The NTF 5-a-Day Green Smoothie

Check off five servings of fruits and vegetables in your day by following the NTF 5-a-Day Green Smoothie guide. This five-a-day smoothie is completely customizable, so you can always tailor it to fit your preferences, needs, and what’s in season.

green smoothie with text "5 a day smoothie"

90% of Adults Don’t Eat Enough Fruits and Vegetables!

In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control released a study sharing that only 1 in 10 adults meet federal fruit and vegetable intake recommendations. Only 10%!!! And that’s just meeting minimum recommendations, not surpassing for more optimal fruit and veggie intake – which many find beneficial and help them feel their best!

Benefits of Eating Enough Fruits & Vegetables

Adequate fruit and vegetable intake is so important. The World Health Organization states increasing fruit and vegetable consumption reduces the risk of noncommunicable diseases like cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. In 2013 they estimated 5.2 million deaths worldwide were due to inadequate fruit and vegetable intake. Between all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, plant sterols, flavonoids, and other benefits, consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables is critical for intake of essential nutrients and health.

And honestly? Even with my clients who feel like they’re already trying to practice many health-enhancing behaviors, I find many are still not consuming the minimum recommended amount of fruit and vegetable servings daily. Which is where my NTF 5-a-Day Green Smoothie comes into play!

I understand smoothies aren’t loved by all, and that’s okay. But if you like smoothies, give this recipe guide a shot. If you’re on the fence about smoothies or are finding yourself really struggling to meet minimum fruit and veggie intakes, try it. The beauty of this smoothie guide is that you can totally tailor it to your favorite flavors…and I’ll even share my favorite veggies that don’t have a big impact on the smoothie’s flavor, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Use this simple smoothie guide to get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in one smoothie!

The NTF 5-a-Day Smoothie

This NTF 5-a-Day Green Smoothie gives you a smoothie that contains (at minimum) 3 vegetable servings and 2 fruit servings. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 specifies one serving of produce to be:

  • 1/2 cup cut-up raw or cooked vegetables
  • One cup raw leafy greens
  • 1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit
  • The fruit and veggie base of the NTF 5-a-Day Green Smoothie includes the following:

The NTF 5-a-day green smoothie includes the following number of servings:

  • Two 1/2 cup servings of fruit
  • One 1/2 cup serving of vegetables
  • Two 1 cup servings of raw leafy greens

Why 5 Servings of Fruits and Vegetables?

Many reports show this to be the minimum produce intake needed, although needs vary based on sex and age. (And again – that’s a minimum. I like to encourage aiming for 9-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily!)

Think of this smoothie as a fruit and vegetable insurance policy – it’ll get you halfway to 9-10 servings in one cup!

Fruit in Smoothies

I’ve already dispelled some of the unnecessary concern over sugar in fruit. But long story short, fruit is nothing to be feared. It can play an important role in your diet, providing many essential nutrients and fiber. (And no, blending doesn’t destroy the nutrients and fiber in a smoothie. In fact, smoothies can be such a way to increase your fiber intake, I even have an Ultimate Guide to High Fiber Smoothies!)

Sugar in Fruit: Is Fruit Bad for You?

What Fruit is Best for a Smoothie?

Choose your fruits based on your favorite flavors and nutrition goals. Want a more dessert-like smoothie? Try using 1 cup of frozen banana slices for a creamy sweetness! Looking for higher fiber, lower sugar options? Try a 1/2 cup raspberries and 1/2 cup avocado. (Yes, avocado is a fruit! It has loads of nutrient-dense, heart-healthy fats and is the only fruit with zero grams sugar.)

Vegetables in Smoothies

I understand that if you haven’t put veggies in smoothies before, it may sound strange. But it can be a convenient way to add more vegetables to your diet. And bonus? There are many ways you can add vegetables without too much of an impact on the smoothie’s flavor!

Leafy Greens for the 5-a-Day Smoothie

The base of the NTF 5-a-Day Green Smoothie is two cups (two servings!) of leafy greens. Leafy greens are a great addition to your daily diet and don’t have to just be found in salads. You can add any of your favorite leafy greens to smoothies – spinach, kale, romaine, etc. If you’re new to green smoothies, I’d suggest starting with a baby spinach. It’s more tender and neutral in flavor.

Non-Leafy Green Vegetables for Smoothies

The third serving of vegetables in the NTF 5-a-Day Green Smoothie is a 1/2 cup serving of an additional vegetable. And there are so many to choose from! Some of my favorites include:

  • Zucchini: frozen zucchini slices add minimal sugar and extra creaminess when blended into a smoothie.
  • Yellow Summer Squash: works the same as zucchini! I like to buy in season, slice, and freeze lots for future smoothies!
  • Cauliflower: this can minimally impact the flavor a bit more than zucchini, but definitely makes the smoothie taste fluffier.
  • Cucumber: added fresh or frozen slices. Cucumber adds extra hydration to a smoothie and pairs well with summery flavors like watermelon, citrus, and strawberries.
  • Sweet Peas: peas are more of a starchier vegetable, but they offer more protein and fiber than many other vegetables. This can be a great option for kids!
  • Carrots: I like shredding carrots and adding to smoothies/ prepped smoothie bags. The natural sweetness of carrots goes well with many smoothies, and I love the flavors with mango and citrus.
  • Pumpkin: pumpkin is high in vitamin A and fiber and makes a great addition to a smoothie, fall or not!

