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Green smoothies and juices are an optimal way to get those necessary servings of vegetables. Simple cold drinks like these can provide plenty of vitamins, minerals, good fats and fiber. Once you get the basic mechanics of smoothie making down, it’s easy to swap ingredients and add different ones in for added benefit and taste preferences. Frozen bananas and fruit work best for the chill factor because adding ice cubes can water down your smoothie. The trick is to add something cold that isn’t going to melt. To aid easy blending, put the liquid in first, so the blades have extra mobility. Next add the greens to make sure they get completely liquefied. Finally, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Extra liquid can always be added to thin it out, if desired.

Almond Butter Raspberry Smoothie with Spinach
The alternative milk keeps this smoothie dairyfree, but the frozen banana gives it a much-needed creaminess. Somehow the banana manages to cover up the flavor of spinach completely, leaving you only with a wonderful raspberry flavor and surprising nuttiness from the almond butter. If you don’t like almond butter, swap it for peanut butter or leave it out completely. The spices are also optional, but with the almond butter they give it a nice balance of flavor. Using a frozen banana and frozen berries makes the smoothie icy cold without having to water it down with ice cubes.

What you’ll need
¾ cup coconut milk or almond milk
½ cup frozen raspberries
1 frozen banana
1 teaspoon almond butter
1 ½ cups fresh baby spinach, lightly packed Pinch cinnamon (optional) Pinch cardamom (optional)

Put the milk and greens in a blender; blend until smooth. Add the almond butter, banana and raspberries, along with a pinch of cinnamon and cardamom. Blend until smooth. If it is too thick, add more milk in small increments.

You can always add more raspberries. Depending on how many you use, it may turn the smoothie a shade of brown, but it still tastes great!

Why this smoothie is good for you
Spinach is packed with Vitamins A and K, along with magnesium and fiber. Cardamom helps move food through intestines and can also help treat stomach spasms. Some studies show that cinnamon can help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Not only is almond butter an excellent source of protein, the calcium and copper help aid nervous system function.

Banana-Avocado Spinach Smoothie
This smoothie is boosted with plentiful vitamins and fiber. The avocado may sound like it wouldn’t go well in a smoothie; however, it’s just the opposite — avocado gives this drink its creamy texture.

What you’ll need
½–1 cup of spinach
1–1 ½ cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 avocado, ripe, peeled and pit removed
1 frozen banana
1 orange, peeled and seeds removed

Put the almond milk and spinach in a blender; blend until smooth. Add the orange, banana and avocado and blend. For additional sweetness, you can add 1 tablespoon of Grade B maple syrup or agave nectar.

Why this smoothie is good for you
Spinach is packed with Vitamins A and K, along with magnesium and fiber. Oranges contain high amounts of both vitamin C and Potassium. Avocados are a great source of potassium and vitamin D, not to mention they are loaded with fiber.

Kale-Orange Smoothie
Once you’ve tried spinach in your cold beverages, you may be ready to upgrade to kale. Kale is dense with nutritional benefits, but it can add more taste than spinach in smoothies. Nevertheless, green smoothie enthusiasts have found a way to make it refreshing and delicious.

What you’ll need
1/3 cup orange juice
¼ cup milk
2 cups chopped kale
1 frozen banana
1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)
1 tablespoon flax seed meal (optional)

Place the orange juice, milk and kale in the blender; blend until smooth. Add in the banana, coconut oil and flax seed meal and blend.

Why this smoothie is good for you
Kale is high in vitamins A, C and K, and is also a good source of calcium, copper, potassium and iron, making it great for eye health among other things. Oranges contain high amounts of both vitamin C and potassium. Coconut oil helps with poor immune function, thyroid disease, heart disease and obesity. Flax seed contains good fats known as omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have heart healthy effects. It is also an excellent source of fiber.

" To aid easy blending, put the liquid in first, so the blades have extra mobility."