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Over the years, I’ve learned that the number one enemy of my skin is sugar. It breaks me out, it creates redness, and it makes my face look dull. It zaps the life from it! I’m relatively good at avoiding this bad guy during the year, but the holidays make it super difficult. Already I’ve avoided workrooms filled with homemade baked goods, many gifted cookie trays, and tempting, sugary drinks both hot, cold, and alcoholic.

Since sugar is so synonymous with this time of year, I try my best to combat its worse effects and load up on good stuff when I’m not at a party or eating special meal. My favorite way to fuel my body with a lot of nutrients with little hassle? A smoothie. They’re delicious, they’re nutritious, and they can hide a day’s worth of leafy greens while still tasting freaking amazing. I know some people favor a fresh-pressed juice, but I am all about the smoothie and keeping the fiber mixed in with my drink. Not only is it way less work to create a smoothie; have you ever had to clean a juicer? It’s a pain. Smoothies keep you fuller longer and release nutrients in a slower, more regulated way.

Now, there are tons of tested and true green smoothie recipes out there, and I’ve tried quite a few of them. This one, however, is my absolute favorite. It is easy to make, it’s affordable, and everyone loves it, even those who are hard to please. Read on to learn all about it. Oh, and did you know there’s an actual art to loading a blender in the most effective order? Let me teach you the way of the smoothie.

It’s key to add the softest and most viscous ingredients first. This helps the blades best pulverize everything into a fine texture. The recipe below that I whip up on a daily basis serves 6-8 cups. It’s the perfect amount to split between my fiancé and me. You can fine-tune the amounts to best suit your own needs. Everything is listed in the order it should be added to your blender with some additional nutritional tidbits.

3 cups almond milk/water – I like to do a mix of my liquids. I like almond milk because it adds a slightly creamy texture. I go for a 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk mixed with 2 cup of filtered water. It’s really important to go for filtered water to get the best benefits.

2 bananas – I think of this fruit as nature’s sugar. It’s so versatile and can mask almost anything you want to throw into a smoothie if you’re feeling creative and have a sudden desire to add broccoli or something like that. It’s the staple base fruit in all of my smoothie recipes. In addition, the nutrients in bananas help build healthy bones, promote a healthy metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, and combat inflammation.

2.5 cups frozen mango/pineapple/peach – These fruits add a tropical flavor while lending this smoothie its vibrant green color. I love berries in smoothies, but adding any berry to this recipe makes the smoothie an unappetizing brown color, which is fine, but I want to make this pretty too. These yellow and orange fruits contain antioxidants, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. They help with metabolism, blood pressure, and healthy skin! Sam’s Club sells the perfect Dole frozen fruit mix to suit this smoothie.

1 scoop protein powder – I love the SFH pure whey protein brand. It doesn’t contain any sugar and the whey comes from grassfed cows. I buy it online on the company’s website. Typically, grassfed products contain higher levels of nutrients like Omega 3s. This one also contains 23 grams of protein to keep you feeling full and satisfied. For this recipe, I pop in a scoop of the vanilla protein powder to maintain the smoothie’s green hue.

2 cups packed baby spinach – This is without a doubt my favorite vegetable. It is so versatile. You can put it in anything: sweet or savory. It is easily masked in any recipe and is such a nutritional powerhouse. It has folic acid, iron, manganese, copper, vitamin K, lutein, beta-carotene…etc. All of these amazing nutrients promote healthy eyes and skin, fight cancer, boost immunity, combat inflammation, support healthy cells and genetic material, aid in energy production, improve oxygen transport throughout the body. It is like a miracle food. I try to eat at least two packed cups of spinach per day. That’s how much I add to this recipe!

1 tablespoon of some sort of fat – Fat aids in the absorption of all of these awesome vitamins and minerals. You have a lot of options here. Usually, I eat eggs with grassfed ghee (clarified butter) alongside with the smoothie to meet my fat needs. You can add a tablespoon of coconut oil or your favorite nut butter to achieve the perfect nutritional blend and soak up all of the benefits of these awesome ingredients.

So, there’s my health hack for the holidays or anytime of year. It helps balance out my indulgences and keep some of those negative side effects at bay. Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe? I would love to hear all about it!