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Super Easy Prep Ahead Fruit and Veggie Smoothies

Super Easy Prep Ahead Fruit and Veggie Smoothies

I love smoothies!  When I make smoothies I like them frozen, with lots of ice because I feel like I am sipping a milkshake.  A milkshake full of lots of fruits, vegetables and healthy dairy.  Smoothies are easy to make and then take on the go.  Or it may make a “sweet” afternoon snack for when you have a sugar craving.  And then, they also create the perfect vehicle to sneak in some veggies to get you closer to the 5 servings of veggies you should be eating every day.  There’s are just so many reasons I love them.

But I do have a few minor problems with smoothies.  First of all, smoothies can easily be very high in calories and fats.  Especially when you are relying on store bought versions, so I caution you to be careful.  My only other issue is that while they seem really simple, they actually can be time consuming if you have to prep all the ingredients in that moment.  My strategy creates really fun combinations combined with a method for prepping them ahead of time . Prepping ahead makes smoothies quick and easy to prepare when time is short.

My process
I use a base for the smoothie created from a blend of mostly vegetables with a green apple added for tartness and the green tea for a liquid to help it blend.  Of course all of these ingredients also have a nutritive value as well. Studies indicate that green tea provides protection from chronic diseases including cancer.  This protection comes from the polyphenols that tea contains.  It just so happens that green tea contains the highest amount of polyphenols than any other tea.  Another note, I like to keep my vegetables with the skin intact because there are lots of nutrients in this part of the vegetable as well.  Just make sure you scrub and clean the outside of the vegetable well prior to blending.

Since I like my smoothies frozen, I prep the fruit ahead of time and place them in the freezer.  In my opinion, the fruit blends up in the blender more smoothly than adding ice.  Another added benefit of this step is that the fruit stays fresher in the freezer until you are ready to use, so you don’t have to worry about your fruit going bad.

Special ingredients I use
There are a few items that I like to add into my smoothies because I feel they have an added nutrient or flavor impact for the smoothie.  Here’s a little bit about each and all are available in the United States, but some may require ordering from an online provide or taking a trip to a specialty food store.  Most will last quite a while as you are generally using less than a tablespoon in each smoothie.  There is some research to back up the use of these ingredients but in some cases the jury is still out on their effectiveness, but each one still contributes to the overall nutrition of the smoothie.

Super Easy Prep Ahead Super Fruit and Veggie Smoothies - ingredients
In the front, flax seeds (left), hemp seeds and lucuma (right)

Chia seeds or salvia hispanica is commonly used in Central and South America. In these areas chia is known to have medicinal properties and has been used in treating illness since the pre-Colombian and Aztec eras.  The seeds are widely available in the United States and have been around longer than most of the other ingredients I mention.  Chia contains protein, high amounts of dietary fiber, healthy fats (omega-3 and omega-6), high amounts of antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals.  A limited number of studies on the health benefit of chia have been conducted, but the results look promising. I generally will add a teaspoon or so mainly because I am looking to boost my omega-3 intake.

Super Easy Prep Ahead Super Fruit and Veggie Smoothies - buy chia       Super Easy Prep Ahead Super Fruit and Veggie Smoothies - buy hemp seeds

Hemp seeds which come from the cannabis sativa plant, contain a high amount of protein, and are considered a complete protein as they contain all the essential amino acids humans need to get from food.  They are also a good source of omega fatty acids and soluble and insoluble fiber.  Generally they are sold removed from their shell and look similar to a sesame seeds.  They have a slightly nutty flavor and add a nice flavor when used on salads or yogurt and in smoothies.

Flax seed is one of my all-time favorite smoothie ingredients.  I really like the flavor and texture it gives my smoothie.  In some ways I feel like it adds a texture similar to smashed up graham crackers just without the sugar.  It is a good source of fiber and also has a good omega profile which is the primary reason that I use it.  It’s best used and digested in its ground form.  I store flax in the freezer because it can actually go rancid fairly quickly if stored on the shelf.  Studies of the health benefits of flax seed is fairly limited but it in one study it showed a positive effect of lowering the LDL cholesterol in males.