Truly you can use whatever veggies you have on hand and want to try! Be creative!

Extra Flavor Boosters

The world’s your oyster here! Some of my favorites include:

And while these next things are 100% unnecessary, I know some folks like to experiment with different trendy supplements. Again, they’re not needed, but if you want to you can try adding things like:

What Liquid to Add to Smoothie

You can use whatever liquid and however much you prefer! I recommend starting with a half cup of liquid. If you’re using mostly frozen fruits and vegetables, you’ll probably find yourself needing more. And same if you prefer a thinner consistency.

But if you’re using fresh fruits, they tend to be juicier, so you may not need as much extra liquid.

And there are many smoothie liquid options:

  • Plain water
  • Coconut water
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Cold brew
  • Tea
  • Any kind of dairy or plant milk

How to Make This Smoothie a Meal

Need your smoothie to be a whole meal? Try adding more:

  • Protein – protein powder and collagen peptides can be convenient options. There are plenty of non-protein powder ways to add protein to a smoothie, too (check that list of 40 ideas!).
  • Carbs – depending on your needs, you may need to add more carbs. Try something like rolled oats or cooked quinoa. Or you could turn your smoothie into a smoothie bowl and top it with granola.
  • Healthy fats – try adding things like nut butter, seeds, nuts, coconut, or avocado for a more balanced smoothie.
  • Change up the liquid – need a change in flavor and a caffeine boost? Try adding cold brew or brewed green tea. Kombucha can be a fun tea addition, too. Need some easily digestible quick carbs before or after a workout? Try using coconut water or juice. Want a creamier smoothie with a protein boost? Use dairy milk or soy milk, yogurt, or kefir.

How to Meal Prep Smoothies

I know on busy weekday mornings it can be tough to pull out all your different smoothie ingredients, so my family likes to prep NTF 5-a-Day Smoothie bags.

Package together the greens, vegetables, fruit, and any other non-liquid ingredients (protein powder, nuts, seeds, etc.).

Place everything in a freezer-safe bag (or silicone reusable bag) or freezer-safe container. Label with the date you prepared it and its contents.

Then when you’re ready to blend, add the freezer bag contents as well as any other additions (like peanut butter) and your liquid.

Definitely a time saver on busy days!

Favorite Smoothie Combos

We usually blend up smoothies or prep smoothie bags with whatever fruits and veggies we have on hand (a great way to reduce food waste, too!), but here are a few favorite smoothie combos:

Mango Banana Cauliflower Green Smoothie

2 cups spinach, 1/2 cup frozen riced cauliflower (makes for easier blending), 1/2 cup banana slices, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds.

Chocolate Banana Zucchini Green Smoothie

2 cups spinach, 1 cup frozen banana slices, 1/2 cup frozen zucchini slices, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds.

Blueberry Strawberry Sweet Pea Green Smoothie

2 cups spinach, 1/2 cup frozen sweet peas, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds.

Blueberry Banana Zucchini Green Smoothie

2 cups spinach, 1/2 cup frozen zucchini slices, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen banana slices, 1 tablespoon chia seeds.

Strawberry Kiwi Cucumber Green Smoothie

2 cups spinach, 1/2 cup frozen cucumber slices, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup frozen kiwi slices, 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds.

I would absolutely LOVE to see your NTF 5-a-Day Green Smoothie creations! Take a pic and share your 5-a-day smoothie creations on Instagram (and tag me @nutritiontofit so I can see!)

green smoothie with text "5 a day smoothie"

The NTF 5-a-Day Green Smoothie

Check off five servings of fruits and vegetables in your day by following the NTF 5-a-Day Green Smoothie guide! Completely customizable.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks, Smoothie, Snack
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Author: Lindsey Janeiro, RDN

Ingredients

Fruit (two 1/2 cup servings, or 1 cup total)

  • Apple pieces
  • Apricots
  • Banana (1/2 = 1 serving)
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Dragon Fruit
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Oranges
  • Avocado

Vegetables (1/2 cup)

  • Zucchini slices
  • Summer squash slices
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Sweet peas
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Bell pepper
  • Cucumber

Leafy Greens (two cups raw leafy greens)

  • Baby spinach
  • Spianch
  • Kale
  • Turnip greens
  • Mixed greens
  • Butter lettuce

