What do you put in a green machine?

A green machine, also known as a green smoothie maker or blender, is a kitchen appliance used to blend leafy greens and other ingredients into healthy smoothies. Green smoothies are a quick and easy way to pack nutrients into your diet. But what exactly should you put in a green machine to whip up a nutritious green smoothie?


Fruits should make up the bulk of any green smoothie recipe. Fruit provides natural sweetness to balance out the bitter taste of leafy greens. It also adds fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some great fruits to use in green smoothies include:

  • Bananas – Bananas add creaminess and sweetness to smoothies. They also provide potassium and fiber.
  • Berries – Berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries add flavor, nutrients, and antioxidants.
  • Mangoes – Mangoes have a tropical taste and supply vitamins A, C, and fiber.
  • Pineapple – Pineapple gives smoothies a tropical flair and contains bromelain, an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cherries – Both fresh and frozen cherries add nutrients like vitamin C and anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that reduce inflammation.
  • Apples – Apples provide fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants like quercetin.
  • Pears – The sweetness of pears balances out strong-flavored greens. Pears also supply fiber, vitamins C and K, copper, and potassium.
  • Oranges – Oranges and clementines add bright citrus flavor. They’re packed with immune-boosting vitamin C.
  • Kiwis – Kiwis offer a tart flavor and contain vitamin C, potassium, folate and fiber.

For best texture and flavor, use ripe, fresh fruit. But frozen fruit can also be used.

Leafy Greens

Of course, you’ll want to add leafy greens that give these smoothies their “green” name. Leafy greens supply a wide range of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. Try adding:

  • Spinach – This is one of the mildest tasting greens. It provides iron, vitamins A, C and K, magnesium and antioxidants.
  • Kale – Kale has a slightly bitter, earthy flavor. It contains vitamins A, C, K, calcium, potassium and glutathione.
  • Romaine lettuce – Romaine has a very mild taste and offers vitamin K, folate, manganese and antioxidants.
  • Swiss chard – Swiss chard contains vitamins A, C, E and K, magnesium, potassium, iron and fiber.
  • Collard greens – Collard greens have a mild, slightly sweet flavor and provide calcium, magnesium, manganese, vitamins A, C, K and fiber.

Start with milder greens like spinach and romaine if you’re new to green smoothies. Then work your way up to more bitter greens like kale and chard as your taste buds adapt.


Every smoothie requires some type of liquid to achieve a drinkable consistency. Here are some healthy options:

  • Water – Plain water is the best no-calorie mixer that won’t alter the flavor of your smoothie.
  • Unsweetened almond milk – Almond milk provides a creamy texture without any added sugars. It contains some calcium and vitamin E as well.
  • Coconut water – The natural electrolytes in coconut water make it great for hydration. Look for unsweetened varieties.
  • Skim or low-fat milk – Milk adds protein and calcium to smoothies without much added fat.
  • Unsweetened soy milk – Soy milk offers protein and phytonutrients like isoflavones.
  • Low-sodium vegetable broth – Vegetable broth can add a savory element to green smoothies.
  • Green tea – Matcha green tea powder or brewed green tea can give smoothies an antioxidant boost.


In addition to fruits, greens and liquids, you can add extra nutrients and thickness to your green machine smoothies with these boosts:

  • Seeds – Hemp, chia and flaxseeds thicken smoothies and provide fiber, protein and healthy fats.
  • Nut butters – A spoonful of almond, peanut or sunflower seed butter adds protein, fiber and healthy fats.
  • Yogurt – Greek yogurt increases protein content and gives smoothies a thick, creamy texture. Low-fat plain yogurt works best.
  • Oats – Old fashioned oats add fiber to smoothies and make them thicker.
  • Cacao nibs – These raw cacao bits provide antioxidants and minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium.
  • Cinnamon – This warming spice has anti-inflammatory properties and pairs nicely with fruits.
  • Ginger – Fresh ginger root provides a spicy kick and aids digestion.
  • Turmeric – Turmeric powder boosts the anti-inflammatory impact of smoothies.
  • Vanilla extract – Just a few drops of vanilla extract enhances the flavor and sweetness of smoothies.

Avoid These Ingredients

Some ingredients you’ll want to limit or avoid altogether in green smoothies:

  • Ice cream or frozen yogurt – These add unnecessary calories and sugars.
  • Fruit juice – Juice spikes blood sugar without adding beneficial fiber.
  • Pre-made smoothies – Store-bought smoothies often have added sugars.
  • Artificial sweeteners – Sugar substitutes like Splenda don’t offer nutrition.
  • Granola – While healthy in moderation, granola packs a lot of added sugars.
  • Chocolate syrup or sugary fruit purees – These just add excess sugar and calories.

Sample Green Smoothie Recipes

Once you know what basics to include, it’s easy to whip up healthy, delicious green smoothies. Here are a few tasty combinations:

Green Machine Smoothie

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp spirulina powder (optional)

Mean Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds

Blue-Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup swiss chard leaves
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup mango chunks
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp almond butter

Green Berry Smoothie

  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 small banana
  • 1/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup water

Tips for Making Green Smoothies

Follow these tips for making picture-perfect, delicious green smoothies every time:

  • Wash all produce thoroughly under running water.
  • Cut fruits and veggies to blend more smoothly.
  • Remove tough stems from leafy greens and cores from fruits.
  • Add liquid and greens first, then fruits and boosts.
  • Blend on high speed until completely smooth.
  • Add more liquid if needed to reach desired consistency.
  • Use frozen fruit to make smoothies thicker and colder.
  • Garnish with extra fruit slices, seeds, nuts or cacao nibs.
  • Drink smoothies immediately for the best flavor and nutrition.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 24 hours.
  • Wash blender parts thoroughly after each use.

Health Benefits of Green Smoothies

Whipping up green smoothies is a healthy habit thanks to benefits like:

  • More fruits and veggies – It’s easy to pack in 3-4 servings of produce into one smoothie.
  • Nutrient absorption – Blending ruptures plant cell walls, releasing more vitamins and minerals.
  • Fiber – Greens and fruits in smoothies provide filling fiber to regulate digestion.
  • Phytonutrients – Compounds like carotenoids and polyphenols fight inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Hydration – The liquid base helps the body absorb nutrients and hydrates cells.
  • Low calorie – Smoothies made with water and greens are naturally low in calories.
  • Satiety – The fiber and protein help smoothies satisfy hunger and cravings.
  • Convenience – You can make smoothies quickly and bring them to go.

Sipping green smoothies is linked to higher produce intake, lower risk for chronic diseases, potential weight loss, and improved regularity, energy levels, skin, and hair health.

Potential Downsides of Green Smoothies

Green smoothies made from whole fruits and veggies are highly nutritious. However, there are some potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Fiber content may be too high for some people, leading to gas or bloating.
  • Oxalic acid in some greens may interfere with mineral absorption.
  • Too much fruit can spike blood sugar levels.
  • Smoothies eliminate the chewing process that signals fullness.
  • Important insoluble fiber is lost when using only juice, not whole produce.
  • Some veggies and leafy greens have strong, unpleasant flavors.
  • Nutrients degrade quickly during storage.

You can avoid most of these downsides by using moderate amounts of greens, sticking to mostly whole ingredients, and enjoying smoothies immediately. People with certain conditions like irritable bowel syndrome may want to avoid green smoothies containing ingredients high in fiber or oxalates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put spinach in a smoothie every day?

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to include spinach and other leafy greens in your daily smoothie. In fact, health experts recommend getting at least 2-3 cups of greens per day, so smoothies make that easy. Just be sure to also rotate through other nutrient-dense greens like kale, chard, and romaine.

Do you have to put greens in a smoothie?

No, it’s not a requirement. But leafy greens blend seamlessly into smoothies and add a huge nutrition boost. Start with mild greens like spinach. Once your taste buds adjust, ramp it up with kale, collards, chard, parsley or cilantro.

Can I put broccoli in a smoothie?

Broccoli can be added to smoothies but may alter the flavor. Try starting with just a small floret. Other vegetables like carrots and beets can also be used in small amounts in sweet fruit smoothies. But vegetables with strong flavors like cabbage or Brussels sprouts are tougher to disguise.

What can I put in a smoothie instead of yogurt?

Some non-dairy alternatives for yogurt in smoothies include kefir, cottage cheese, tofu, nut butter, mashed avocado, banana, soaked chia seeds, hemp hearts, canned coconut milk, and oat milk yogurt.

Can I put ice cream in my smoothie?

You can add a small scoop of low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt for a creamier texture and touch of sweetness. But healthier fats and lower sugar options include avocado, nut butter, full-fat coconut milk, and Greek yogurt.

Should you put protein powder in smoothies?

Adding a scoop of protein powder like whey, plant-based protein, Greek yogurt, nut butter, or chia seeds can help make a smoothie more satiating. But it’s not required, especially if your smoothie contains yogurt, seeds, nuts or other whole food sources of protein.

The Bottom Line

When using a green machine smoothie maker, the best ingredients to include are leafy greens, fruits, healthy fats, plant-based proteins and fiber. Leafy greens like spinach, kale and chard pack a nutritional punch. Fruits like berries, mangoes and bananas add sweetness and nutrients. Boosts like seeds, nut butters and yogurt increase protein, healthy fats and thickness. Liquids like water, almond milk and coconut water help achieve the right consistency.

Avoid added sugars by excluding ice cream, chocolate and syrups. Blend up the freshest, ripe produce for optimal flavor and nutrition. Try out different green smoothie recipes until you find your favorites. Sip them daily to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables and all their valuable vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients.

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