Most of us lead very busy lives. Whether we are a stay-at-home mom with active kids or a professional on the corporate treadmill, we realize that our health should never take a back seat. It has to be at the center of all we do. Losing weight while maintaining a balanced nutritional diet and staying away from toxins we consume from processed foods – preservatives, additives and other chemicals – this can be very challenging when living life on the go. For example, I have a very busy career, juggling a lot of projects at once. The way I’ve found to lose weight and keep it away is to drink homemade smoothies with natural, wholesome ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts.
Smoothies really helped me maintain a healthy weight and get the freshest nutrition available by cutting out processed foods.
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I’ve written this guide to help you on your quest to lose weight with smoothies that are quick and easy to prepare, while being delicious to consume.
Stage 1 – Smart Prep For Smoothies
Several people I know do meal prepping on the weekend so they don’t have to worry about it during their busy working weeks. By freezing and pre-packing their meals, they can just grab the right package later, heat and enjoy.
When I used the same idea with smoothies it was a game changer for me. Thanks to these “make-ahead” smoothies” I was finally able to have my breakfast smoothie even on the busiest morning: just toss a bag of ingredients to the blender, blend and go.
Read on to learn how to do it easily…
Getting the ingredients
The idea behind make-ahead smoothies is to save time by doing everything once, in a batch. This starts by buying all ingredients in bulk the next time you’re out shopping.
Your smoothie is going to be made of a few fruits and/or veggies, a superfood or two, and a liquid base such as water, almond or soy milk. You can also add a thickener such as coconut cream or avocado.
If you’re just starting out with smoothies, you can use the recipe below as your starting point. Just buy the amount of ingredients necessary to make a good number of servings.
The amounts on the recipe below are for a single serving. To know what quantity to buy, multiply with the number of days you’d like to prepare smoothies in advance, and the number of family members who would enjoy with you.
Freezing Them all
In the next step, you’ll freeze the dry ingredients for each smoothie, one freezer bag per smoothie made.
For example, if you’re consuming the smoothie alone then the freezer bag would contain the ingredients necessary for one serving. If you’re a couple, fill the bag with the quantity required for two servings.
Most of the fruits and veggies you would use in a smoothie can be frozen. Some will need to be blanched before going into the freezer. Blanching is required to preserve the nutrients and help keep the vegetables in the freezer for longer periods.
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Blanch items in small batches as it is easier to handle, and use the exact recommended blanching time for each vegetable. Just remember to put all the dry ingredients in the freezer bag and you are all set. When morning comes, just grab the bag from the freezer, toss into the blender with the wet ingredients (water, almond milk, etc) and hit the blend button.
After about a minute of blending you’ll have your smoothie ready – no need to think about what to put in and in what quantity, no washing, no cutting – simply magic!
Extreme make-ahead: smoothie cubes
Another method which takes make-ahead smoothies to the extreme is the cubing method.
Here the idea is to blend your fruits and veggies along with the wet ingredients, then freeze the mixture in cubes using a muffin tin. Once frozen, you can place the cubes in a sealed container or a zipped freezer bag.
When morning comes, take out the number of cubes that make up your smoothie, add the liquids and other ingredients and re-blend it for an easy, cool and tasty smoothie.
There are a couple of drawbacks though: you will lose some of the nutritional value by blending and then freezing. Additionally, depending on the type of blender you have, you may have difficulty blending up the cubes.
Stage 2 – Blend it!
The basic requirements of a weight loss smoothie is that it contains enough protein to fill you up and help with cravings later on. We also need to keep sugar and calories down. For that healthy dose of protein, you can use a number of protein-rich vegetables such as watercress, peas and spinach.
The recipe below, apart from being simple to prepare, contains spinach for protein, as well as nutrient-rich superfoods to make it even more healthy.
Here is my “go-to” recipe:
Bluenana Green Weight Loss Smoothie
1 frozen banana (100 calories)
1/2 cup of fresh blueberries (40 calories) SUPERFOOD!
1 cup raw spinach (7 calories) SUPERFOOD!
6 ounces unsweetened almond milk (60 calories)
1 teaspoon chia seeds (22 calories) SUPERFOOD!
Ice to your preference (I like a lot of ice in mine)
There you have it. A great smoothie that comes in under 230 calories but is packed with a lot of nutritional value. This recipe alone gives you antioxidants to fight free radicals; healthy fat from the chia seeds; vitamins A, B, C, D, K; essential minerals such as potassium and magnesium and fiber and probiotics to help with proper digestion.
Don’t be afraid to try different fruit combinations. Throw in some avocado for creamy richness. The combinations and flavors are almost endless.
Stage 3 – Clean Up Made Easy
Part of the process of making smoothies is the clean up. You don’t want to spend 3 minutes making your smoothie and then 10 minutes cleaning it. There is a fabulous cleaning technique that works, and fast:
- Rinse your jar thoroughly to remove any large particles.
- Fill the jar halfway with hot water and one drop of non-toxic dish soap.
- Put it on the blender base and run it for about 30 seconds.
- Dump the water, if there is any remaining residue use a brush to remove.
- Rinse your jar and turn it upside down on a towel to air dry. You are done!
As you are just getting started making smoothies, keep it simple. Plan ahead so you have what you need. Pre-pack portions for quick and easy blending. Balance your ingredients to make sure you are getting the nutrition you need. Then it’s just blending, quick clean and a thoroughly enjoyable sip!