I have a secret weakness for smoothies, particularly the crazy high calorie kind you get at Jamba Juice. However, I do not like ingesting a smoothie for breakfast and realizing I would have had a less caloric and possibly more nutritious meal if I’d had a sausage biscuit or Snickers bar instead. Also, most of those smoothies are mostly juice, and I can’t drink juice without the guilty thought of “empty calories! empty calories!.” But the proliferation of green smoothies everywhere intrigued me, especially once I realized that the 1/4 cup of almond milk required for one smoothie was 0 Weight Watchers points. However, the idea of making a smoothie every day was just not going to happen- we do not have a dishwasher and ain’t no way I’m washing the blender by hand every day. Fortunately, Martha solved that problem for me.
What I still wanted was a tested, definitive, low cal smoothie recipe. Despite everyone on the internet claiming that green smoothies will solve all the world’s problems, the recipes are pretty vague. Turns out that is because you can put whatever the heck you want in it and it’ll taste fine, you just have to try it. I have figured out a few rules of thumb, though, so here’s my basic smoothie blueprint.
Start with your almond milk (or regular milk, it has more protein but also more calories. I get plenty of protein so I use the almond milk) and your greens. One blender-full will yield 3-4 individual smoothies, so I use one cup of almond milk and add 4 very generous handfuls of greens. Spinach is good, as is kale, and Trader Joe’s mixed greens (collard, mustard, kale, spinach) is an easy way to get a variety of greens in there. Liquefy all this together first, so you don’t have little bits of kale or spinach stem left un-pureed in your smoothie.
Next add your fruit. I add 3-4 bananas, depending on size, and then whatever other fruit I have on hand until the blender is full. A few tips about fruit- make sure to use ripe bananas. Underripe bananas will give you a smoothie that tastes like underripe bananas. Strawberries will turn your smoothie light brown, blueberries will turn them dark brown, and blackberries will turn it purple. Don’t use blackberries if you don’t like seeds in your smoothie. I used cantaloupe for the smoothie in this post, and an easy way to scoop the cantaloupe into the blender is to use an ice cream scoop like a melon baller.
Pour your smoothies into individual ziploc bags. As I said before, each blender will make 3-4 one cup smoothies, so I typically do this twice to make a whole week’s worth at once.
Freeze your smoothies. Once frozen, you just need to move one into the fridge the night before and then pour into a glass. (Just cut one corner of the ziploc bag off and squeeze it out, this also helps break up any lingering frozen bits.)