With all of the heavy comfort food and holiday treats, go green before you see red looking at the scale this season. Smoothies are great breakfast and snack options that keep you light on your feet and are easily taken on the go. What’s this got to do with a gardener, you ask? Greens – and lots of them. I planted beds of hearty winter greens that will flourish all winter long in the garden, thanks to frost cloths when the temps dive below 20 degrees. Lacinato kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, watercress, and mustard greens are waving in the chilly breeze, begging for a purpose. The benefit of growing these yourself is that you always have a handful of leaves at your fingertips and can skip the bagged goods for the freshest pick.

Snip a small bunch to throw in the blender with your favorite nonfat or 2% Greek yogurt, fruit, natural sweetener, and milk or juice. An easy recipe ratio for busy mornings is a ½ cup of yogurt + one fruit + tiny bit of sweetener (tsp of agave nectar or honey) + handful of your choice of green leaves + ½ cup of milk (soy, almond, 2%, or light coconut). Blur into smooth oblivion and enjoy as you rush to work.

Key Greens to Pick Fresh from the Garden:

  • Kale: Lacinato, Red Russian
  • Collards
  • Mustard Greens – for a spicy kick!
  • Spinach: I love Red Cardinal for color, and Emu for winter performance
  • Swiss chard: Bright Lights
  • Lettuces: any variety. I’m enjoying Crisp Mint and Red Romaine.
  • Cress: loves the cool weather and adds a peppery jolt

Try these smoothie favorites in the Cooking Light recipe collection. I’ve found that adding a bit of green to most any smoothie recipes goes, er, smoothly and usually unnoticed, but packs in extra nutrition. Cheers to a smooth holiday season and no scale surprises! Let us know what fresh garden goods are on your menu via the hashtag #CLPickFresh.