Smoothies rock. They can help you hit dietary goals no matter how busy your lifestyle. There are a couple rules to follow:
Make them healthy
Make them in batches and freeze
It’s easy to get carried away with ingredients. It can also get fairly expensive. Stick with only a handful of items that will go into each batch. I find that an even ratio between fruits and vegetables works well. To save money stick with fresh items that are in season at your local grocery store. That’s not always possible in the Midwest; fresh berries are pricey in the colder months. When prices are high, check the the freezer section. Make sure you read labels – many frozen fruits have sugar added.
Where smoothies have helped me the most is with my green, leafy vegetable consumption. Before smoothies, I felt like rabbit – chewing greens for a half hour at lunchtime. That got old real fast. So, I always throw in some kale or cabbage into my smoothies.
There are a few vegetables that will sweeten your concoction. I find that carrots, parsnips and beets give a good sweet, earthy flavor. Besides, how often do you get to eat a raw beet?
To further sweeten my smoothies I use apple juice as the liquid base. Water just doesn’t cut it for me, yet. Apple juice does increase the amount of sugar and calories per serving. A scoop or two of vanilla protein powder helps the earthiness, also. And most of us macro counters know how difficult it is to get in all of those grams of protein.
If you are counting calories or macros, I’ve found a great resource: SmoothieGains.com.
The list of ingredients is extremely comprehensive and the nutritional values are spot on. I’ve found that most of my 16-ounce smooties fall between 250 and 300 calories.
Batching smooties helps on a few fronts. The first for me is waste. Buying a ton of vegetables and making smoothies daily always resulted in throwing away a bit of that produce. That’s a waste of money amongst other things.
A standard-sized blender yields almost four smooties. Before investing in a plastic funnel, a full blender would only get me three. There was a lot of spilling going on. It takes me about half an hour to prepare, blend and bottle 12 to 20 smoothies.
At first, I would fill reusable and disposable bottles from other beverages I consume. After a few weeks of this, it became cumbersome. I ended up not batching as often.
A bit of research and I think I’ve found the perfect, and cost-effective, solution. I buy empty juice bottles and caps in bulk – 50 to 100 at a time. The cost is about $.35 per bottle. I reuse a bottle once or twice, so it drives the cost down.