By Carrie Forrest of Carrie on Living
As someone who never ate vegetables before the age of 30 because I hated the taste so much, I have some experience with being a picky eater. It wasn’t until I had a serious deterioration in my health, including chronic migraines, anxiety, allergies, and cancer, that I realized I needed to clean up my diet. I went from a tried and true vegetable hater to someone who actually admits to loving kale, collard greens, and spinach. What’s my secret? The answer came in the form of a blended fruit and veggie drink made in my Blendtec, otherwise known as a green smoothie.
Fast-forward five years of drinking one of these delicious concoctions almost daily, and I feel more energetic and balanced than I ever did in my young adulthood. With all of that said, however, I understand the hesitation many people have over drinking their greens. Just seeing the looks on the faces of my houseguests when I offer them my unusual breakfast drink is confirmation that not everyone is convinced.
In order to ensure that your next green smoothie is a green delight and not a green disaster, I’m sharing this list of my 10 Green Smoothie Tricks for Picky Eaters. Feel free to add a comment at the end with your tips, too!
10 Green Smoothie Tricks for Picky Eaters
- In order to create a creamy texture, be sure to include fruits that have soluble fiber. Some options are bananas, mango, pear, avocado, and kiwi.
- When using green leafy vegetables in your smoothie, you can improve the flavor and texture by steaming the greens gently before adding them to your mixture. Also, as long as you are using some frozen fruit like I always recommend in my smoothie recipes, you don’t have to worry about cooling the steamed greens. They’ll cool down when you blend them.
- For those who are sensitive to bitter flavors, use a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to help mask the bitterness from the blended greens and to add an overall “brightness” to your drink.
- To make your green smoothie even creamier and more satisfying, add healthy fats like coconut milk, MCT oil, avocado, nuts, or seeds. I generally use about 1–2 tablespoons of fat per serving.
- If your smoothie isn't sweet enough, use natural sweeteners such as blackstrap molasses, pitted prunes or dates, raw honey, or stevia. A little bit can make a big difference!
- Use your choice of protein powder to enhance the overall nutritional value of the smoothie and to help make it more filling as a meal replacement. There are some great options on the market, so experiment to find your favorite.
- A spoonful of cocoa or carob powder helps make any smoothie taste like a chocolate milkshake and masks the green color for those who don’t like to know they’re eating something healthy.
- Pineapple or papaya are great for diminishing the “green” flavor of smoothies. I always have a big bag in my freezer and use both regularly. Added bonus: Both of these tropical fruits contain natural enzymes that aid in digestion (1).
- For those who are brand-new to drinking greens, use baby spinach or romaine lettuce because they are so mild. For more adventurous palates, kale, collard greens, dandelion greens, and bok choy are good choices. Fresh mint is always a nice addition, too!
- And, finally, for my final smoothie hack—use a high-speed blender such as a Blendtec to ensure that your ingredients get fully incorporated into a creamy, delicious drink that everyone is sure to love, including picky eaters like me!
1: Roxas M. The role of enzyme supplementation in digestive disorders. Altern Med Rev. 2008 Dec;13(4):307-14. Review. PubMed PMID: 19152478.
About the Author
Carrie Forrest, MBA/MPH, is the author of the blog Carrie on Living. A former world champion of Hating to Eat Vegetables, Carrie is a survivor of thyroid cancer and chronic disease, and writes honestly about her journey to find health and balance. Carrie lives with her husband and tabby cat on California’s Central Coast. When she’s not washing kale for a green smoothie, she can be found salivating over food pictures on Instagram and Pinterest or attempting to not hurt herself on the yoga mat. If you liked these smoothie tricks for beginners, you might also like Carrie’s recent blog post on 10 Reasons to Drink Green Smoothies.