Welcome to the first ever #AKSmoothieWeek! Over the next few days, I’m going to be sharing nourishing smoothie recipes that can easily be prepared ahead of time to save time and to make sure you always have your freezer stocked with a healthy on-the-go breakfast or fuel-boosting post workout snack. The best part? My smoothie recipe have no sugar or sweeteners added, they’re creative and I’m going to give plenty of options on what you can add to make them even more nutritious (if that’s your thing!)
Before we get to the smoothie recipes though, we’re going to be talking all of my tips and tricks for making healthy smoothies and how to easily prep them! LET’S DO IT.
Investing in a good blender
I believe that investing in a high-powered blender is important to making delicious smoothies (I currently have a Vitamix!). Don’t worry though, you can still use an inexpensive blender and get great results; however, a high-powered blender will help to break down the fruits and veggies to get that perfect creamy smoothie consistency. You can shop a few blender options I recommend at various price points at the end of this post!
Tips for making smoothies
Here are a few of my favorite tips I like to share in regards to making the best creamy, healthy smoothies:
1. Using frozen fruit is best as it helps keeps the smoothie cold and thick. Sometimes ice doesn’t blend as well, so it’s best to skip unless absolutely necessary. Instead of ice, try using 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower.
2. Don’t be afraid to add more liquid if your smoothie is too thick or won’t fully blend. High powered blenders tend to blend frozen fruit much better, so if you have a regular or personal size blender, you may need to add more milk.
3. Start the blender on low speed, then gradually increase to high to help blend all ingredients. Finally end with the blender on low speed.
4. If a smoothie doesn’t taste sweet enough for your liking, you can add a 1/2 tablespoon of honey, pure maple syrup or 1 pitted Medjool date.
5. Feel free to use any milk you’d like in smoothie recipes according to your preferences. Almond milk tends to have a neutral taste in smoothies, coconut milk will add a more tropical and creamy flavor, and regular milk will add a boost of protein.
Adding extra nutrition to your smoothies
You can enhance any smoothie by adding additional nutritious ingredients to really make it your own. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little! Here are a few suggestions that you can add to any smoothie:
- oats: to add a little heartiness to your smoothie and to help thicken it, feel free to add in 1/3 cup oats. Do not use steel cut oats as they will not blend well.
- matcha: if you’re a green tea lover, you can add a teaspoon of matcha to your smoothie for green color, antioxidants and earthy flavor.
- flaxseed meal: this is one of my favorite ingredients to add to smoothies for a little boost of fiber and minerals, and is especially great for nursing mamas as flaxseed can help increase milk supply. Usually a tablespoon is plenty! Here’s a brand I love.
- chia seeds: feel free to add in a tablespoon of chia seeds to your smoothie for a boost of healthy fats and fiber.
- hemp seeds: if you’ve been wondering what to do with those hemp seeds lurking in your cupboard, feel free to throw in a tablespoon into your smoothie for a boost of healthy fats, omegas and minerals.
- unsweetened cacao powder: personally, I prefer to use cacao powder over regular cocoa powder, as it contains more minerals such as magnesium and has a richer chocolate flavor. I recommend starting with a 1/2 tablespoon and increasing to 1 full tablespoon if you’d like.
- spinach: if you’re looking to get more greens in your smoothie, try adding a cup or two of raw or cooked spinach. You’ll never be able to taste it, but just know that it may change the color of your smoothie to brown depending on what other fruit you use.
- protein: Easily add more protein to a smoothie by adding 1/2 cup greek yogurt or 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder. I recommend Vital Protein collagen peptides or Bob’s Red Mill Plant Based Vanilla Protein Powder.
- nut or seed butter: another great way to add protein, healthy fats and creaminess to your smoothie is by adding in a tablespoon of your favorite nut or seed butter. Powdered peanut butter is also great for getting rich peanut butter flavor.
- avocado: add healthy fats and create a thick, creamy smoothie by adding ripe avocado. Usually 1/4 or 1/2 of an avocado will be sufficient and also help to keep you satisfied thanks to those healthy fats.
- frozen cauliflower: feel free to throw in a cup of frozen cauliflower to thicken your smoothie and get extra veggies in. You won’t even be able to taste it!
3 methods for preparing smoothies ahead of time
Method 1: the ice cube tray method
This is my personal favorite way to make smoothies ahead of time because you can either choose to enjoy the smoothie right away by blending up the smoothie ice cubes, or you can allow the cubes to thaw to room temperature then simply give the smoothie a shake.
What you’ll need:
- Once you’ve made your smoothie, pour it into an ice cube tray so that each “cube” space is evenly filled. I like these silicone trays for easy removal.
- Place your ice cube tray in the freezer for a few hours, overnight, or for up to 3 months.
- Once you’re ready to drink your smoothie, place the smoothie cubes in a large glass with a lid (I recommend a mason jar) and transfer it to the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Then, give the glass a shake and your smoothie will be ready to drink!
- You can also transfer the smoothie cubes back to your blender, add extra milk and blend, then enjoy your smoothie right away.
Method 2: the mason jar method
- After you’ve made your smoothie, pour it into a mason jar and close it with a lid.
- Place your mason jar in the fridge for 2-3 hours, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- When you’re reading to drink it, simply give it a shake if it has been in the refrigerator, or let it thaw for a few hours in the fridge or at room temperature if it has been in the freezer.
Method 3: the freezer pack smoothie
There are a couple of options with this method. You can either place all of your smoothie ingredients into reusable airtight bags, or make your smoothies and do the same.
- Pour your smoothie into a reusable, airtight bag (like these!) OR add all of your smoothie ingredients, besides the liquid into one bag.
- Place the reusable bag into the freezer for up to 3 months.
- When you’re ready to drink it, add your frozen smoothie back to your blender with additional milk, blend, and enjoy. You may need to thaw it out a bit first.
- If you’ve frozen the ingredients by themselves, add them to your blender + the liquid called for in the recipe, then blend, and enjoy!
How long can you keep a smoothie in the fridge or freezer?
A good rule of thumb for storing smoothies and/or smoothie ingredients is to keep them in the fridge for 1-2 days, and in the freezer for up to 3 months. They’re perfect for prepping ahead of time and enjoying week after week.
We’re excited to share smoothie recipes with you the rest of the week so be sure to check back tomorrow for our first smoothie recipe of #AKSmoothieWeek and be sure to leave any of your smoothie tips below!
Recipes & tips by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats