Which one of these scenarios sounds more familiar? You get up, leisurely sip a delicious smoothie that's made from no fewer than 16 healthy ingredients that you've hand chopped yourself, starting your day as cool as the cucumber you just blended to a tasty puree…or you're like the rest of us who get up, really love the idea of eating a healthy breakfast on the go, but don't always have the time or energy to make it happen.
The idea of having a fridge stocked with healthy smoothies is so appealing, and for good reason! Smoothies are not only nutritious, they're also customizable, easy to prep, and they can be a big part of staying gut-healthy on the go, too. And yet, when you're racing the clock (or staring at empty fridge shelves), suddenly getting something to go seems so much easier.
The secret to a smooth start? Understanding your roadblocks.
Sometimes we fail to follow through on doing beneficial things like smoothie prep because our brains tend to be present-oriented when it comes to payoffs.
This means that your brain makes a bet that the pleasure of not taking the time to prep ahead for smoothies will be more enjoyable than some possible future in which you're enjoying your smoothies and all the health benefits they bring—even though logically you know that's not the case.1,2
The good news is, once you understand what’s holding you back, it’s easy to take steps to make your smoothie preparation simple and fun!
How to Make Your Smoothie Prep Time as Quick and Easy as Possible
1. Start by looking for your "hurdles".
Many times we struggle to follow through on prep because there's one part about it that we just hate––this one hurdle that throws off the whole process. So see if you can figure out what your specific hurdles are.
Mentally walk yourself through your smoothie prep process and see where you get stuck. Is it the process of going to the store and getting the ingredients? Do you hate cleaning up and washing out your smoothie cup afterwards? Or maybe you have an old blender that just doesn't work as well as it should, making the whole prep process a pain.
Once you figure out what's tripping you up, try to take it out of the equation as much as possible. For instance, if you dislike going to the store to get the ingredients, then consider getting them delivered, or find a service that delivers pre-portioned ingredients so all you have to do is dump them in the blender. Or if you don't like your blender, make an investment in a new, specialized smoothie blender that can handle whatever you throw at it.
It may seem silly—or like you should be able to make your smoothies without having to work around yourself—but if you can automate that one step, you'll dramatically increase your chances of following through, plus you'll likely cut down on prep time by automating at least one part of the process.
2. Batch prep fresh ingredients for up to six months.
When most people think of making smoothies, they tend to think in terms of days or weeks, but you can actually create frozen smoothie packs that last for up to six months. And while taking an hour to chop up fruit and veggies might seem like a pain, it actually works out to much less prep time per smoothie.
So try the "one and done" method where you prepare all the ingredients you need for your smoothies, pre-portion them into plastic bags or jars, and keep them in the freezer until you need them. If you’ve hopped on the bandwagon of adding steamed (then frozen) cauliflower to your smoothies, batch prepping is really the only sane way to go.
If you want to take an extra shortcut, buy your favorite fruits and veggies already frozen and simply combine and repackage them into your ideal portion sizes. These can all be done while you're watching a movie, listening to a podcast, or chatting with a friend. It goes by much faster than you'd think, and you’ll likely find something therapeutic about carrying out a mindless task so infused with self-care and nourishment.
Once you have your smoothie packs made, you don't even need to defrost them before you use them. Just dump the ingredients from the pack into your blender, add up to a cup of liquid (like coconut milk, yogurt, or kefir), and blend away. The one thing to remember here is that while frozen fruit can last for up to six months, leafy greens start to turn after three months, so plan your smoothie menu accordingly.
3. Keep go-to functional ingredients on hand.
If you have a couple of superfood ingredients that you really love––like cacao, spirulina, maca, protein powder, acai, prebiotic powder, or all of the above––keep them in stock so you can quickly add them on top of whatever smoothie recipes you end up using. You can even premake the dry blend and then simply add a single scoop of your magic potion each morning and you’re done! This can also help you cut your prep time if you get behind schedule and need a smoothie ASAP.
On those days when there’s no premade mix and no time for scoops from multiple containers, our organic prebiotic powder will absolutely give you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to smoothie-boosting effectiveness, since it's made with a food-based, organic blend of inulin, FOS, resistant starch, and soluble dietary fiber that's crucial for your daily microbial health––and nearly impossible to get through diet alone.
While our ancestors got 50 to 100 grams of fiber a day, most people get about a 10th of that, which means that the good guys in your gut don't have the nutrition they need to really thrive. And since those microbes play a vital role in everything from your moods to your immunity, it's essential to make sure they get what they need.
If in Doubt, Remember: Veg/Fruit/Liquid/Scoop
Sometimes even the best planned prep just doesn't work out. But don't despair; you may have the ingredients to make a simple, yet creative smoothie already in your kitchen. At their most basic, smoothies usually consist of one vegetable, one fruit, and one liquid, so unless you're well and truly out of groceries, chances are you have at least one of each of those in your kitchen.
Simple things like spinach, pineapple, and almond milk can be amazing together, as can avocado, apple, and coconut milk. Top it all off with a quick scoop of prebiotic powder and you'll be good to go. The secret is to not be afraid to experiment; you might be surprised to find your new favorite recipe!
There's no two ways about it––eating healthy does take a little bit of prep and planning. But with all the benefits that nutritious smoothies can have on your health, taking the time to prep ahead is definitely worth it!
1. Cohen, J.D., McClure, S.M., Yu, A.J. (2007). Should I Stay or Should I Go? How the Human Brain Manages the Trade-off between Exploitation and Exploration. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 362(1481). doi: 10.1098/rstb.2007.2098
2. Vohs, K. D., Baumeister, R. F., Schmeichel, B. J., Twenge, J. M., Nelson, N. M., & Tice, D. M. (2008). Making Choices Impairs Subsequent Self-control: A Limited-resource Account of Decision making, Self-regulation, and Active initiative. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(5). doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1683
Rachel Allen is a writer at Hyperbiotics who's absolutely obsessed with learning about how our bodies work. She's fascinated by the latest research on bacteria and the role they play in health, and loves to help others learn about how probiotics can help the body get back in balance. For more ideas on how you can benefit from the power of probiotics and live healthier days, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. To learn more about how a healthy microbiome can enrich your life, subscribe to our newsletter.