Have you ever tried to make a Healthy Shamrock Shake? When you think about it, the main ingredient to make it celebratory is the color green, and if you make that festive color come from green leafy vegetables and herbs like mint, plus a bit of chocolate, and there you go—a healthy shamrock shake better known as a healthy green smoothie.
Healthy choices on a spectrum
As a coach, it is important to me to think about healthy on a spectrum, so when I think about making a tradition, McDonald's shamrock shake healthier, I first think about what foods I can use that fall into the spectrum eat more.
Let me show you what I mean.
What makes a healthy green smoothie?
Regardless of the amount of sugar (the American Heart Association recommends 36 grams of sugar for men a day and 25 grams of sugar a day for women), sugar is an ingredient I would like to replace with something in the Eat More category.
The same thought goes for the ingredients in the eat some category. If I can find a healthier replacement, it's a win.
I replaced the cream, well, really the ice cream, with avocados in this recipe. Notice avocados are in the eat more category. The sugar was replaced with a banana and a date, although I believe it would be sweet enough with just the banana. See how fruit helped make a much healthier green smoothie?
Can you taste the spinach in a green smoothie?
I don't know about you, but I struggle with green vegetables. When I was talking to one of my husband's cousins, she told me she loved the taste of green beans right out of a can. I can't imagine. If you ask me for my favorite flavor in colored vegetables, it is orange - to me, they are the candy of vegetables.
Why am I saying all of this? To make this a healthy green smoothie - there has to be something in it that makes it green. The smoothie gets its color from fresh baby spinach. When you blend spinach into a drink, the drink doesn't taste like spinach; it takes on the other flavors in the recipe, like the sweetness of the bananas.
The best tips for blending the perfect smoothie
- Place the fruit in the blender first. Then the spinach and other greens. Next, add the liquid. For example, add the protein powder after the milk if you add protein powder.
- Blend until smooth.
- If you don't use any frozen ingredients, add ice after blending everything well. Blend again with ice. Ice makes the smoothie thicker, and I must say, a green smoothie is more enjoyable cold.
- Many of the ingredients you use in a smoothie can be frozen. Fruit, greens, even yogurt. (I like to freeze my yogurt into ice cube trays.)
- Fun glass drinkware and a reusable straw are the perfect pairings for your healthy green smoothie.
Mealtime conversation starters
When you have conversations you are able to share your knowledge and learn from the knowledge of another person, as well as learn new skills. It helps to build confidence.
A good leader is not a person who thinks they know all the answers, rather good leaders are curious. They aren’t self-conscious to ask questions - they embrace it because it helps them be more creative, it allows them to learn what they didn’t know before.
Ask those around you:
Question: Do you think it is important to be optimistic or realistic in life?
Healthy Green Smoothie with Parsley and Mint
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- ½ small banana frozen
- ¼ ripe avocado
- 1 Medjool date pitted and diced
- 1 cup baby spinach fresh. see notes on freezing
- 4 fresh mint leaves reserve 2 for garnish. option: more to taste
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley option: more to taste
- 1 cup milk or plant based milk alternative
- 1 handful ice
- 5 dark chocolate chips
- Gather all ingredients
- Layer in the banana, avocado, date, spinach, parsley, 2 of the mint leaves and milk. Blend well, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add the ice and blend until fully incorporated and smooth.
- Decant into decorative glass, garnish with reserved mint leaves and dark chocolate chips.
Take the amount of spinach you like to add to your smoothies, (I take a big handful) and place it in a sandwich bag. I make many bags of spinach and then place them into a larger freezer gallon bag and place them in the freezer. Optional ingredients to increase protein (not included in nutrition label)
- 1 scoop of plain or vanilla protein powder
- 1/3 cup greek yogurt
Hand Size Portions
When you look at the nutritional values of a meal to log what you are eating, that is called tracking macros. A lot of people use this method to reach their health goals.
Looking at hand portion size and using this method to gauge how and what you eat is also a great method to help you reach your health goals. Many people who use this method often think this form of tracking meals is easier and more sustainable for a lifetime.
Want to learn more about hand portion size and how to use it to reach your goals? Check out the article How to Get Started with Hand Portion Sizes.
Michelle Johnson Jerome is an expert on busting through perfectionism. She is passionate about helping others live life with purpose and joy. By drawing on her extensive experience as a nutrition coach, personal trainer, and yoga instructor she helps develop a realistic approach to goal setting that allows you to make progress and stop obsessing over mistakes.
Find other articles written by Michelle on her coach profile. Discover your "easy button": learn how to manage life's unpleasant parts so you can move forward, reach your goals, and live your best life.