I’m roughly the equivalent of a four-year-old when it comes to eating vegetables when I’m sick.
Whether it’s a nasty cough or a cold or a stomach bug, illness causes me to develop an immediate and temporary distaste for my beloved spinach, cauliflower, celery, and bell peppers. Just when my body needs the nutrients more than ever, it decides that all it wants to eat are carbs, and not the fibrous type found in veggies.
Last week was no exception to that. I was sick in bed for three days with a nasty chest cough and everything ear-nose-throat was extremely achy. It was an accomplishment whenever I finished a meal, which the lack of appetite and my skipping out on running indicated that I had a bad winter bug as much as the cough did. Ryan managed to convince me to eat oatmeal each morning and made me whole grain pasta with meat sauce (which is my absolute favorite meal when I’m sick) each night, and he even managed to get me to eat some roasted cauliflower by mixing it into the pasta.
However, by Friday, the first day I ventured beyond bed and into my home office, my body was desperately craving something green, even if my appetite and muted taste buds weren’t favoring spinach. I considered making a salad for lunch, but the combination of effort (yeah, I’m a huge wimp when I’m sick) and the idea of chomping down on fibrous greens with a scratchy throat sounded less than desirable.
Thankfully, I remembered that we had a NutriBullet blender, which I had frequently used during my grad school years in my all-out efforts to avoid the semesterly bout of sickness that came from exhaustion, stress, and the fact that many graduate students have similar hygiene habits to kindergarteners. Green smoothie to the rescue!
So I loaded the NutriBullet up with a few heaping handfuls of spinach, a few stalks of celery, some ice, and some water and I gave it a whirl. The blades finely chopped up the spinach and celery into liquid, and I was about to pour it into my glass when I realized it needed something more to boost it a bit more in terms of taste and texture. We were out of bananas, so the next best thing was my pantry staple BFF – natural unsweetened applesauce. I added a bit to the NutriBullet, blended it for a few seconds, and ta-da! A slightly sweetened green smoothie, with the right taste and texture to appeal to my scratchy and sore throat.
If you’ve never tried a green smoothie before, I recommend starting with this three ingredient green smoothie! Unlike some smoothies that include yogurt, lots of fruit, or nut butters, this smoothie is low in calories so it works best as a snack or a side, not a meal. The texture is somewhere between juice and a smoothie—substantial without being too thick. Thanks to the unsweetened applesauce, it has a mildly sweet and fruity taste and the earthy taste of the vegetables is not overpowering.
The great thing about green smoothies, such as this one, over green juices is that green smoothies retain the fiber from the vegetables and fruits. Fiber is super important in everyone’s diet, especially runner’s diets: it lowers bad cholesterol levels, helps you stay full and maintain a healthy weight, and controls blood sugar levels. Because of the fiber, this green smoothie may be a better snack for after a run rather than before.
If you don’t have a NutriBullet, use a blender or a food processor to make this three ingredient green smoothie! You may have to process it for longer to ensure that the celery is fully chopped and pureed so you don’t have any odd chunks in your smoothie.
Three Ingredient Green Smoothie
- One cup of spinach
- 2 stalks celery trimmed and cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
- 2-4 tablespoons cold water depending on desired texture
- 1-2 ice cubes
- Add the spinach and celery to the NutriBullet, blender, or food processor and puree for 30-45 seconds or until there are no large chunks.
- Add the applesauce, ice, and water and blend until the drink is smooth.
- Serve and enjoy!