Eating healthy on a budget is so hard and all of the recipes on Pinterest and Instagram cost a ridiculous amount. I don’t know about you but I can’t afford to spend $8 on a bottle of juice!! Lucky for us, smoothies are a really easy thing to do on a budget and they can still be just as healthy!
First of all, don’t mess with buying superfoods or organic stuff. That’s great if you have the money for it but if you’re on a budget it’s not necessary. You can also avoid name brands! The store brand is just as good, especially when it comes to frozen fruit. The things I “splurge” on for my smoothies are fresh bananas and protein powder (but I buy that anyway for my workouts). You don’t even need juice if you have protein powder!! Mix it with water and you’ve got liquid for a smoothie. My other big tip is to buy in bulk if you have space. An 8 oz. bag of fruit costs about $4 or $5 but a 40 oz. bag costs $12 (at Target! Other stores are even cheaper). That’s way more smoothie for your money! And don’t worry if you’re buying mixed fruit, it’s easy to pick through the bag if you want a specific fruit flavor in your smoothie (like strawberry banana). Look for the store brand too, fruit is fruit and it doesn’t matter if it looks perfect because you’re about to blend it up into a smoothie!!
Building a smoothie is really simple: all you have to do is start with a base and then add flavor and liquid. I try to pack as much protein as I can into my smoothies so I use greek yogurt as a base and a protein shake as my liquid. You can switch these out for regular yogurt and juice or milk but it won’t fit your macros as well. Follow these simple steps to pick a base, flavor, and liquid for the perfect smoothie:
Picking a base: I always choose Greek yogurt for this and depending on what’s available from the store brand I try to get something low fat. I generally go with vanilla flavor because it complements any fruit you add for flavor. Just add 2-3 big spoonfuls of it to make your smoothie creamy and delicious. If you don’t have yogurt you can also use a cup of ice!
Picking a flavor: This part is fun because you can combine fruit flavors and add fun things like peanut butter or honey. I like to do peanut butter with bananas, tropical fruit, or mixed berry. You can also do fun combinations with chocolate protein powder if you have it! Banana has a really strong flavor in smoothies so remember that if you add it! Like I said before, you don’t have to buy bags of individual fruits to be successful with this. The mixed bags are good all together but you can pick out a specific type of fruit if you want a certain flavor (like strawberry banana). The 3 minutes to pick it out is totally worth the money you save! This is also the step where you can add some spinach or kale if you have some. I don’t do that all the time, especially in the winter because it’s expensive, but when it’s on sale I totally recommend adding it! You won’t notice the flavor unless you add a lot of it.
Picking a liquid: Protein powder and water is my favorite choice for this one because it adds 15-20 grams of protein instantly! If you don’t have protein powder or if your protein powder flavor doesn’t match your fruit (i.e. you’re going for a tropical smoothie and you only have chocolate protein powder), then add milk or juice. Milk has some protein but a calcium enriched orange juice is good too because of the vitamins! I also like to use milk when I’m making a late night smoothie, it digests faster so I can fall asleep!
I make a lot of chocolate/banana smoothies because I have a lot of chocolate protein powder that I’m trying to finish. I also do banana peanut butter and strawberry banana! Fresh bananas are really cheap where I live! I hope this helps you guys fit smoothies into your budget, they’re a staple for me and have really helped satisfy my sugar cravings. Let me know what flavor combinations you try, I’m always looking for new ones!!