As someone who likes to always be looking for the next way to make my life more efficient, I’m always keen to find ways of making sure I get the right amount of fluids and nutrients into my body in order to stay healthy and active longer. I’ve frequently been told by loved ones (and GPs) that I need to drink more water and in order to achieve this I made the step to buy a 500ml water bottle that I now attempt to routinely fill, and consume, 4 times per day. However, what about making sure I get the nutrients I need from my food? It’s not always easy to make sure a balanced diet is in place each week due to the nature of work and family life, but would looking into greens powders help a family keep on top of their nutrition?
In this article, I’ll look more into what exactly greens powders are, where you can get them, how to make them taste better and whether they’re good for the family and kids.
What are greens powders?
Green powders are ground formulations that blend all the natural nutrients from certain superfoods into one. This creates an easy-to-use powder that, in theory, aids wellbeing. Some of the greens powders available in the UK are created with certain outcomes or lifestyles in mind. For example, some powders aim to support the development of an energy-yielding metabolism while others focus on increasing the health of skin, hair, complexion etc.
It is not uncommon for the packaging on some greens powders to feature a range of ingredients, while others are more focussed on the potential benefits of a specific superfood. In the UK, one look at the best greens powder suppliers will show examples of superfood focussed products such as turmeric or spirulina powder.
Who are greens powders for?
Greens powders are most commonly used by those looking to ensure they’re getting the most from their diet. This might be athletes looking to be precise on their intake levels, or busy families and parents like myself looking to make sure they’re not missing t on nutrients because of the hectic nature of a given day’s routine.
Greens powders are usually referred to as “dietary supplements”, just like vitamins and mineral supplements you may already have taken in the past if you have had deficiencies in your body. For example, those who are suffering from anaemia might be prescribed or recommended iron tablets or supplements. Greens powders work in the same way and are made from a blend of powdered vegetables and other plant-based ingredients.
They are typically used by people who are looking to increase their intake of nutrients from vegetables and other plant-based sources. Some common groups of people who may use greens powders include:
- Athletes and fitness enthusiasts: For this group of individuals, greens powders are a convenient and quick way to get a boost of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, before or after a workout. For professional athletes, it is important to check the ingredients carefully to ensure they are permitted within your sport or discipline. Athletic Greens (AG1), is a good example of a greens powder designed with fitness enthusiasts and athletes in mind.
- Vegetarians and vegans: Whilst I’m not vegan, I have found I’m moving more and more to plant-based foods and meat alternatives in my meal planning. However, greens powders can be a good source of nutrients for those avoiding meat as they may find it to be difficult to get from a plant-based diet, such as vitamin B12 and iron.
- Those on the go: Some people, particularly those with a hectic lifestyle, use greens powders as a way to get more nutrients into their diet. If you have a particularly hectic lifestyle or don’t always have time to prepare healthy meals then greens powders can offer a unique way to supplement the nutrient you are getting from your existing diet. It’s important to note that they do not replace a well-balanced meal and I would not suggest developing a lifestyle where you rely on supplements – just use them to support your needs on an occasional basis.
- People with dietary restrictions: There seems to be a larger number of people who are aware of their intolerances and allergies these days, in no small part due to the increased availability of blood analysis allergy testing. Greens powders can be a good option for people with food allergies or sensitivities, as they are often made from allergen-free ingredients, meaning the chances of reactivity in a diet are low.
What are the benefits of drinks or meals made from greens powder?
There are a whole host of recipes for drinks, mixes and meals you can prepare using greens powders in order to make them more appetising. Whilst some greens powders are flavoured to use directly as smoothies or shakes, others are not making them ideal to mix into soups. granolas, cakes and traybakes – for example, these would work great in our vegan flapjack recipe. We’ve laid out below a brief guide to the potential benefits of using greens powders in your drinks and recipes, but as always make sure you’re taking into account your medical needs and conditions and consider if these will impact on your use of greens powder as a supplement.
Lowering Blood Pressure – Many people find a decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure after using greens powders. This means, if you are prone to higher blood pressure, the use of greens powders could result in a blood pressure reading that is lowered, resulting in a happier, healthier lifestyle.
Supporting an Immune System and Cognitive Abilities – Many of the greens powders on the market in the UK will be packed with anti-inflammatory goodness. Properties included in the powders may include Vitamin A or Selenium. As a result, greens powders could be used to help support your immune system in working to fight against diseases and illnesses, such as colds, and potentially cases of flu or Covid. Within most greens powders, you’ll also find Vitamin K. This is a strong vitamin found in kale, spinach, or other leafy greens. The vitamin helps maintain your system which, in turn, can lessen heart problems and potentially also help reduce age-related dementia. Antioxidants that are present in many richly coloured fruit and vegetables are also commonly found in greens pos in the UK, these can fight cell damage and aid in lessening or stopping the development of diabetes and heart disease.
