We all want to be that uber-healthy woman who drinks a smoothie every morning and then has mega energy all day — if they weren’t so much time-consuming work. But making smoothies is easier than you think. They’re one of the easiest ways to get a healthy meal in the morning, and these hacks make it even more simple.
1. Slice and save ripe bananas
I can’t remember the last time I bought a bunch of bananas and actually finished the whole thing. When they start to get too dark and on the verge of spoiling (but are very sweet and still fine to eat), I peel them, slice them up and freeze them. They add the perfect amount of frozen, creamy sweetness to smoothies, especially green ones that could use a little fruity boost.
2. Freeze your greens
Freezing your greens ahead of time isn’t just a great way to make sure they don’t go bad before you manage to make a green smoothie. It also helps tougher greens like kale break down at a cellular level, so when you blend them into your smoothies, you’re left with fewer fibrous bits and pieces. When you freeze greens, their moisture-filled cells swell and rupture. If you were to thaw them to eat on their own, you’d be left with a mushy mess. But that swelling and rupturing preps them perfectly for blending into smoothies.
3. Make it a bowl
If you’re tired of sipping the same old thing from a glass for breakfast, jazz up your morning by pouring your smoothie into a bowl. Add some nuts, seeds, granola and fresh sliced fruit on top, and enjoy the texture and temperature contrasts.
4. Freeze your leftovers
Got some leftover smoothie? Pour it into an ice cube tray. When you’re ready to make another one, add your frozen smoothie cubes along with some extra liquid to your blender, and voilà.
5. Use a Mason jar
Proceed with caution, but many blenders can be used with a Mason jar instead of the blender pitcher. Just add your ingredients to a Mason jar, then screw on the blender pitcher base, and proceed as usual. Check out The Kitchn’s tutorial to see how it works.
6. Get your grains on
Add extra oomph to your smoothie with grains. Oatmeal, either soaked in your smoothie liquid overnight or blended until powdery before you begin, can be added to your smoothies for a boost of extra-filling fiber. You can also try using cooked brown rice or quinoa.
7. Make frozen smoothie packs
Sort out your favorite smoothies ahead of time by adding your fruits and veggies to individual, freezer-safe containers. When you’re ready to make a smoothie, toss in the contents of one of the containers, then add the rest of your ingredients, and give it a whir.
8. Start the night before
If you’re perpetually rushed in the mornings, try setting up your blender ahead of time. Add any unfrozen fruit, veggies, liquids, grains and powders to your blender pitcher, then leave it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, you can add any frozen ingredients, then blend away.
9. Add your liquids first
Reduce the wear and tear on your blender by adding some of your smoothie liquid to the pitcher before you add your solid ingredients. This will help the blades get going when you press start, meaning it’ll take less time to make a perfectly smooth smoothie.
10. Make smoothie pops
For breakfast on the go (or one that’ll help cool you down post-workout), make a batch of your favorite smoothie, then freeze it in ice pop molds. When you’re ready for breakfast, just pop one out, and enjoy.
11. Use unique liquids
You don’t have to stick to milk (including nondairy milk) or fruit juice as your smoothie liquid. Branch out a little, and experiment with using coconut water; green, fruit and herbal teas; coffee; and veggie juices. Just stop and think for a second about whether your flavor combination makes sense (coffee is great in chocolate, vanilla or peanut butter protein smoothies, for example, but would be super out of place in a strawberry-mango smoothie), and forge ahead.