By Jennifer Thompson

Perhaps you never thought to make a green smoothie in the evening, but sometimes that timing makes sense. Evening smoothies are a good idea if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • You have one really busy night a week when you usually order takeout and are ready to change to something healthy instead.

  • You have limited time in the evening because of night classes or a late shift and you want to make something healthy but fast to get you back out the door in a jiffy.

  • You want to go to the gym or work out at night but don’t want to eat a heavy meal beforehand.

  • You ate too much over the weekend and want to have a light dinner to make up for it.

  • You tend to be a late-night snacker and are looking for better options as a transition to stop snacking once and for all.

  • You and your family enjoy having dessert but want to upgrade to a healthy version of something sweet.

Keep your goals in mind as you read through the following recipes. You may just find the perfect smoothie to fit your evening needs!

South of the Border Spicy

Preparation time: 4–5 minutes

Blending time: 2 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted

2 ripe tomatoes, halved

1 cup peeled, chopped cucumber

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Pinch of cayenne pepper to taste

1 cup water

1/2 cup cilantro, loosely packed

1-1/2 cups baby spinach, loosely packed

1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded (optional)

  1. Combine the avocado, tomatoes, cucumber, lime juice, cayenne, and water in the blender and secure the lid.

  2. Starting at low speed and gradually increasing toward high, blend the ingredients for 30 to 45 seconds or until the mixture contains no visible pieces of fruit.

  3. Add the cilantro and spinach and blend again at medium speed for 30 seconds, gradually increasing the speed to high. Blend on high speed for another 15 to 30 seconds or until the entire mixture is smooth.

  4. Turn the blender off and taste the smoothie. If you want it spicier, add the jalapeño and blend again for 15 seconds or until smooth.

  5. Pour the smoothie into two glasses and enjoy!

Per serving: Calories 96 (From Fat 54); Fat 6g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 32mg; Carbohydrate 11g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 3g.

Add a pinch of Himalayan salt to bring out more of the savory flavors. Look for this salt in health food stores or online.

If you like fresh garlic, try adding a peeled clove with the ingredients in Step 1. You can also add 1/2 cup of fresh celery leaves in Step 3 for even more greens.

Green Gazpacho with Sprouts

Preparation time: 4–5 minutes

Blending time: 3 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

1 red or yellow bell pepper

3 medium cucumbers

1/4 cup mung bean sprouts

1 garlic clove, peeled

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar

Pinch of cayenne pepper to taste

Himalayan salt to taste

1-1/2 cups spinach, loosely packed

1/4 cup alfalfa, lentil, or radish sprouts

  1. Cut the bell pepper into quarters and remove the seeds. Peel and chop the cucumbers.

  2. Combine the bell pepper, cucumber, mung beans, garlic, lime juice, vinegar, cayenne, and salt in the blender and secure the lid.

  3. Starting at low speed and gradually increasing toward high, blend the ingredients for 30 to 45 seconds or until smooth.

  4. Add the spinach and blend again at medium speed for 30 seconds, gradually increasing the speed to high. Blend on high speed for another 15 to 30 seconds or until the entire mixture is smooth.

  5. Pour the smoothie into two bowls. Garnish with the alfalfa, lentil, or radish sprouts. Enjoy!

Per serving: Calories 67 (From Fat 5); Fat 0.5g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 167mg; Carbohydrate 0g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 3g.

If the smoothie tastes too bland, add extra Himalayan salt or cayenne pepper and blend again for 15 seconds or until smooth.

Cool Mint Chocolate Chip

Preparation time: 3 minutes

Blending time: 2 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

1 red apple

2 ripe bananas, peeled

1 tablespoon raw honey

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1-1/2 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1–2 drops pure peppermint essential oil

1-1/2 cups water

1-1/2 cups chopped bok choy, loosely packed

1 tablespoon raw cacao nibs

2–3 mint leaves

  1. Cut the apple and remove the core, keeping the skin intact. Cut the flesh into quarters.

  2. Combine the apple, banana, honey, flaxseed, cacao powder, peppermint oil, and water in the blender and secure the lid.

  3. Starting at low speed and gradually increasing toward high, blend the ingredients for 30 to 45 seconds or until the mixture contains no visible pieces of fruit.

  4. Add the bok choy and blend again at medium speed for 30 seconds, gradually increasing the speed to high. Blend on high speed for another 30 seconds or until the entire mixture is smooth.

  5. Add the cacao nibs and blend again for just 5 to 10 seconds.

  6. Pour the smoothie into two glasses. Garnish with the fresh mint leaves. Enjoy!

Per serving: Calories 291 (From Fat 63); Fat 7g (Saturated 2.5g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 47mg; Carbohydrate 56g (Dietary Fiber 10g); Protein 5g.

If the smoothie is too thick, add 1/2 cup of additional water after Step 5 and blend again. To boost the chocolate chip taste, add an additional tablespoon of raw cacao nibs in Step 5.

You can also add frozen banana to get more of an ice cream texture. In that case, peel the ripe bananas, cut them into chunks, and place the chopped banana in a plastic bag in the freezer. Allow it to freeze overnight, and add it to your smoothie the next day.