A month ago, I joined Amanda from Run To The Finish and committed to drinking one green smoothie a day for the month of June. I decided to do the challenge mainly because: 1) I wasn’t getting enough veggies in my diet; and 2) I struggled with afternoon fatigue and often had a hard time focusing during that part of the day. I would often need a quick nap in the middle of the day in order to have enough energy to power through the afternoon and the dreaded after-school / dinner / bath / bedtime portion of the day.
For someone who had never had a green smoothie before June 1, the challenge wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting it to be. I didn’t find the flavor or texture that weird or different or gross. The greens just added another dimension to the smoothie flavor. I did have one smoothie each day for 30 days even while I was traveling. I guess it helps that I was traveling to places like LA and Asheville, NC.
Over the course of the month, I started to experiment a little more. I don’t know if it’s because I generally like smoothies or because I previously worked at Jamba Juice in college but I didn’t find the green smoothies intimidating. I was willing to throw in any combination of greens and fruits/frozen fruit that we had in the house. My green smoothie concoctions started to take over my Instagram feed!
After my update following the first week of the challenge, I continued to notice some changes.
- Less hungry before lunch and during the day: I typically have breakfast around 7am or 7:30am and am ravenous by 10/10:30am. During the challenge, I was less hungry before lunch, meaning that I was less likely to snack or take in extra calories. I tried moving my green smoothie to the afternoon to see if it would have the same effect on my afternoon cravings but I found that it was harder to make smoothies later in the day. I’m not quite sure why.
- Drinking less coffee: Previously, I would be a wreck if I didn’t have a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. But during the challenge, I found that I didn’t need or rely on coffee as much. I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t want to drink a smoothie and coffee at the same time for breakfast. Sometimes I would have a coffee later in the day but there would also be days when I would have no coffee. That was an unexpected side effect.
- Less naps: Along with the less coffee, I found that I wasn’t taking my mid-afternoon nap at all. It wasn’t that I was getting more sleep at night (I was actually sleeping far less hours). I was also super busy and stressed with work this month and frankly couldn’t afford a cat nap. That may have had something to do with it but it’s possible that the green smoothies helped too.
- Requests from my husband: An unexpected side effect was that my husband is now hooked on green smoothies too. He requests green smoothies now, or at least insists that I make enough for two.
Over the course of the month, I figured out some tips and tricks that made the process easier. Here are a couple of things that worked for me:
- Green smoothie for breakfast: It worked best for me to have a green smoothie first thing in the morning for breakfast when I was more likely to actually make and drink the smoothie.
- Prep your greens and veggies ahead of time: This saved me a ton of time in the mornings. I would rinse and spin my greens and then store the greens in the salad spinner in the refrigerator.
- Balance the flavor: If I used a more distinctive vegetable in my smoothie (i.e. kale or swiss chard), I tried to balance the flavor with a sweeter fruit like frozen pineapple or mango. That helped to cut any of the bitterness of the greens and helped mask the flavor a bit.
- Frozen bananas: Frozen bananas are a great addition to green smoothies. If you prep your own frozen bananas, do NOT cut some bananas up into slices and throw them all together into a tupperware container in the freezer. The banana slices will all stick together, making it kind of hard to actually get them out when you need them. Yeah, learned this the hard way. You can lay the banana slices on a plate or tray in the freezer. Once they are frozen, you can combine them in a container and store in the freezer.
- Add the greens first. I mentioned this before but just a reminder that you should add your greens as one of your first ingredients in your blenders This will help ensure that your greens get thoroughly blended.
I know that green smoothies aren’t for everyone but it’s safe to say that I’m hooked on green smoothies. While I may not have them every day going forward, I’m pretty sure that I will have them a couple of times during the week. Overall, I’m really glad that I did this.
Are you a regular green smoothie drinker or a newbie? If you do drink green smoothies, have you noticed any differences in how you feel? Do you have any other tips to add to my list here?