Make Ahead Smoothies – Your Complete Guide and Recipes
You might have discovered that making smoothies is a fantastic way to add more vitamins and nutrients to your day, but unfortunately you don’t have the time or patience to portion out a whole drink every morning.
Having a large enough variety of vegetables and fruits, and keeping them fresh is also challenging.
But who says that you have to put all the ingredients together when you want a smoothie? Who says that you can’t plan ahead and have everything ready to go beforehand?
There’s a simple hack that lets you just toss your fruits and veggies into the blender, and you’re ready in seconds.
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If you’re interested in making a healthy change to your life, or making the quickest breakfast that’s also super healthy, then see how these DIY make ahead smoothie recipes can benefit you.
Best of all, you can mix and match ingredients as you see fit so you can get the most out of your beverage.
What is a Make Ahead Smoothie?
Imagine just tossing a bag of ingredients to your blender’s pitcher, hitting the “blend” button and there you have it - a chilled, healthy and delicious beverage.
The idea is you get all of your ingredients together, chop them into pieces, and then place them in a plastic bag.
This is my favorite healthy kitchen hack - much more convenient than trying to do it all at once every morning.
Then you freeze this bag, which keeps intact as many nutrients as possible, plus giving you a deliciously chilled result.
Another advantage of blending frozen ingredients is you won’t need to use ice. When you add ice to smoothies, it dilutes the taste of the smoothie and makes it less creamier and possibly a bit bland.
The best part of doing things this way is that you can plan ingredient purchases for the whole week and then store them for days or weeks ahead of time.
If you set aside one day for making smoothies, then you will be ready to go every morning by chucking your mixes in the blender.
Benefits of Making Smoothies
If you’re still new to the idea of making drinks out of fresh (or frozen) fruit and vegetables, then you might be wondering if it’s even worth all the extra work. After all, you have to peel, chop, and store all of your ingredients together.
So, if you’re still on the fence about smoothies, here are the top five reasons that you should start making them today.
Do you love to cook? Are you ready, willing, and able to prepare fresh and healthy meals all the time? Even if you are, adding vegetables into your diet requires that you eat them by themselves, unless you’re making salads or fried plantains.
With smoothies, you can mix all kinds of ingredients together into one delicious beverage, which is much easier to ingest than trying to cram different vegetables into your mouth during the day.
A store-bought smoothie often contains only fruits, which means their high on fructose sugar and don’t contain vegetables.
Making smoothies at home is an easy way to get fresh beverages that are healthier than anything you would buy outside.
One of the best reasons to make smoothies is that you can toss in almost anything to make it healthier
That means you can ensure that you’re getting all of your necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients without having to choke down some questionable vegetables (looking at you, brussels sprouts).
Think of it like this, would you rather eat a handful of carrots or drink them along with blueberries and bananas? For me the answer to this one is obvious.
Do you see breakfast as a meal that you can do without? Even though it’s the most important meal of the day, many choose to neglect it entirely or opt for unhealthy choices like bacon or a bagel.
If you do a smoothie instead as a meal replacement, then you could enjoy some weight loss along with a healthier body. Drinking one in the morning will help kickstart your metabolism so that you can burn more calories throughout the day.
Now, you may be thinking that all of this is a moot point because you can go down to the store and buy a smoothie without having to make it.
However, if you add those up every day for a month, you will be spending far more money than you would if you got the ingredients and blended them yourself.
In fact, making your own smoothie shopping list and buying ingredients in bulk could potentially save you hundreds of dollars per year. Not only by replacing your current breakfast habit, but helping you get healthier, so you eat less overall.
What You Need for This Tutorial
Now that you’ve seen the benefits of making smoothies, we’re sure that you can’t wait to get started. However, before we can begin, we’ll need a few different materials so that we can jump right into the action.
It should go without saying that having a blender is an absolute necessity when making smoothies. Without this vital piece of equipment, you’re just eating raw fruit and vegetables.
If you don’t currently have a blender, then we have some excellent reviews of various models that you can buy. Some appliances ideal for smoothies only, whereas others are ideal for all kinds of kitchen activities.
If you already have a blender, then you’re good to go. Hopefully, it will still be in good shape, but if you haven’t used it for a while, then you might want to make a couple of batches to see how well it handles.
Just one important word of warning: your blender should be designed to handle frozen ingredients and ice!
Otherwise, attempting to blend frozen ingredients could damage the motor and blades, or just produce a beverage with unpleasant frozen chunks in it.
See our complete guide to blenders for ice here.
Using freezer bags is beneficial for a few reasons because you can mark them with the contents and you can reuse them without any problems. Best of all, they stack on top of each other, and once they’re frozen, you can prop them on their sides to make even more room.
It’s imperative that you get freezer bags, though; If you just place the ingredients in the freezer compartment, you risk getting them freezer burns.
If the idea of using plastic makes you cringe, then you can use freezer-safe mason jars. However, if you do use jars, then you will have to worry more about space constraints as they take up much more room.
To keep yourself organized, you will have to mark your bags as you fill them. The data that should be on each batch is the ingredient list, portion sizes (so you can adjust the recipe as needed), and date of freezing.
When using a marker, make sure that it washes off so that you can reuse the bags and then relabel them as necessary.
Popsicle Molds, Freezer Cups or Ice Cube Tray
For freezing a pre made smoothie you can simply use a freezer cup closed with a lid. When you want to drink it, take it out and leave to stand until thawed, or use a microwave if you’re in a hurry.
