With the mantra of eating healthy being a widespread lifestyle choice today, the green smoothie has become a quick fix – the quintessential combination of all the vitamins and nutrients that the body needs. Not only has it gained popularity for its nourishing effects, but also for its distinctive flavours.
While there is no set recipe for creating a green smoothie, a typical one may consist of around forty to fifty percent veggies, specifically leaves, such as collard greens, kale, spinach, parsley or broccoli. Since some of these legumes leave a bitter taste on the palate, they can be blended with other fruits, such as bananas or berries to create a drink which tastes like an ordinary fruit smoothie, but is packed full of nutrients!
“Green smoothies, depending on the ingredients used are usually rich in antioxidants. Ingredients like spinach or kale are also a good source of iron”, says Sheela Krishnaswamy, Dietitian and Wellness Consultant.
She adds that the leaves of the greens should be thoroughly washed and hygienically prepared, leaving the fibres intact for maximum nutritional intake. While the green smoothie is a great source of certain vitamins and nutrients, how the smoothie is incorporated into one’s diet determines its benefits.
“It cannot be something that one takes in place of other vegetables”, Sheela emphasizes,”Rather, it should be incorporated into a well-balanced meal plan. Whether you have a green smoothie or not, it’s important to have a variety of vegetables and fruits to get a complete nutritional profile”.
A common drink served on the menus of organic restaurants oriented towards healthy food, the green smoothie is created using a range of different greens and fruits. Carrots, an organic vegetarian restaurant in Bangalore, aims to create a healthy alternative to juices with its green smoothies.
“Compared to commercial, packaged juices, green smoothies are a much better option”, says the owner, Susmitha Subbaraju.
At the restaurant, two green smoothies are on offer. The first is a blend of dates, soy yoghurt, banana, and spinach; the second, more savoury in its flavour, a blend of spinach, parsley, and broccoli!
“The idea is to provide something filling, that is easy to digest, while also being full of nutrients”, she explains, “We never use sugar in the smoothies, rather, we use organic jaggery or dates as a natural sweetener.”
The restaurant is constantly experimenting with different blends, using healthy greens. For example, broccoli has been used for the added texture it provides, while basil may be used to complement sweeter elements, such as pineapple. According to Sushmitha, while initially, people are apprehensive to try it, they are pleasantly surprised when they realise that the flavours are fresh and delicious!
“It keeps you going, it’s a great source of energy and a way to sneak in the fibre of the veggies into your diet. People are more aware of that now”, says Sushmitha.
Other popular green smoothie destinations include Candy and Green in Mumbai, which does an assortment of cold-pressed juices such as The Incredible Hulk, made with kale, celery, ginger, apple, cucumber, and lemon; and Kitchen Garden by Suzette, also in Mumbai, which serves a green smoothie made by blending together kale, avocado, mango, and lime. Diners also have the option of adding their own toppings, which range from organic granola, to natural whey protein.
Carrots, No 607, First Floor, 80 Feet Main Road, Koramangala 6th Block, Bangalore 560 095; tel: +91 80 4117 2812
Candy and Green, Hubtown Skybay, Breach Candy, Bhulabhai Desai Marg,Cumballa Hill, Mumbai 400 026; tel: +91 22 2352 3413
Kitchen Garden by Suzette, Shop No. 14, Gasper Enclave, St John Street, Opp. Golds Gym, Pali Naka, Bandra West, Mumbai 400 050; tel: +91 22 2641 1431