Green smoothies are a great way to get in another serving of leafy greens. And good news for those with tender taste buds: the fruity flavors of pineapple, mango, banana or strawberry mask the vegetables, allowing you to consume a healthy dose of spinach, kale and collard greens.  And they take less than 5 minutes to make, including clean up.

The basic recipe is 1 handful of greens, 1 cup of fruit, and 8 ounces of liquid.  For an added calcium boost, add 1-2 tablespoons of sesame seeds to give the drink a rich, creamy flavor.

Green smoothies provide a powerful boost of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients without bogging down your digestive system. Leafy green veggies are high in antioxidants, alkaline, and high in fiber.  Blending them into smoothies makes them more easily digestible.  And the smoothies promote natural weight loss and provide the body with increased energy.

Here are some variations on the basic recipe to keep thing interesting.  Mix and match ingredients, experiment to find your perfect blend.

romaine lettuce
mixed salad greens

any type of berries

coconut water
rice milk
almond milk
soy milk

1 scoop protein powder
1 scoop greens powder
1 Tbl. agave nectar or honey
1 – 2 Tbl. walnuts or almonds
1/4 cup shredded coconut

A few final notes: greens such as spinach and romaine have a fairly mild taste, but you can also use stronger greens such as arugula, dandelion greens, stinging nettle, or even carrot and beet tops.   Make sure to store any left over smoothie in the refrigerator.  It will be good for up to 3 days, but you will need to shake really well or re-blend slightly before drinking.  Enjoy!