If you want to give yourself more options, having molds is an excellent way to go. These will allow you to blend your concoction ahead of time and then freeze it, or save leftovers so that they don’t go to waste.
Also, using ice cube trays means that you can freeze other ingredients like yogurt or milk to make your smoothie extra cold and creamy.
While you still will need liquid when making the final batch, having frozen cubes of milk (or coffee?) means that you have more options to add flavor and texture to your smoothie.
How to Prepare Frozen Smoothie Packs
So, we’ve got all of our supplies and our ingredients. Now, what’s the next step? Thankfully, creating smoothies ahead of time is so easy that anyone can do it. Just follow these steps and feel free to experiment and try new mixtures.
As we mentioned, be sure to list out portions on your storage bags when freezing them. That way, once you get a ratio that you prefer, you can keep the recipe and repeat it as often as you’d like. If you didn’t write down the proportions, then you’d have to guess at it next time.
The first method of preparing make-ahead smoothies is to plan ingredients and freeze them so that you can plop them into the blender when you want them.
This method is ideal if you want to prep your meals long in advance. Fruits will last about three or four months in the freezer, whereas veggies and greens will last about two to three months.
1. Chopping and Peeling
Depending on what kind of fruit you’re using, the first move will be to take off any peel or rind that is part of it. Oranges, pineapples, kiwis, bananas, and pomegranates are some of the most common ingredients that have to be prepped before you can do anything else.
Once the fruit is separated from the peel, then it’s time to portion it out into even sized chunks. Having your ingredients portioned out this way means that it’s easier to measure.
Once your fruit or vegetables have been chopped up, then it’s time to start bagging them. While the perfect ratio will depend on your personal preferences, a good rule to follow is that you have an equal amount of each kind of fruit.
One exception is bananas. Adding a full or half banana to your smoothie gives it a smoother, creamier texture without adding a ton of overpowering flavor. In that case, you can portion out everything else and then just add a banana at the end.
Once you’ve made all of your bags, then it’s time to mark them. As a refresher, here is a template of what it should look like when finished.
- Name of Smoothie
- Ingredient List (with portions)
- Need to Add (milk, yogurt, juice, etc.)
- Date frozen
The “need to add” section is for you to know what will work best with that particular mixture. For example, if you have a lot of juicy ingredients then it might be better to use juice as your base liquid. However, if you want it to be creamier or have more calcium, then it’s best to use milk and/or yogurt as a base.
Finally, you can also research what dry ingredients will work best for you nutritionally. If you want to use dry materials like chia seeds or protein powder, keep it out next to the blender and have a measuring cup handy. You can prep the dry stuff beforehand, but it’s not necessary.
How to Freeze Smoothies
Questions I’m being asked a lot about pre-making are: can you freeze smoothies? How would you store smoothies? Will they taste the same as freshly prepared ones?
The answer is - yes, it’s possible to do!
When thawed, your beverage would taste almost the same as a fresh one. The only difference might be in color, as smoothies containing banana or some leafy greens can become darker in color due to oxidation.
Having said that, if you want to make your life even easier, then it’s possible to blend your mixtures ahead of time and then freeze them for later.
If this is your preference, then you will want to invest in freezer ready mason jars or other containers that can freeze well. Obviously, using a plastic bag won’t work well, so don’t try to use them.
A frozen smoothie will last up to three months, so this is another great option for those who want to plan ahead for the long term.
1. Prep Your Ingredients
Everything will be the same as before, except that you won’t be bagging up your fruit chunks. Even though you are blending them immediately, it’s always better to cut them into smaller pieces so that they will blend easier and more evenly.
2. Blend Everything
Mix everything together, including your liquid and any dry ingredients that you want to add. The reason that you want to do everything at once is that you won’t really have the option of adding new ingredients when it comes time to drink it.
Fortunately, freezing preserves most of the nutrients, so you can still make smoothies that are as healthy as possible.
3. Mark and Freeze
Once your mixture is made, then pour it into your containers and mark it. Again, it will be best if you include the entire recipe so that you can adjust it if necessary, but if you don’t have that much space for writing, just put the name of the smoothie and the freezing date.
4. Thaw (optional)
When it comes time to enjoy your premade smoothie, there are several ways you can do it.
If you like your smoothie chilled, then no need to thaw anything - just toss the frozen ingredients into the blender as-is.
You’ll get a chilled smoothie similar to what you get when adding ice to a smoothie, only better - the frozen ingredients don’t dilute taste as ice do!
For this to work, you’ll need a blender capable of handling ice well. We have a guide on the different types of blenders and which is best for tough ingredient, but generally you’ll need one of the more powerful personal bullet blenders, or a high performance blender.
If you are not a fan of chilled smoothies, then you can pull the bag out and let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. This method is best if you want it to be ready to go first thing in the morning (like for a workout).
Second, you can leave it out on the counter for a few hours until it’s thawed. If you’re looking to get it done faster, you can place it in a bowl of hot water for a little while to speed up the process.
Finally, you can pull out the frozen smoothie in its container and then take it with you. That way, it works like an ice pack for your lunch, and it should be ready by lunchtime. Just be sure to include a straw so that you can drink it without any mess.
Have more tips and tricks from your experience with make ahead smoothie? Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Be sure to share this post with your friends so they can discover making super-quick and healthy smoothies!