When you think of a green smoothie, you probably immediately think of “health food.” Typically, green smoothies are full of veggies like spinach or kale, plus fruits and other healthy ingredients to create a drink packed with nutrition.
They are always advertised as a healthier alternative to a meal, and many people have fallen in love with the variety of flavors that can be created.
Smoothies have become so popular in the past five years that in 2014, an entire diet was developed based on the idea that green smoothies can make you healthier — and may even help you lose weight in the process. Green smoothie weight loss, anyone?
A green smoothie diet’s name is slightly misleading. In most versions, you are allowed to eat solid food throughout the day and drink other things besides smoothies — as long as you replace at least two meals per day with a green smoothie.
Is the smoothie diet plan right for you? Would you benefit from a green smoothie challenge before and after? Read on to learn more about the diet’s purpose, important considerations to make before you decide if you want to try this diet, and a sample menu and grocery shopping list to give you an idea of what a typical day on the green smoothie diet plan might look like. Also learn the effectiveness of the diet and read testimonials from those who have tried it themselves.
Green Smoothie Diet Review
The green smoothie diet plan is more of what many people call a “cleanse” than a diet. It is not a diet in the sense that the end goal is weight loss. However, green smoothie weight loss is a side effect of a this type of diet cleanse, and many people use diets and cleanses like this in an attempt to lose weight quickly. The diet is advertised as something to help “detox” your body and force you to eat healthier, though there is no evidence at this time that detoxes are effective for any of the things they are most commonly used for.
Learn to eat healthy?
One of the diet’s claims is that it will help you get rid of cravings for junk food and “train” you to start eating healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables. There is some merit to this — getting into the habit of choosing healthier options, especially when shopping and preparing meals at home, is an important step in learning to eat and live healthier in the long-term. However, since this is a temporary diet, it does not necessarily put these concepts into practice. It teaches you which foods to use to make the healthiest smoothies, but not much beyond that.
Health benefits of fresh produce
Fruits and vegetables, the main ingredients you will typically add to a green smoothie, are extremely nutritious. These foods are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as carbohydrates and small amounts of protein (depending on the fruit or vegetable). This is one of the reasons why green smoothies are so highly recommended, and why multiple people have developed the concept of a green smoothie diet plan.
Possible side effects
Diets that limit food groups and restrict complex carbohydrates, protein, fat, and calories usually have short- and long-term side effects associated with them. These include side effects such as dizziness or lightheadedness, irritability, increased hunger and appetite, and fatigue. You might have a harder time exercising while following a cleanse like this because it might not provide the right nutrition you need to maintain appropriate energy balance. In some cases, intense physical activity might even be dangerous. You may think about trying a diet like the diverticulosis diet to help curb those possible side effects.
Consider your goals
As with any diet, there are pros and cons to a green smoothie diet cleanse. Whether or not you choose to try it for yourself really depends on your goals. If you are trying to lose weight and improve your health in the long term, it probably is not the best choice. If you just want to experience green smoothie weight loss — losing weight quickly and temporarily — the diet does promise you can lose up to 15 pounds maximum in just 10 days. Regardless, let’s go over some of the details of the diet to get a better picture of how it works.
Green Smoothie Diet Plan Basics and Rules
When it comes down to it, a green smoothie diet cleanse is not too hard to follow. As long as you follow the guidelines and shopping suggestions for the recommended 10 days of the diet (or fewer days, if you choose to make your own modifications), you should not have trouble sticking to the plan.
The most popular version of the green smoothie diet plan lasts 10 days. Because smoothies cannot provide all the nutrition and health benefits that solid whole foods typically do, it is not recommended that you stick to a diet made up mostly of smoothies for longer than this.
The two types of green smoothie cleanses
You have options when it comes to choosing a green smoothie diet plan or cleanse. You can either choose a full cleanse, which involves drinking three smoothies or more per day plus drinks and snacks, or a modified cleanse, which involves replacing breakfast and lunch with a smoothie but eating snacks and a full meal for dinner.
