How to Eat Your Greens Without Having to Power Through the Spinach

|Updated Apr 7, 2020
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Like everyone else, I'm trying to eat healthier. But it's not always easy, especially this time of year. And while I love to eat vegetables, sometimes they aren’t the most convenient food to toss in my purse for an on-the-go snack. Like many health-conscious people, I struggle with ensuring I get enough vital nutrients in my diet, especially those found in greens like kale, chard, and collard greens. Or those in cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. And trying to toss everything in a smoothie can make for one expensive (and potentially nasty tasting!) drink.

But I love the idea of powdered greens for a quick on the go nutritional boost. They are a tremendous addition to any nutrition regime, especially a vegan one. However, blending some dirt-like tasting green concoction with water often makes me gag. Minerals help the body function at optimal levels, and at the very least, add a mineral water a day to your regime.

Like vitamins, minerals are an essential component to help your body run smoothly. Without essential minerals such as calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur, your body can not function properly and perform all of its cellular work such as exchanging oxygen and fuel from the blood stream to your cells. You may feel tired, hungry, a little "off" and not understand why. Minerals are found in the foods we eat, but also in the ground -- dirt is one way that minerals get sucked up into the root systems of the plants and earth growers like carrots, turnips, onions and more. A balanced diet is critical to maintain optimal mineral health in our bodies. They perform a multitude of functions including regulate hormones, maintain a healthy nervous system and help your cells operate throughout the day.
Macro and micro minerals are both found in nutrient-dense foods such as leafy greens, vegetables, roots, legumes, and even whole grain. Higher doses of macro minerals (think sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc.) are needed than micro minerals such as selenium, iron, zinc, fluoride, iodine.
We found a helpful chart to help you identify what’s what.

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Because of today’s grab-and-go culture of eating, many people are not getting a proper amount of these essential minerals, especially magnesium, iron and iodine.
You may want to consult with a nutritionist to help you asses which minerals you are lacking most and ensure your green supplement provides those. Also, trust your source. Here are three brands I’ve used in the past and vetted well.

This easy-to-make creamy drink masks that, well, green taste of a veggie-based mineral powder. (A few of my favorite brands are Healthforce, Sunfood, and Dr. Schulze’s)

It's easy to bring on your commute, or put in the fridge at work and sip throughout the day.These rich, sweet and creamy drinks almost make it feel like a drinkable dessert or even a light meal replacement for when you've had a big day of eating the day before or are trying to hold off for a celebratory evening dinner.

Try either of these two variations on the same drink for when you're in the mood fo a chocolate drink or more inspired by a mint flavor! And pssst—don’t tell but you can even make these without the green powder for a protein-filled sip. 

Creamy Green Dream Mineral Drinks

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Cashew Milk Base

¾ cup raw cashews soaked overnight
10 -12 oz. cold filtered water
2 tsp. Mineral Green powder 

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Creamy Mint Dream – ADD:

1-2 drops peppermint essential oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup OR 5-10 drops liquid stevia
Dash Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

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Creamy Salted Caramel Chocolate Dream – ADD:

1 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
¼ tsp. Himalayan pink salt
5-10 drops English Toffee Stevia 

Store in a glass bottle and chill well before drinking. Keep in refrigerator for no more than three days.

Your Guide to The Best Plant-Based Protein Powders: We Tasted 9 Bestsellers

1. Vega Protein & Greens

The base of Vega is pea protein, brown rice protein, and sacha inchi (a seed eaten like a nut) protein. One serving of Vega has only 80 calories and 15g of protein. Vega's protein powder is a great choice for anyone who struggles to get enough greens in their diet. The proteins are combined with alfalfa powder, spinach powder, broccoli powder, and organic kale powder giving you 2 servings of veggies in one scoop. The taste of this protein was described as "artificial" whereas others thought it tasted like birthday cake. We recommend adding this into a smoothie, but luckily all you have to add is fruit since Vega has the greens covered. This low-cal powder won't break the bank at $1.20 a scoop.

