'Tis the season to get blending! Summer is in the air and it’s that time of year when drinking a refreshing smoothie becomes a daily staple! Of course, you can drink smoothies all year round, but on those summer days or nights when it’s too hot to cook or prepare a meal, blending some goodness up in a matter of seconds is just that much more desirable!
I always have a smoothie in my weekly meal prep rotation, no matter what time of year it is, but I find in the summer I drink them far more often so I always have a variety of fruits and vegetables prepped and ready to go.
Prepping for smoothies also allows me to take advantage of the amazing produce that becomes available in Ontario in the Summer. Since the winter months are so long here, we really only having the opportunity to buy colourful local produce for 2-3 months a year. This is when I love to stock up on peaches, berries and zucchini! Fruits and vegetables that are packed and stored properly can last up to 3 months in your freezer, so take advantage of the abundance of local produce available in the Summer and stock up!
Not only are smoothies a great way to get a lot of phytonutrients into your diet, (especially if you don’t love eating lots of greens), but they are also a great snack or meal option that is quick, easy and perfect to enjoy on-the-go! When preparing your smoothies for your weekly prep, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind.
A balanced smoothie should contain:
Adding in additional greens to any smoothie combination is also a total WIN! Anything from kale, spinach, beet greens, swiss chard, collard greens or even parsley. It will probably turn your pretty pink smoothie into a darker brown sludge colour but I promise, it tastes just as good and you’re getting in the most important phytonutrient of all – the greens!
When preparing your smoothie ingredients, it's also in your best interest to keep your sugars in check – yes, even the natural sugars from fruit!
I typically try to stay within a 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of fruit per smoothie. This helps keep my blood sugar stabilized and keeps me full for longer throughout the day. You won't experience the crash and burn at 3pm with a good balanced smoothie!
Finally, find new ways to get more variety and vegetables into your blender! There are so many vegetables that don’t alter the taste or texture of your smoothies and just add more nutrients. Some of my favourites are cauliflower, zucchini, beets, broccoli and sweet potato. Some of these vegetables do require a little more prep upfront, but come with loads of benefits and make some tasty smoothies!
How to Prep + Store your Smoothie Ingredients:
Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
If you're using frozen packed berries from the grocery store, you're pretty much good to go! If you're using fresh berries, I would recommend rinsing and washing them and placing them into a re-useable bag and storing them lying flat in the freezer.
Wash and scrub your zucchini! Once washed and dried, cut them into 1/2 inch coins and place into a bowl. Add the zucchini to a double boiler/steamer pot and steam until the zucchini is soft and fork tender. Depending on how big your pot is, you may need to do a couple rounds of steaming. If there are too many zucchini in the steamer, they will not cook evenly.
Try not to overlap and have the zucchini coins on a single layer. Once tender, lay the zucchini coins out on a lined baking tray and place in your freezer overnight. The next day, transfer the frozen zucchini into a reusable bag or glass container. Store them in the freezer until ready to use in your smoothies.
Cut your cauliflower up into small florets. Rinse and wash the chopped cauliflower with water to remove the dirt. Once fully rinsed, add the florets to a double boiler/steamer pot and steam until the cauliflower is soft and fork tender. Depending on how big your pot is, you may need to do a couple rounds of steaming. If there are too many florets in the steamer, they will not cook evenly.
Once tender and steamed, lay the cauliflower florets out onto a lined baking tray. Be sure not to overlap them or else they will freeze in large cauliflower chunks and will be harder to store and blend. Place the prepared baking tray in your freezer overnight. The next day, transfer the frozen cauliflower into a reusable bag or glass container. Store them in the freezer until ready to use in your smoothies.
If you have an avocado that's ripe and ready to go for when it’s time to make a smoothie, you can just cut it up and place it in your blender. But another great way to use up avocado that has to be eaten is mashing it up with a fork and putting it into ice cube trays and freezing it. Freeze overnight and once frozen, pack the avocado cubes into a reusable bag or glass container. Store them in the freezer until ready to use in your smoothies.
Wash and scrub your sweet potatoes and pat them dry. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Pierce them several times all around the potato with a fork. Place them on a lined baking try. Put them in the oven for 45 minutes or until fork tender. Once they are tender, remove from the oven and let them completely cool.
Place them in an airtight container and store in the fridge overnight. The next day, take them out and peel off the skins, chop them up and place in a bowl. Using a fork or masher, mash the sweet potato until it’s a thick creamy texture (it’s ok if it has a couple chunks!). You can either keep the sweet potato mash in the fridge for up to 3 days, or place the mash into ice cubes trays and freeze it. Once frozen, you can store the cubes in a reusable bag or glass container and use when needed.
First, chop off the beet greens and stems, wash, rinse and pat them dry. Don’t throw out those beet greens though! They are a great source of greens to add into smoothies and they contain lots of vitamins and minerals that aren’t too bitter for smoothies. Store them in your refrigerator (or freezer) in a reusable bag or glass container. Then wash and scrub your beets and pat them dry.
