The skinny on smoothie shortcuts
Now that you know how to make a smoothie, and which greens to use for smoothies, it’s time to face the reality that sometimes it’s just not convenient or easy to plan it out or find the time. Blending smoothies is not an exact science like baking is, and so it takes some practice and determination to get it right every time. I thought it might be a good idea to share some smoothie shortcuts and other tips and tricks that can make a huge difference in preparation, execution and taste.
#1: Freeze everything in baggies first
For me, there’s nothing worse than a kitchen counter filled with greens and melting fruits, stems and leaves everywhere as I try to figure out the ingredients I need, and always in a hurry.
One of the best time-saving smoothie hacks is to spend an hour or so, one night a week, and prepare your ingredients. Wash, chop, and freeze all the organic items and put them in individual baggies or containers.
Freezing the ingredients in advance means they will stay fresh, and you are actually adding volume to the smoothie, which may cut down on the amount of ice you’ll need.
This technique of freezing in advance also allows you to take your time and select correct amounts and portions for each smoothie. Think of how much time you’ll save in the morning!
This is one of my favorite smoothie breakfast ideas that you can take to work, or eat at home:
Blend all ingredients until they form a light pink color! Pour smoothie into a bowl and use your topping of choice. Some of my favorites: chia seeds, goji berries, bits of peanuts or almonds, or if you have a hankering for something sweet, try some dark chocolate mini chips.
#2: Add some yogurt
Doesn’t matter if you are plant-strong or not. You can find a yogurt either made from dairy or almonds or soy.
Make sure it is plain yogurt or one with very little sugar. Adding 1/2 or 3/4 of the container of yogurt to your smoothie will make it extra thick, and add an extra serving of protein, which is usually enough to make the smoothie a meal replacement.
Just make sure you’re adding plain and unsweetened yogurt, as many flavored varieties add a lot of unnecessary sugar.
#3: Steam dense ingredients
Carrots, sweet potatoes and beets make excellent ingredients for smoothies, but depending on your blender, can break the blade or take forever to blend into a mixture that has a lot of small pieces in it. Nothing worse than chewing a smoothie!
So I find that lightly steaming or microwaving those dense or hard ingredients makes a huge difference and is a great way to soften them and ultimately make them easier to blend.
I’m usually not a fan of the microwave, but if it means the difference between blending up a delicious smoothie, versus skipping a meal or making an unhealthy choice, I say go ahead and zap the veggie for a few moments to soften it up.
When we are in a hurry to run out the door, sometimes we have to sacrifice one thing for the other. It happens all the time, so don’t beat yourself up over it.
Pro Tip: If you freeze your ingredients in advance, make sure to chop up the denser ingredients into tiny pieces. Grating them is a good idea too.
The veggie bullet is a life-saver for me, and will save so much time in your smoothie prep. You can chop and slice your veggies and fruits into small pieces in about 3 minutes or less. How great is that? You can then add the ingredients to your baggies and freeze without an issue.
#4: Save smoothie leftovers in ice cube trays
More often than not, I have left-over smoothie that I can’t finish and don’t want to waste. What to do? I have started pouring the leftovers into ice cube trays! It’s genius. Why? Because you can then add those frozen smoothie cubes to your next smoothie — or next time you want a healthy snack.
Just crack a few cubes out of the tray and throw into your blender with some liquid, and maybe half a banana for creaminess, and you’ll have an instant smoothie! No chopping, and no waste. It’s a smoothie-win!
#5: Discover GreenBlender!
In spite of all these posts about how to make the perfect smoothie, how to select the right greens and how to prepare, some of us just don’t have the time, and because of work or other obligations, are caught short and not able to make the best choices for living a plant-strong life.
To those of you, I say, here is your magic elixir. GreenBlender is a smoothie delivery service. Yes, you read that right. Each week, pre-portioned ingredients and recipes are sent to your home in a box, which includes everything you need to make 5 different recipes, with 2 servings in each recipe, for a total of 10 smoothies per week.
GreenBlender sources ingredients from organic farms, green markets, and vendors who pride themselves on sustainable practices.
Here are some FAQs about this great resource:
- What equipment do I need at home?
All you need is a blender and some water, or your liquid of choice. GreenBlender takes care of the rest. Some of the recipes may require a knife or a vegetable peeler, but all the ingredients are pre-measured.
- What is the difference between smoothies and juices?
A smoothie is blended from vegetables, whole pieces of fruit and other ingredients, so that the outcome is a very nutrient-rich, filling and thick shake, including all the fiber from the produce. Juicing involves a juicer (liquid extractor) that separates the juice and the pulp. The juice is very hydrating, but not as filling as a smoothie. The main advantage to blending over juicing, is that the blending process maintains all the fiber and other ingredients, essential for digestion.
- Do I need to buy the ingredients?
GreenBlender delivers your ingredients directly to your home, once a week, and the ingredients are in a refrigerated box.
- What’s in the box?
You can choose from 5 to 11 easy-to-follow recipes with all the nutrition information you need. Each recipe yields two 12-ounce servings, always with farm-fresh organic ingredients. GreenBlender includes hard-to-find superfoods like chia, hempseed, reishi mushrooms, raw cacao, lucuma and matcha.
- I have a small fridge. Will it all fit?
The short answer: Yes!
- What’s the commitment?
There is NO commitment. You can manage your subscription online at any time, or skip a week or cancel. Your choice.
- Okay, what’s it gonna cost?
$4.99 per serving. FREE Shipping. $49.90 Weekly. When you think about how much you will spend on organic produce, and the time it will take you to prep and prepare, especially if you are like me and have very little time, this may be the answer for you, at very little cost.
Bottom line: smoothies are healthy, nutritious, delicious and an easy way to stay plant-strong. If you have the time, then follow the smoothie shortcuts I’ve suggested above.
If you don’t have the time, you can still have power-packed smoothies every day, with GreenBlender. Both options work, and you’ll see that the outlay of cost is about the same! What works for you?