The other day while browsing the internet, I received an ad for pre-made smoothie mixes that are shipped to your door. At this moment, a few things crossed my mind:
- Wow, they know me well! Ads sure are effective (and creepy these days)
- That’s a great idea! But why wouldn’t I just do that at home
- Hey! I’m going to just do that at home!
So thank you random smoothie company whose name I’ve already forgotten for paying for those ads and inspiring me to level up my prep ahead game just in time for starting the Whole Life Challenge.
If I haven’t sold you on this concept yet, here’s the cool thing about making your smoothie mixes ahead of time to make a fast breakfast (or snack!) even faster:
- You get to make something cute and useful using mason jars: Always my number one factor in deciding what to do. Read no further if that’s also enough for you. Or if you came here from Pinterest (see comment about also enough for you).
- There are less barriers to making a healthy food choice in the moment: This is a major strategy that I use in both healthy eating and workouts. I have bought many workout plans online despite the fact that the internet hosts countless free workout content because I highly value having an expert I trust tell me what to do each day so that I’m not left both deciding whether to workout and what to do, my role is just to do it. The same holds true with eating healthy – if there are healthy things ready to go in my fridge, it becomes a lot harder to make the “worse” choice in the moment. Even more importantly, it discourages me from eating crap out of convenience when I’d rather save my indulgences for things that are super tasty and totally “worth it”.
- These smoothies taste delicious: Here’s the thing, there’s no one right way to eat healthy. And for each strategy or diet you read about, there are hundreds of people who disagree or have another answer. For me, the most important thing to consider is whether or not you enjoy the way you’re eating or can find ways to enjoy it in the long term. When focusing on eating healthier, smoothies fill an important gap for me – the one where I’m looking for something kind of sweet and indulgent without all the junk! This recipe and strategy fit the bill.
- Smoothies like these are jam packed with nutrition: There are lots of ways to pack nutrition into your diet, many of which I’ll be covering in the coming weeks and months or you’ve heard me talk about in person in the past. Smoothies are not necessary, but they sure are an easy way to make sure that your breakfasts or snacks have a giant dose of the nutrients your body needs to function optimally. Just in this little mason jar of goodness you’ll find things like:
- Omega 3s and other healthy fats from the chia or flax seeds
- Iron and calcium from the spinach or kale
- Antioxidants from the fruit
- Potassium from the bananas
The Anatomy of a Smoothie Jar
The smoothie recipe I’ve outlined in this post? It’s freaking delicious. It strikes just the right balance of creamy, smooth, bright green goodness and it’s one that I’ll continue making over and over. But if you, like me, tire of the same thing day after day, I’ve outlined the magical “smoothie jar” formula just for you so that you can take this technique and make it your own. Here’s what it comes down to:
- Build your jar:
- Start with a wide-mouth pint size mason jar
- About 1 cup “creamy” element: Fool proof options here are bananas. Avocados (or half bananas and half avocados) work well too. In a pinch, I’ve also used home-roasted pumpkin puree, which is both labor intensive and not as sweet, but good if you have to avoid the other two for some reason.
- 1/2 cup “flavoring” fruits: These are the things that really give your smoothie character. For this purpose I like using pre-frozen fruits because they hold their “separateness” a bit better in the jar. Think: pineapple, mango, strawberries, blueberries.
- Fill to top with frozen greens: Whole Foods Market sells this awesome frozen curly blue kale that I used, but frozen spinach is a great option too. I’d stay away from the collards for my taste, but to each their own!
- Sprinkle on some seeds: Did you know chia and flax seeds are actually best stored in the freezer anyways? So why not ad them to your smoothie jar ahead of time and keep them super fresh? I use a tablespoon of whole chia seeds, but a tablespoon of ground flax would be equally good.
- When ready to make your smoothie:
- Pour contents of jar into blender. Using a butter knife to run between the jar and fruit helps separate things.
- Grab your favorite milk option (I like Pacific Foods Coconut Milk and Califia Almond Milk – both of which are carageenan free). Add 1 cup to the blender.
- Add more milk as needed (mine took about 1 1/4 cup plus tamping in the Vitamix)
Start with this recipe, then make it your own!
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1/2 cup frozen fruit (I used 1/4 cup pineapple and 1/4 cup mango)
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds or ground flax
- Fill the rest of the wide-mouth pint mason jar with frozen greens (spinach or kale)
- 1-1 1/2 cups alternative milk
- Layer ingredients in mason jar. Cover with lid and freeze until ready to make smoothie.
- Once you're ready, dump ingredients into the blender, separating them from the jar with a butter knife as needed. Add 1 cup milk. Blend. Stir as needed. Add more milk, up to 1/2 cup more, until you reach desired consistency. Serve back into the mason jar to serve.