ll need around two large handfuls of leafy greens, such as spinach or kale. Make sure it’s washed and ready to use – the pre-washed stuff is a lifesaver! Spinach is an excellent source of folate, and iron; although the iron is of the non-haem variety so your body needs a bit of a helping hand in using it, and that’s where the fruit comes in.
  • The fruit: You can use pretty much any fruit you like really, they all add plenty of sweetness and flavour. However, if you want to maximise the iron in the green leafy veg, it’s advisable to opt for a fruit with a good vitamin C content, such as strawberries, kiwi, mango, pineapple, and papaya. Non-haem iron is not absorbed by your body as efficiently as haem iron (from animal sources), but vitamin C aids the absorption of non-haem iron from vegetable sources.
  • The liquid: The fruit and vegetables may be the main stars in your smoothie, but it also needs a liquid base to hold it all together and create a nice consistency. For protein, try adding cow’s milk, natural yoghurt, Greek yoghurt, almond milk, or soy milk. For a pre or post workout boost try adding coconut water – it contains good levels of potassium, and some sodium, so helps to replace electrolytes lost through exercise.
  • The extras: Your smoothie is healthy and nutritious enough already, but there are a few things that you can add for an extra boost, such as a tablespoon of chia, flax, or hemp seeds, a teaspoon of pure matcha powder, a couple of slices of avocado, a scoop of peanut or almond butter, a teaspoon of coconut oil, or a teaspoon of ginger or cinnamon.
  • The preparation: The fruit and vegetables can be frozen easily in portion-sized freezer bags for quick and easy smoothies throughout the week. Simply take them out of the freezer and allow to thaw on the kitchen worktop while you grab your liquid and extras, than pop it all in a blender, blend until smooth, and enjoy there and then, or transfer to a travel cup and enjoy on the go!