A friend of mine routinely shows up with her breakfast at our early-morning meetings. It’s in a thermos, and it’s NOT earthy brown and filling the room with tantalizing coffee aromas. Rather, it’s a shocking bright green, but still she drinks it.

Finally, I asked her what she puts in her incredibly healthy-looking drink: Spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, cilantro, parsley and some fruit were the answer. I hesitated to try it; these things seem wrong as breakfast food. Eggs, toast, yogurt, fruit? Yes. Celery, cucumber, cilantro, kale? No.

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On the other hand, healthy is healthy. Our household is no stranger to vegetables and smoothies, so it’s not such a stretch to try both in one combination. I started slowly: Spinach with a banana and raspberry smoothie. It turned brown, but it was delicious. My husband made a face. The girls wouldn’t even taste it.

Then I tried all green or lightly colored fruit: Spinach, banana, apple, kiwi. And then I started to go crazy. Every morning a different combination until before long, celery, cucumber and cilantro weren’t all that big of a leap, and in they went. It was like having salad for breakfast, but with a poached egg or two, it’s actually quite lovely. Light, easy on the body and a great way to wake up the digestive system.

I’m hooked. What follows are a few of my favorite combinations. I’ve included a few fruit-only combos, just in case you can’t get past the idea of bright green. But truly, try it. You’ll feel great! You might like what the scale says too.

I find that a banana and a little honey in almost all of them take the edge off the vegetables, but you might even get braver than I and go fructose-free! Lemon juice helps absorb all of the mineral and vitamin goodness of the greens. Most of these recipes make 3 cups. I typically have 2 cups in the morning with an egg or two, and then save the other cup for one of the girls or a snack for myself.

Let me know what combinations you love the most; www.athomeatsea.com.

SPINACH, BANANA, PEANUT BUTTER AND HONEY

2 cups lightly packed kale or spinach

1 ripe banana

3 tablespoons natural peanut butter

1 teaspoon raw honey

11/2 cups almond or skim milk

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

Makes: 2 cups

BLUEBERRY, BANANA AND HONEY

2 cups blueberries

1 ripe banana

2 tablespoons raw honey

11/2 cup almond milk

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

Makes: Almost 4 cups

SPINACH, BANANA AND APPLE

2 cups lightly packed spinach

1 ripe banana

1/2 apple, skin on and cored

2 inches of half peeled cucumber, about a fourth of a cucumber

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon raw honey

1 cup cold water

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

Makes: 3 cups

SPINACH, CUCUMBER AND CILANTRO

2 cups light packed spinach

1 ripe banana

5 ounces partially peeled cucumber, about a third of a cucumber

1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro, stems and all

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup water

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

Makes: 3 cups

SPINACH, STRAWBERRY AND BANANA

2 cups lightly packed spinach

1 ripe banana

11/2 cups strawberries, hulled

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon raw honey

1 cup cold water

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

Makes: 3 cups

SPINACH, KALE AND STRAWBERRY

1 cup lightly packed spinach

2 cups lightly packed kale

1 ripe banana

1 cup strawberries, hulled

11/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon raw honey

1 cup water

Makes: 3 cups

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

WATERMELON, CUCUMBER AND CILANTRO

4 ounces watermelon

5 ounces partially peeled cucumber, about a third of a cucumber

1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and stems

Juice from 1 large orange or 11/4 cup orange juice

1 cup lightly packed spinach

1/2 ripe banana

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

Makes: 3 cups

SPINACH, CELERY, CUCUMBER AND WATERMELON

1 stalk celery

2 cups lightly packed spinach

1 ripe banana

5 ounces partially peeled cucumber, about a third of a cucumber

1 cup watermelon cut into chunks

1 tablespoon raw honey

Juice from half of an orange or 1/2 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup water

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

Makes: 3 cups

Anne Mahle of Rockland is the author of “At Home, At Sea.” She can be reached at:

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