You can either store them in a cool dark space for when you’re ready to use them in a smoothie, or cut them into quarters and use a shredder/food processor to break it apart for more easy blending in your smoothie. I would recommend shredding them if you do not have a high-speed blender. Store the shredded beet in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4 days and use when needed.
Chop bananas up into thirds and store on a lined baking tray and let them freezer overnight. Once frozen, place them into reusable bags and store lying down. I like to freeze bananas in larger chunks versus coins because I’ve found in the past, when they are cut too small, they tend to freeze in chunks of coins and it’s hard to remove and break them apart from the reusable bag.
Pineapple and Mango
Chop the fruit up into large chunks, lay out on a prepared baking tray (be sure not to overlap) and keep them on a single layer. Place the tray into the freezer overnight. The next day, transfer the chopped fruit into a reusable bag or glass container. Store them in the freezer until ready to use in your smoothies.
Kale, Spinach or Greens of any kind
Once you have washed and dried your greens, you can roughly chop them up into smaller pieces and either store them in the fridge and use them throughout the week or place them into reuseable bags or glass containers and store them in your freezer until ready to use in your smoothie.
Almond Milk (or any nut/seed-based milk)
If you’ve made homemade nut milk and can’t drink it all before it goes bad, pour your leftovers into ice cube trays and freeze it. Then when you're ready to make a smoothie, you just have to toss a few almond milk cubes into the blender!
Smoothie Prep Takeaways:
How To Store Your Prepped Smoothie Ingredients
There are two ways I like to store my smoothie prep. I have done both and I find they both work great! The first is storing all the essential ingredients separately in your fridge and freezer. When it comes time to make your smoothie, you toss in everything separately and blend. I find this is great for mornings, lunches or dinners when I have a bit more time. I can play around with different combos and just intuitively make a smoothie based off what I feel like sipping on that specific day.
The second kind of storing method is following a smoothie recipe with specific measurements and placing it all into a re-useable sealed bag, then storing those premeasured ingredient bags in the freezer. Then, when it’s time to blend, you just add in your protein powder, liquid and any additional boosters (see below for what I'm talking about).
This works great for days or weeks I have no time in the morning so I can just blend and go. It’s also great if I’m trying out new recipes and I’m not familiar with the specific ingredients and don’t want to have to look it up or pull out the recipe book it’s in. I usually make a couple of them, label them, write down on the bag what liquid and extra boosters are needed and store them for the week! It's such a game changer and saves so much time!
To help you out, I've also put together a shopping list along wtih 5 simple plantiful smoothie recipes to help you prep and blend!
Smoothie Prep Shopping List
Note: This is for 3-4 weeks of 5 plantiful smoothies!
• 3-4 medium zucchini (yellow or green)
• 2 medium large heads of cauliflower
• 3 medium sweet potatoes
• 3 medium beets (get the ones with the beet greens!)
• 3 avocados
• 2 pints of organic blueberries (can also be bought frozen)
• 1 pint of organic raspberries (can also be bought frozen)
• 1 pack of organic strawberries (can also be bought frozen)
• 4-6 bananas
• 2 mangos
• 1 pineapple
• 1 thumb-sized chunk of ginger (optional)
• chocolate + vanilla protein powder (vanilla is fine if you don’t have both)
• 1 cup of ground flax seed
• 1 cup of chia seeds
• almond butter (or your favourite nut butter)
• 2 cups of unsalted raw almonds (for the almond milk) OR you can buy store-bought almond milk
• 4 medjool dates (for the almond milk)
• 1-2 limes
• Cordycep Mushroom Powder
• Reishi Mushroom Powder
• Chlorella or Spirulina
As I mentioned, I created 5 simple plantiful smoothies that will make a great addition to your meal prep smoothie rotation. These 5 balanced smoothies are packed with flavour, vegetables, healthy fats, fibre and protein – everything you want from a smoothie to tide you over to your next meal and to please your palette! There's no directions for the recipes below because all you need to do is throw all of the ingredients into a blender and blend away!
5 Simple Plantiful Smoothies
Blueberry Dreamz Smoothie
Optional additional boosters:
The Green Goddess Kale'in It Smoothie
Optional Additional Boosters:
Hello Sunshine Smoothie
Optional Additional Boosters
The "Unbeetable" Pink Smoothie
Optional additional boosters:
Optional Additional Boosters:
- 1/2 tsp Reishi Mushroom Powder
If you want to continue on the smoothie-making and prep train, there are a ton of great smoothie recipes in the Healthy Breakfast Guide (download your free copy below) including a Triple Berry Coconut Power Smoothie, Detox Smoothie and a Green Tea Smoothie.
You may like to explore some of the other smoothies on the Joyous blog: