How to Use Vegetables in Smoothies

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A smoothie offers a tasty way to include more veggies in your diet. Mild-flavored vegetables work best as they don't overpower the flavor of the other ingredients. Include the entire vegetable, rather than just juice, to attain a thicker texture and higher fiber content.

Best Veggies

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Leafy greens blend readily into almost any smoothie. Spinach is the most neutral-flavored green, but romaine, kale and even collard greens are options. These greens will change the color of your smoothie and may add a green taste. Raw carrots and beets, broccoli, tomato, avocado and cucumber are other options that boost the taste, texture and quality of your smoothie.

Proper Prepping

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Greens are among the easiest veggies to add; simply pop in a scant handful per serving of smoothie, along with the other ingredients. Add more if you find the flavor pleasing. Remove any ribs or stems from larger leaves. Peel and chop firmer vegetables -- such as carrots or beets -- into chunks, if using a high-speed blender. When adding vegetables to a smoothie in a more pedestrian blender, grate harder vegetables so they integrate readily. Vegetables are usually added raw to smoothies, but some -- like spinach, kale and broccoli -- can be cooked. Note that cooking them changes the texture and flavor, sometimes making their taste stand out more prominently.

Easy Blending

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For the smoothest blending process, add liquid first. This may include fruit juice, coconut water, milk -- cow's or alternative -- or water. Greens go next, followed by chunky vegetables and fruits. Start your blender at the lowest speed and gradually increase the intensity. This helps the larger pieces of veggies or fruits break up. If your blender has a pulse feature, use it to help chop up bigger, chunkier ingredients. Once pulverized, move the blender speed up to high to puree the ingredients into a smooth drink. Once pureed, blend in a few ice cubes to thicken the texture.

Flavor Combinations

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Vegetable and fruit smoothie flavor combinations are infinite. Try pineapple chunks with kale, celery, cucumber, green apple and almond milk; blueberries, avocado, kale, lemon, mango and coconut water; raspberries, lemon juice, spinach, banana and almond butter; broccoli with mango, strawberries and pineapple juice; or beets with carrots, green apple and cranberry juice. Sweeter fruits, such as grapes and pineapple, help balance out the flavors of stronger-tasting vegetables. Flax meal, coconut oil, nut butter and protein powder are additional ingredients to include along with vegetables in a smoothie.

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