2. TB12 Vanilla Plant-Based Protein

Tom Brady's TB12 pea protein powder consists of simple ingredients with no additives. For anyone who is allergic to soy or nuts, TB12's pea protein-based powder is a great option. It's hard to say no to this powder with 24 grams of protein. Don't hide this powder in a smoothie, mix it with water and you will immediately see a thick consistency resembling a vanilla milkshake. Not only does it look like a milkshake, but it tastes like it too. TB12 recommends drinking this powder up to 20 minutes after a workout for the best recovery. You have to order this powder on the TB12 website since it isn't available in stores or on Amazon. Less than $2 per serving!

3. PlantFusion Complete Protein

PlantFusion is a blend of peas, artichokes, algae, and superfoods. The deep yellow-gold coloring of PlantFusion's protein powder set this brand apart from the rest. Some testers found the flavor wasn't overwhelming, making it a great addition to a smoothie, whereas others felt the powder was sweet. For those of you who aren't a fan of Stevia, buy the natural, no-stevia blend. This protein powder is low in fat, and carbs, making it a great choice for anyone wanting to lose weight while still getting enough protein (21g a serving). PlantFusion's powder has a sweetness not everyone enjoyed since Stevia is an ingredient. $1.20 a scoop, makes this a deal!

4.Vivo Perform

Vivo Perform is the most superfood-packed protein powder of this bunch. Athletes will appreciate this protein powder made of pea protein, hemp protein, plant-based BCAA (branched-chain amino acids), reishi mushrooms, acai berries, lucuma fruit powder, maca powder, and turmeric extract. Vivo Perform is $59 on Amazon so go straight to their website for a cheaper price at $51 for the pouch pictured below. With 25g of protein and complete amino acid profile helps athletes to build, perform, recover, and absorb. If you want a quick protein drink after a workout, use a shaker bottle when mixing or this powder will stick to the sides of the cup. In the mood for a protein-filled breakfast? Add to your oatmeal or smoothie bowl with this recipe.

5. Elevate Plant-Based Performance Protein

Elevate is a pea and hemp protein-based powder that also is made with sweet potato powder. For anyone looking to convert from whey protein powders, Elevate is the plant-based protein for you. This powder is meant to be used in beverages such as smoothies. The thin consistency doesn't mix well with water and becomes chalky. If you aren't in the mood for a protein smoothie, add a scoop to your pancake batter. For a complete recipe check out Elevate's Chocolate Chip Banana Protein Pancakes. This powder is another affordable choice at $1.60 a scoop.

6. Momentous Absolute Zero

Momentous protein powder is a combination of pea and rice protein concentrate. Testers liked the initial scent of mint and thought it was refreshing. This powder is perfect for anyone who likes sweeter drinks. Momentous powders are NSF International Certified for Sport, which means the product label is 100% accurate and there are no banned substances present in this powder. This is one of the pricier protein powders at $60 a tub but is worth it for athletes looking for a clean and effective post-workout powder. We recommend either mixing with water or adding to a smoothie for a more nutrient-dense drink. The priciest powder of the bunch at $3 per serving.

7. Garden of Life

Garden of Life is made of pea, buckwheat, amaranth sprout, and brown rice. We didn't love the green color of the powder or the way it smelled but once we mixed it with water, it tasted surprisingly good. Garden of Life is the easiest to mix with water, plan-based milk or in a smoothie. The vanilla flavor isn't overpowering so you can add this to any combination of smoothies and not be overwhelmed by the taste of vanilla. And it's only $1.20 per scoop!

8. Tone It Up Plant-Based Protein Vanilla

Tone It Up protein powder is a blend of sunflower seeds and pea protein. The minute we opened the container, everyone loved the smell of this powder. Tone It Up is known to be a great addition to baked goods. The next time you make your protein muffins, add Tone It Up to the mix. We don't suggest adding this powder with just water but instead a smoothie with fruits and veggies.

9. Nuzest Clean Lean Protein

The name of this powder says it all. Nuzest is the cleanest protein powder since it is made out of only 3 simple ingredients: Pea protein isolate, natural vanilla flavor, and thaumatin (a low-calorie sweetener). For $45, you are supposed to get 20 servings out of one container, but at a glance that didn't seem accurate. This high protein, low carb powder is perfect to blend with plant-based milk and ice. The consistency is smooth and adds thickness to any protein shake.