going green

We all know how important it is to eat our veggies, but do you know why?  In addition to being low in fat and calories, vegetables contain important nutrients such as potassium, fiber, folate and Vitamins A and C.  When eaten as recommended (approx. 3 cups daily) and as part of an overall healthy diet, this single food group packs a big punch-maintaining blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, and protecting against heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even cancer.

Given all their amazing benefits, we should be piling vegetables on our plates at every meal, but during these hot mid-summer months a heaping side of veggies, roasted steamed or otherwise, tends to lack  appeal.  Care to substitute with a big bowl fresh leafy greens? No, thanks. That's rabbit food.

So how then do we reap their rewards?  Insert the latest trend in health food: The Green Smoothie.

The process is quite simple: Begin with a liquid base (basically anything non-dairy will do), select your choice of greens (many MANY options here, but spinach has the perfect subtle taste for the first time smoothie maker).  Next, add some fruit for flavor, then play around with other nutrients (think protein found in nut butter) and sweeteners (NOT sugar).  Put everything in a blender and, well, BLEND!

The possibilities are endless, but here is a great recipe to get you started (courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod)

Pineapple Mango Green Smoothie*

1 cup almond milk (or milk of your choice) 1/2 banana, frozen 1 cup chopped mango 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple 2 cups fresh spinach 1/2 cup of ice

Combine all ingredients into a blender, BLEND, then serve (makes one large smoothie)

*For more Green Smoothie recipes visit Burn 60's Whole Eating board on Pinterest.