Easy to make a healthy green smoothie packed with vitamin C and chlorophyllin

Healthy Green Smoothie Recipe: Tropical Paradise

Need more greens in your life? Start with a tropical green breakfast smoothie! The vibrant green color will brighten your morning and the vitamins and nutrients will help you power you through the day. With a scoop of protein powder, a green smoothie also makes the perfect post-workout snack.

If you've never made a green smoothie before, no worries: all you need is a blender, liquid, and some fresh or frozen fruits…and the greens, of course.

I've included my favorite fresh and frozen fruits in this smoothie recipe, but the good thing about a smoothie is that it's easy to customize exactly how you like it.

Read on for step-by-step tips on how to make a healthy smoothie that will keep your body energized and your belly happy!

Green smoothies: Are they good for you?

Woman blending a green smoothie made with healthy green vegetables

Yes, green smoothies are a great way to help you meet your recommended daily intake of vitamins (especially vitamin C), minerals, and other active compounds – like the phytochemical chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a naturally occurring pigment found in green foods. Green foods support detoxification and helps keep our cells healthy.

Not only do many people fall short when it comes to their intake of fruits and vegetables, but many people aren't eating enough greens, specifically. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 80% of Americans are not eating the recommended amount of dark leafy green vegetables. And it doesn't take much to hit this RDA: just a modest 1 ½ cups per week from the vegetable subgroup for adults on a 2,000 calorie diet. (My green smoothie recipe will have you hitting that goal within a single morning!)

The guidelines define dark-green vegetables as all fresh, frozen, and canned dark green leafy vegetables including:

  • Broccoli
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Turnip greens
  • Watercress

Will all of these veggies be suitable in a green smoothie recipe? That's up for debate. Personally, I prefer the way spinach blends the best in a green smoothie, with kale being a close second choice. The beauty of these leafy greens is that they are relatively neutral in taste once blended. So your green smoothie will end up picking up the flavor of the other items you've blended in, whether that's banana, pineapple, mango, coconut milk, chia seeds, Greek yogurt...or all of the above! When it comes to blending greens, it may take some trial and error to find your favorite combination. We eat with our eyes first, so careful of combinations that make your smoothie end up looking, well, swampy in color. While berries are certainly a superfood, their hues may take away from that bright green color we aim for in a green smoothie.

Can I get enough chlorophyll from green smoothies?

There isn't an RDA for chlorophyll, but if you add leafy greens and other greens like a spirulina powder to your smoothie, you are likely getting a good amount of chlorophyll.

Chlorophyllin supplements make a good addition to dietary ingestion of chlorophyll. Chlorophyllin is a compound derived from chlorophyll, which also has antioxidant properties.

Health benefits of chlorophyllin

Chlorophyll derivatives like chlorophyllin can help the body manage oxidative stress, regulate your body's detoxification systems, and even modulate DNA gene expression of systems that help keep our cells healthy. People use chlorophyllin in capsule form as a supplement for these benefits, but it can also be used topically for youthful looking skin. One study showed that topical chlorophyllin was effective and well tolerated for facial use.

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Tropical Green Smoothie Recipe

Pouring a glass of tropical green smoothie from a pitcher

Gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free

Green smoothie ingredients:

  • 1 small banana (fresh or frozen)
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • ½ cup pineapple (fresh or frozen)
  • 8 oz unsweetened coconut milk
  • ½ avocado
  • Optional: 6 ice cubes

How to make a simple green smoothie:

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender
  2. Blend on high until smoothie has reached the desired consistency
  3. Serve immediately

Depending on how powerful and high-quality your blender is (I use a NutriBullet® Nutrient Extractor, but the Blendtec is a popular option), you can blend all these ingredients together at once, or in phases. With the multiple phase approach, divide the frozen banana into sections and include it with each whirl of your blender so that the consistency is (as the recipe name suggests) smooth.

The avocado gives this smoothie a creamy consistency – and adds healthy fat, while remaining dairy-free. In fact, this recipe is also vegan. If you aren't using frozen fruit, your smoothie won't be as cold, and will have a different consistency (less thick), this is where the optional ice cubes come in!

Once the blending is complete, pour your green smoothie into your favorite cup or mason jar and enjoy! The total time to prepare this healthy recipe is just minutes.

How to customize your green smoothie recipe

Man drinking a green smoothie with many healthy ingredients added

When it comes to green smoothie making, there's plenty of wiggle room for modifications and add-ins. For example, you can use frozen mango instead of pineapple. If you prefer a kale smoothie to a spinach smoothie, go for it! Want to spice it up? Add a 1 inch piece of ginger to the mix! Looking to make it even prettier? Garnish the edge with a single strawberry and add some shredded coconut on top, which will also add some texture.

Speaking of texture, chia seeds, hemp seeds, or ground flaxseeds are all great nutrient dense additions that will offer added protein and omegas. Feel free to mix-in powdered collagen here since it's flavorless.

Lately, I've been making my spinach smoothie with unsweetened coconut milk – but feel free to use another type of milk (like almond milk), juice, coconut water or just good old H20. Greek yogurt is a nice alternative to a liquid if you prefer a thicker consistency—and it's a great source of protein and probiotics.

If you like your green smoothie a little bit sweeter, apple juice or orange juice will also work nicely as a replacement for coconut milk in this recipe. You can also do 4 ounces of juice and 4 ounces of water to get the same amount of liquid, with not as much sugar.

Nut butters are also a great way to make your smoothie more satisfying. If peanut butter (or almond butter) and protein powder based smoothies are more your style, check out these 8 nutritious protein powder recipes, which includes plant-based options.

Green Smoothie Recipe: Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make a green smoothie the night before? – Yes, you can blend this in advance. However, you may see some separation, especially if you used ice and stored it in the fridge overnight. If you are looking to save some time, a better alternative would be to pre-portion your ingredients and store the fruits and veggies in a container or freezer-safe bag. That way, all you need to do is throw them in the blender with your liquid of choice and you're good to go!

What happens if you drink a green smoothie every day? – You may notice benefits such as better digestion from the fiber, prebiotics, and enzymes in the foods that this recipe contains. Plus, smoothies help contribute to your general hydration.

Are green smoothies keto? They can be! You can exclude fruits that are high in sugar, choose non-starchy greens, and use an unsweetened liquid.

Smoothies vs. juices

Woman cold pressing juice which removes some of the fiber

Smoothies include whole fruits and vegetables, which is an added benefit because it includes the fiber, compared to a juice in which the fiber is removed. This may help with fullness if you are having a green smoothie as your meal replacement.

That being said, if satiety is your goal, you might be better off just eating the ingredients of your smoothie or juice whole; one study found that adults reported feeling fuller from eating a fruit salad compared to a smoothie. The smoothie and fruit salad both contained: apple, banana, orange, mango, passion fruit and peach. (More evidence that chewing your food is an important part of managing your weight!)

Although both smoothies and juices can provide healthful nutrients, the smoothie is technically less processed and because of this, offers a beneficial edge. According to researchers: "Moderately processed smoothies retain much more of the plant cell wall matrix, particularly insoluble wall polymers such as hemi-celluloses, lignan and protein, whereby in juice production, the insoluble pomace is removed and along with it, many of the tightly bound phytochemicals." In this study, fruit juices and smoothies were both found to be rich in bioactive phytochemicals. The smoothies contained a wider range of compounds, whereas the juices were found to contain fewer compounds in the higher concentration range.

And while a smoothie can be made easily in an everyday blender, for juicing, you're going to need a juicer that can extract the juice from the rest of the fruit.

All that being said, let's get real for a moment: whether you're having fruit juice or a green smoothie, you're making a healthier choice than, say, if you ate a honey bun for breakfast. Everything is relative!

Juice cleanses

Woman on a juice cleanse drinking green juice

Considering a diet detox by cleansing with juices? A juice cleanse is a type of fad diet that severely restricts calories, which is not a sustainable way to live—but, there are some short term benefits. A trial of healthy adults who consumed only vegetable and fruit juices (blended from apple, cucumber, celery, romaine lettuce, lemon, and a small amount of spinach, kale, and parsley) for 3 days following 14 days of their usual diet found that this "cleanse" resulted in a significant decrease in weight and BMI, increase in the vasodilator nitric oxide (NO), and an increase in general well-being.

Keep in mind that juicing diets and cleanses (the kind where you only drink juice) won't help you meet all your nutrition needs and are not recommended for extended periods of time.

However, incorporating fresh juices and smoothies into your eating pattern can benefit your health. So, choose juices and smoothies for their national value and not as a long term solution to weight management.

About the Author: Holli Ryan is a food & nutrition expert, registered & licensed dietitian-nutritionist, health & wellness writer, blogger, and social media specialist. She graduated from Florida International University and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In her free time she enjoys photography, travel, cooking, art, music, and nature.