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Aug 10, 2018 BY Jennifer Barr

Guest Post: Simple Smoothie Tips To Make Your Morning Easier

—  found in  Well-being  —

'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:

  • A healthy source of fat (avocado, coconut butternut butter etc)
  • Fiber (ground flax or fiber-rich fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas and sweet potato)
  • Protein (protein powder, hemp seeds, nut butter, nuts, chia seeds etc)

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.

Zucchini

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.

Cauliflower

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.

Avocado

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.

Sweet Potatoes

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.

Beets

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.

Promo Block

Bananas

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:

  • Always label your re-useable bags or containers (with a piece of tape and a sharpie!). Label what is in it, along with the date you placed it into the freezer. This will help you keep your bags organized and remind you when it was placed in the fridge. All prepped smoothie ingredients should be consumed within 3 months.

  • When using reuseable bags, lay them flat so they store better. This also keeps the frozen fruit and vegetables less chunky and easier to blend when it comes to smoothie making.

  • Patience is key! Make sure all your fruits and vegetables have freezed entirely before storing them in re-useable bags and containers. Otherwise, they will just clump together and be harder to use when it’s time to make a smoothie.

  • Try to rotate your smoothie ingredients so you don’t get bored of the same flavours and textures and ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients in your diet. Incorporating vegetables into your smoothies that you don’t like eating in salads or other dishes is a great way to get them into your diet.

  • Use silicone trays for your avocado and sweet potato frozen cubes so all you have to do is pop them out of the container when ready to use.

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)

• spinach

• kale

• chocolate + vanilla protein powder (vanilla is fine if you don’t have both)

• 1 cup of ground flax seed

• 1 cup of chia seeds

• turmeric

• raw cacao powder

• almond butter (or your favourite nut butter)

2 cans of coconut milk

• 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

Optional Boosters:

• Cordycep Mushroom Powder

• Reishi Mushroom Powder

• Ashwaganda

• Green Superfood 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:

  • For an extra boost of greens, add in a handful of spinach
  • 1/2 tsp Ashwaganda

The Green Goddess Kale'in It Smoothie 

  • 4-5 kale leaves (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup spinach (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I LOVE Genuine Health's fermented vegan proteins+)
  • 1/2 cup frozen zucchini
  • 1 cup almond milk (or your favourite nut milk)
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 2-3 frozen avocado cubes
  • 1/4 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/3 banana (fresh or frozen)

Optional Additional Boosters:

  • 1 tsp chlorella or spirulina
  • 1/2 scoop Genuine Health Vegan greens+ O
  • 1/2 inch chunk fresh ginger

Hello Sunshine Smoothie

Optional Additional Boosters

The "Unbeetable" Pink Smoothie

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like to use Genuine Health’s fermented vegan vanilla proteins+)
  • 1 cup nut milk
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 small beet (about 1/3 cup chopped or grated if you do not have a high-speed blender)
  • 1/2 cup frozen zucchini
  • 1/2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of mixed frozen strawberries and raspberries
  • 1/4 cup of chopped mango or peach (fresh or frozen)
  • a large handful of chopped beet greens
  • 1 tbsp of ground flax seed
  • 4-5 ice cubes

Optional additional boosters:

  • 1/2 cup spinach for extra greens
  • 1/2 tsp Cordyceps Mushroom Powder

Choco-Lover Smoothie

  • 1 scoop vanilla or chocolate protein powder (I like to use Genuine Health’s fermented vegan proteins+ powders)
  • 3/4 cup frozen zucchini
  • 1/3 avocado or 2-3 frozen avocado cubes
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp almond butter or favourite nut butter
  • 1/3 banana (frozen or fresh)

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:

Aug 10, 2018 BY Jennifer Barr
16 Comments
Brianna   •   August 14, 2018

I get my blender, cups, and straws out the night beforehand put a sticky note with the ingredients I’m using so it’s a quick process. I always rinse my blender immediately with hot water so cleanup is easy so when I get home from work im not left scrubbing leftover smoothie off the blender from the morning. Prep is key!

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   August 14, 2018

Jeanette F.   •   August 14, 2018

I love this article, Jennifer, thank you so much, it is so helpful!

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   August 14, 2018
Jennifer B.   •   August 14, 2018

Cassie   •   August 14, 2018

Do you have recommendations on resuable bags and where to buy them? Thanks for the great tips!

Reply

Joanne   •   August 14, 2018

What brand are the freezer bags in the photos?

Reply
Jennifer B.   •   August 14, 2018

Coralee K.   •   August 20, 2018

I noticed all these smoothies use protein powder. Would these be acceptable for children? I always worry about giving kids protein powder. Could you leave it out or substitute something else?

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   August 21, 2018
Coralee K.   •   August 21, 2018

Lori   •   August 21, 2018

I love this post! So may great ideas... I'm going to start prepping for my morning smoothies from now on!

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   August 21, 2018

Savita   •   August 23, 2018

I have read that cut up fruits and vegetables lose water soluble vitamin like Vitamin C. Is that true?

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   August 23, 2018

SAVITA S.   •   August 25, 2018

I agree Rachel :) Thanks.

Reply

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