For many years now, I have had a torrid relationship with smoothies. Ok, that’s not entirely true. My rocky relationship has often been with my blender, not with the smoothies themselves. Those blenders I tell you, moody, selective and smokey from time to time. I’ve often enjoyed a smoothie for breakfast because if I consume nothing else great for me for the rest of the day, a smoothie is a quick and easy on the go way to make sure I’ve at least put something of quality into my body first thing in the morning. I’ve gone in fits and spurts and spend months being religious about having a daily smoothie and then other months… I will go quite a while without having one. Ironically enough, when I was working outside my house (aka not on mat leave) I was really good about always having a smoothie for breakfast. For some reason, I’ve definitely fallen off the rails since being home on mat leave when you have all the time in the world to make a smoothie (cue sarcastic snort laugh here). Ok that’s not entirely fair on myself.. part of that may have been my cracked blender jug that painted my kitchen in whatever I was blending every time we turned it on – yea it’s a bit of a draw back – but we have recently invested (and I do mean invested) in a great quality blender and I’ve been re-inspired to jump back on the smoothie train.
Since delving into motherhood – my goal with all things is convenience. Often this means prepping ahead of time (see my meal planning post here) but it pays off in the long run. I used to work at a daycare and I was up at 4:30 most mornings which is not generally when I am a breakfast culinary master (nor did the rest of my building want me whirring my blender at that hour), so I got creative.
It was perfect. I had a blender at work and kept a jug of almond milk in the fridge there and would just bring my smoothie ingredients to work, dump them in the blender and add my milk and blend away! It worked out great and helped to wake up all the sleepy non-morning people with my enthusiastic blending.
Ok maybe you’re one of those non-enthusiastic morning people but I’ll give you three reasons why smoothie bags are the way to go!
1.) Properly measured amounts! I don’t know about you but I always seem to make enough smoothie to feed a dinner party. This way, instead of me chucking things into the blender by the handful, I am conscious of how much I’m putting in each baggy. This way, I get just the right amount, no waste and I’m not eating excessive amounts of smoothie.
2.) Variety – When I’m in a rush I tend to just go with what I know and I make pretty much the same smoothie every day -this way I I can a bunch of different kinds and choose what I’m in the mood for!
3.) Time – This is the most important reason I make these! I can add some milk of choice, ice cubes (optional) and my protein powder and wah-bam! Smoothie making time!
While I’m sure this sounds pretty straight forward as to what to do – I’ll throw in a couple tips I use and a couple of my favourite recipes!
- Yogurt – Ok with all my smoothies I like to include yogurt – particularity greek yogurt as I’m getting a little bit more protein to sustain me. My mess free solution to including some in my frozen bags is …a muffin tray! I free little disks of them, pop them out and then put them in my bags with the rest of my ingredients. I usually just buy french vanila because it goes with most things but if you’re more into fruity smoothies or tropical you could do fruit or coconut
- Veggies – I try to sneak at least one veggie thing in my smoothies, I find leafy greens usually work best – especially spinach. I find their taste pretty neutral and I buy a big bag of baby spinach and freeze it for cooking or to make smoothie bags! Kale works too as long as it’s fresh, I find the longer it sits the stronger the taste. Another trick I use is black beans! They definitely add a thickness to your smoothies but they also give you great fibre and protein. I drain, rinse and pat dry before adding them to my bags
- Fruit – I always try and throw a couple different fruits in there, most of the time they are already frozen (Costco is great for big bags of frozen fruit for a reasonable price) and often a banana. Usually the banana is fresh but if I have bananas that are getting a little spotty, I’ll peel them first and put them in a bag already chopped so I can use them for smoothies.
- Protein Powder – This isn’t a must but I find it definitely ups the game as far as “sticking with you” throughout the day. I am currently using a Vega protein powder in “natural” – I can’t say I love the taste, but I’ve yet to find a powder that I’m in love with (suggestions welcome!)
- Extras – there are so many amazing extra things you can throw in smoothies! Some of the things I use include, chai seeds, flax seeds, peanut butter, peanut butter powder (the real thing, just with the fat pressed out – available at Costco), Coconut oil, coco powder and avocados
I usually take at least one thing from each of these categories and add it to my smoothie bag (Often I add the protein when I put it in the blender) and add them to my bag and I have a fairly rounded out meal. Label them, freeze them and presto – you’re ready to go!
In case you need some inspiration I’ll include two of my favourite recipes here for you.
I’m always up for new smoothie recipes! If you have any that are your absolute favourites – I’d love to hear about them!
Happy blending friends!