Smoothie Liquid (start with 1/2 cup)

  • Water
  • Dairy milk
  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Oat milk
  • Any plant milk
  • Cold brew
  • Green tea
  • Herbal tea
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Coconut water

Flavor Boosters

  • Cocoa powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Vanilla extract
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh mint

Protein Additions (if needing a more filling smoothie/ a meal smoothie)

  • Protein powder
  • Collagen peptides
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Silken tofu
  • Dairy or kefir
  • Soy milk

Healthy Fat Additions (if desired/ needing to make a more filling smoothie/ meal)

  • Avocado
  • Coconut
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp hearts
  • Flax seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Almond butter
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Cashews
  • Pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  • Select your ingredients from the above categories and combine them in a blender.
  • Blend in a high-speed blender for 1-2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined, smooth, and creamy.
  • Pour into a glass and enjoy your smoothie immediately!

Notes

Nutrition information will vary based on the ingredients you choose.

References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, November 16.) Only 1 in 10 Adults Get Enough Fruits or Vegetables.
  2. World Health Organization. (2018, February 21.) Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Consumption to Reduce the Risk of Noncommunicable Diseases.
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2010, December.) Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010: page 83.

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22 Comments

  1. Hey, I have been struggling with a bad diet for years and would normally eat on average 1 piece of fruit/veg per day. If I was lucky 2 pieces, but also common to eat none at all. Bad I know!

    I have been improving my diet, but with years of bad habits, poor cooking skills and dislike of most vegetables to contend with it’s been really hard. The most challenging part has been getting enough veg in my diet in an easy to manage way (I’m still quite lazy when it comes to cooking!)

    There are some other “5 a day” style blogs or videos out there, but often seem very restrictive, or use expensive ingredients I really don’t like. This post of yours is the BEST, BY FAR in it’s instructions and breakdown. It’s logical now to think, of course why didn’t I just pick the combo I like and make sure it’s a proper portion of each?

    Great post. Really grateful to you. I love having my smoothie in the morning now and I feel so, so much better. I’m still trying to get vegs in at lunch and dinner, but this has been a godsend. Thank you so much!!!

    My favourite recipe, a full portion of each:

    Banana
    Kiwi
    Spinach
    Kale
    Carrot
    (Optional – Greek yogurt, coconut water, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds)

    Bye!

    1. Liam, thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a kind comment! I am THRILLED to hear how great you’re feeling and how this smoothie has been a simple way to help you feel better! Keep it up, and best wishes!

  2. Hello! This post is awesome and makes this task seem so much easier! But Choosemyplate.gov says a serving is one cup not half (unless itโ€™s dried fruit). Other sites say 1/2 cup as you said. I understand leafy vegetables and dried fruit, etc have diff serving sizes but I am confused… unless I am missing something! Is it typically 1 cup or 1/2 cup for most vegetables and fruit? Thanks so much!!

    1. Hi TK! Great question, and I totally get the confusion. The recommendations I discussed here were based off the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/dietaryguidelines2010.pdf — page 96 talks serving sizes and shows a serving for fruit as 1 medium piece of fruit, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit, or 1/4 cup dried fruit). If you look at comparable calorie/ need levels between the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and ChooseMyPlate.gov you’ll see that the total amounts are the same. Where the Dietary Guidelines for Americans show 4 (1/2 cup) servings (2 cups total), ChooseMyPlate.gov says 2 (1 cup) servings (2 cups total).

      Hope that helps clear up some of the confusion! Please let me know if I can help in any other way!

  3. Hi – thanks for the article.

    Could you please comment on the following from the UK National Health Service website, stating that because of the immense amounts of free sugar in smoothies, one should not be having more than 150ml a day.

    “Q: Do juices and smoothies count towards my 5 A Day?

    A: Unsweetened 100% fruit juice, vegetable juice and smoothies can only ever count as a maximum of 1 portion of your 5 A Day.”

    Now, my question is, granted that applies to fruit smoothies (and not to whole fruit, that much is clear). However, what if the smoothie is 75% spinach/broccoli etc., would the guidance be different?

    Thanks,

    1. Hi Dawood! I’m in the USA so I’m unfamiliar with the UK’s recommendations. That said, it sounds a bit of an over-generalization. A smoothie already is at an advantage compared to juice, because smoothies use the whole fruit and retain all the fiber, which is extracted during the juicing process. But a smoothie that has more vegetables would also have less “free sugar” as well. Hope that helps!

  4. Great and awesome post. You mention frozen bananas several times. Do you slice the banana and then freeze it?

  5. Being a type 2 Diabetic and living with an Auto Immune disease Addisons . What fruits and vegetables nut or seeds would be the most beneficial to me .I battle my weight as well. Need to lose and seems when I hit 61 I can’t do so as well.

    1. You need to work with a nutritionist and/or your endocrinologist. Very important to manage carbs and protein as well as portion control.

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