Improved Energy, Digestion and Detoxification – Greens powders can contain green tea extracts, which can assist in boosting energy levels associated with the inclusive caffeine within. Some greens powders also contain pre-and probiotics, assisting the regulation of gut health. In theory, taking a regular dose of these powders will help, in a similar way to a pro-biotic yoghurt, to maintain a healthy gut and immune system.
All of the above benefits are general in nature. It is impossible to write an article catering to all body types, lifestyles, ages, genders and medical conditions. This is why it’s vitally important to realise that greens powders as an amazing, proven supplement that support a healthy diet, but should not be used in isolation or in contradiction to your own GP’s medical direction or advice. Just like varying your fruit, veg and nut intakes in general, greens powders may affect how your metabolism and the digestive system work. This means for some it may change bowel movements and regularity.
When used sensibly and as directed in the brand’s guidance, most greens powders combine blended superfoods, probiotics and digestive enzymes to promote gut health. These can help to give you a natural source of energy to help you focus, hydrate, and stay active throughout the day. Most are 100% plant-based and generally vegan and gluten-free. It’s worth looking for brands of greens powders that have no fillers, added sugar, sweeteners, or artificial ingredients.
Can children/kids take greens powder supplements?
Again, so long as you’re following the guidance of the individual product in combination with any existing medical advice, there’s no reason greens powders cannot be used to supplement the diet of the whole family, no matter the age. However, it is again important to note that any nutritional supplement is not meant to replace a balanced, healthy lifestyle and diet. Greens powders are useful for those with picky palates and tastes and can be used to teach children about the value of the nutrition within different types of leafy greens – hopefully leading to them being more open to trying new tastes and flavours in fruit and veg form.
The boosts to digestion, gut health, immunity and even maintaining a healthy weight and sleep are well worth considering if you are struggling to get those vegetables and green on your plate as often as you probably know you should. So how can you make them taste best for the family?
How to make greens powder taste better for the family?
Enjoying foods such as leafy greens in their raw state is sometimes the best way to get the best from them. However, the individual tastes and preferences of members of a family change and develop at different rates. This means that some members of the family will find kale and spinach tastier than others. Superfoods like acai berry, goji berry, chia seeds and linseeds are easy to use and highly palatable due to their size and flavour but other large items, like kale leaves, are not attractive to younger minds initially.
These powerful foodstuffs are high in nutrients though, so we don’t want the family to miss out on their benefits. The powdered counterparts to these foodstuffs are almost as good and more adaptable for the preferences of a family if used in recipes.
You could try mixing the powders with other nuts and dried fruits for a delicious, vitamin-rich trail mix or granola or work them into your favourite cakes and bakes in order to pop them into lunchboxes and picnic bags.
Another option is to add them in sensible doses to yoghurt or ice cream for an extra hit of nutrients with a sweet flavour. This is a common way many shakes, smoothies and milks made with dairy free alternatives are getting extra nutrients into their products and our diets. Pea milk is a great example of how brands are challenging traditional concepts at the breakfast table.
There are many ways to incorporate a greens powder into your family’s diet. Here are a few ideas from us at Savvy Dad HQ:
- Add a scoop to your breakfast smoothies: Mix a scoop of greens powder into your favourite smoothie recipe or flavoured milk. This will give you a quick and easy extra boost of nutrients.
- Mix into water or juice: Stirring a scoop of greens powder into your next glass of water or juice is a simple way to consume it. We prefer using hot water with a dash of lemon juice, honey or sliced ginger also as a nice way to end the day.
- Add your greens powder to soups or sauces: Mix your scoop of greens powder into soups, sauces, or other dishes as a way to boost their nutrient content. This can be a simple and unnoticed addition to highly flavoured dishes like curries, shakshuka, or slow cooker dishes.
- Use in baking: Some greens powders can be used in baking recipes, such as muffins or energy bars, as a way to add nutrients to your baked goods. This is also a great way of using up leftovers and keeping on top of your ingredients and store cupboards.
- Sprinkle on salads: This must have been how the Waldorf Salad was invented, but a quick sprinkle of a small amount of greens powder on top of a salad or grain/Budda bowl, is another way to add a nutrient boost.
Whatever your reason for beginning to look into greens powders, I hope you’ve seen that they can be incredibly versatile, used with the whole family, and when used as directed support a vibrant, nutrient-boosting menu for a busy family on the go. The international brands we’ve had recommended to us the most are Athletic Greens and SuperGreen Tonik.