Super Easy Prep Ahead Super Fruit and Veggie Smoothies - buy flaxSuper Easy Prep Ahead Super Fruit and Veggie Smoothies - buy lucuma

Lucuma is a fruit from South America.  In Peru, it is known as the “Gold of the Incas” and also happens to be the most popular ice cream flavor in the country.  It is impossible to purchase in the United States in its fresh form, but it is available as a powder in natural food stores or online.  It is known to be a natural sweetener with a low glycemic index.  This fact means that it doesn’t have a substantial impact on the blood sugar when it is eaten.  I use it to primarily add a bit of sweetness to a smoothie especially when I don’t add bananas.  It is also rich in antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals.

Green Smoothie Base

August 15, 2018
: 8
: 15 min
: 15 min
: Easy

A blend of spinach, other vegetables and green tea. Use as a base with fruit and other ingredients to create a delicious and nutrient packed smoothie.

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 cups spinach, fresh
  • 1/2 whole cucumber, cut in large chunks
  • 1/2 large zucchini, cut in large chunks
  • 1 whole green apple, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 ea green tea bags
  • 2 cups hot water
Directions
  • Step 1 Brew green tea and allow to cool.
  • Step 2 Combine cucumber, zucchini, green apple and green tea to blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes.
  • Step 3 Add spinach and blend until smooth.
  • Step 4 Portion into containers to store in refrigerator or freezer.

The beauty of this smoothie base is its flexibility.  Choose to change it up each day by combining different fruits and flavors or you stick with your favorite and enjoy each day.  If you don’t think you will use the entire batch of green base in a week, it works well to freeze it.  Simply pull it out the night before you plan use it to allow it thaw a bit before putting it in the blender.

Just about any fruits, seeds, berries or other items you enjoy will mix into this green smoothie base, but I’ve given you some of my favorite combinations below.  The fruits are cut up and placed into small containers or bags and placed in the freezer.  When you are ready to make the smoothie, you add a portion of the green smoothie base, your fruit selection, yogurt and milk to a blender and blend it until it reaches a smooth consistency.

Super Easy Prep Ahead Super Fruit and Veggie Smoothies - Keep it green ingredients

Keep It Green
1 small banana
1/3 avocado
1/2 T fresh ginger, finely minced
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 cup milk of choice

Strawberry Limeade
1 cup strawberries
½ tsp lime zest
Juice of one small lime
2 tsp lucuma
½ cup Greek yogurt,
1 tsp hemp seeds
1 cup milk of choice

Super Easy Prep Ahead Super Fruit and Veggie Smoothies - deep purple ingredients

Deep Purple
1 cup berries
½ cup beets
1 tsp lucuma
1 tsp flax
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 cup milk of choice

Super Easy Prep Ahead Super Fruit and Veggie Smoothies - tropical island ingredients

Tropical Magic
½ cup mango
½ cup pineapple
½ medium banana
1 tsp flax seed or hemp seed
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 cup milk of choice

Other add-in suggestions

Maca is another plant that I became familiar with after traveling to Peru.  It is root vegetable grown in a similar way to potatoes and is cultivated in the Andes Mountains in Peru.  It is prepared roasted or in a soup. It is also available in a powder form.  It is used to naturally treat a whole range of diagnoses but there is almost no research available to substantiate the effectiveness of maca as a treatment.  The amount you consume in food is likely not be harmful and I do not recommend taking this supplement in the form of a pill as the amount of maca being consumed in that instance is very high.  It does have very strong flavor which is easily masked when putting it in a smoothie.

Nut butters also make a nice extra add-in especially when you are looking for the smoothie to be a meal replacement.  The nut butter will add some protein and healthy fats to the smoothie which will boost its overall satiety.  My only caution with adding nut butters is just remember nuts are high in calories and fat so adding just 2T of peanut butter is likely to add 180 calories to your smoothie so make sure you account for that if you are trying to limit calorie consumption.

Protein powder is another add-in that you can use to boost the satiety of your smoothie.  It will add calories as well but likely not as much as the nuts.  I suggest selecting a protein powder that doesn’t have added sugar.  I will admit that while I like the idea of adding protein powder, I have yet to find a brand that I don’t think is overly sweet so this is just not an option for me.

Here’s a look at some of the finished products.  The Keep It Green smoothie is pictured on the left and the Deep Purple is on the right.

Super Easy Prep Ahead Super Fruit and Veggie Smoothies - final product .                                      The Breakdown on Beets - 3 Quick Preparations

Get your veggies in and try out my method for making your smoothies for your work week.  What flavor combinations do you absolutely love?  I want to hear from you about your experience with this recipe, so please leave me a comment below.



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