Snacking is not only recommended on a smoothie diet: it is absolutely essential. Solid food is extremely important for digestion, especially if you are removing the skins and/or peels of the fruits and vegetables you are blending into smoothies. In many fruits and vegetables, a large portion of the dietary fiber content is found in the skin or peel. Eating apples without the skin, for example, cuts their fiber benefit in half. Still, snacks such as veggies and nuts will help keep you full between meals and smoothies.
Mind your hydration
This diet, made up of mostly fruits and vegetables, is extremely rich in dietary fiber. It is essential that you stay hydrated beyond the green smoothies you consume in order to avoid any digestive issues associated with a diet higher in fiber than you are used to. Drink at least 64 ounces of water throughout each day and as much herbal tea as you want. When you are not drinking a smoothie or having a snack, drink water.
Frozen vs organic produce
The original green smoothie diet cleanse specifies that you must purchase frozen fruit. However, there is really no reason why you cannot buy fresh produce or get organic produce from a local health food store or farmers market. Cost is a major thing to consider when choosing diets like this, though. Buying mostly only fruits and vegetables, instead of a variety of foods, can be costly, even for only a few weeks at a time.
As with any other diet, there are modifications you can make depending on preferences (for example, if you do not like mangoes, you do not necessarily have to make a smoothie with mango in it). What is important is that you choose which version of the diet you want to follow (full or modified cleanse) and stick to it for the amount of time you choose to (as long as it lasts no more than 10 days).
Menu and Meal Planning
Meal planning on the green smoothie diet cleanse is not as complicated as it may seem. As long as you are prepared with the recipes and foods you need to make them ahead of time, you should not run into any problems. Make sure to block out time for any food prep that is necessary, such as chopping vegetables or dicing fruit if you buy it whole.
Below is a sample menu of only one out of seven total days on the modified green smoothie diet cleanse. You are free to experiment with your own smoothie recipes — trying different fruit and vegetable combinations to find what you like. You can add protein powder and an artificial sweetener if you so choose, but these are not essential ingredients. The smoothie recipes featured in this article are loosely based on those found in JJ Smith’s 10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse guide.
- Detox or herbal tea (check out these fit tea reviews as well)
- 16 ounce spinach kale berry smoothie:
- 2 cups water2 cups spinach2 cups kale1 cored and quartered apple1 peeled banana2 cups frozen blueberries2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds1 scoop of protein powder (optional)2 packets of stevia (for added sweetness – optional)
- 16 ounce apple strawberry smoothie
- 2 cups water3 cups spring mix2 cored and quartered apples1 peeled banana2 cups frozen strawberries2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds1 scoop of protein powder (optional)2 packets of stevia (for added sweetness – optional)
- Green salad (spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, carrots, cheese, dressing)
- Sauteed vegetables (you choose)
- 3 ounces grilled or baked chicken or fish
- Apples and celery with unsweetened peanut butter
- Carrots or cucumbers, raw or cooked
- Hard boiled eggs
- Raw and unsalted nuts or seeds
Grocery Shopping List
- Spinach and kale (for smoothies)
- Spring mix greens (for salads)
- Fruit for smoothies (blueberries, strawberries, mango, grapes, pineapple, etc.)
- Apples (for smoothies)
- Bananas (for smoothies)
- Fish or chicken for baking or grilling (modified green smoothie diet cleanse only)
- Vegetables for snacking, such as carrots or celery
- Vegetables of your choosing for your non-smoothie meal (modified green smoothie diet cleanse only)
- Nuts and seeds (raw, unsalted) for snacking purposes
- Hard boiled eggs (or raw eggs to boil later) for snacking
- Protein powder (to add to smoothies, if desired)
- Artificial sweeteners such as stevia (to add to smoothies, if desired)
- Herbal or “detox” tea