How To Make The Perfect Juice Bar Green Smoothie At Home

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 9.03.15 AMI am not a morning person. At all. Most mornings, I can barely stumble to the kitchen to grab my coffee without wanting to curse the doorway, the door, the floor, and anything else that is in my path. (Apologies to my cat.) That’s why, when it comes to breakfast, simpler is often better. If I don’t have to chew, that’s an added bonus. Enter the smoothie.

Yes, you can spend upwards of $10 for one health-packed smoothie at a juice bar, or less for one that is loaded with ice cream and extra sugar (really!) at a smoothie chain. You don’t need these things. Lauren has made a banana-berry smoothie for $1.70 a serving before, which is a great way to start your day if you want to feel like you’re not drinking vegetables. But since I’m the kind of person who grabs a green juice whenever I feel like I’m behind on my intake, I like the mental knowledge that yeah, that thing I’m drinking? Green as hell. Because there’s vegetables in there.

It’s also really easy to gather your ingredients beforehand so that all you have to do is dole them out when you’re still bleary-eyed and waiting for the coffee to kick in. Trust me. I’ve done this dozens of times and have yet to lose my finger in a tragic blender accident. I’m a professional.

  1. Buy a bunch of bananas at the grocery store. (I think my last purchase was 5 bananas for $2, and I divvied it up to make them last for at least 15 servings.) Peel the bananas, remove the gross tip, and chop each banana up in half or thirds, depending on how sweet you like your smoothies. The larger a banana chunk, the sweeter your drink is going to be. Put the banana pieces in a plastic bag, and freeze overnight.
  2. Stock up on frozen fruit. I like peaches, pineapple, and papaya, but whatever works for you, works for you. (The darker a fruit, like berries and cherries, the more brown your smoothie is going to wind up being.)
  3. Keep baby spinach or kale on hand. If need be, defrost spinach in the fridge overnight. Really! Frozen spinach works just fine, and it’s often cheaper than the fresh stuff.
  4. I use unsweetend almond milk, either in the vanilla or vanilla-coconut flavor profile (again with the tropical flavors motif) but any milk — from a cow or otherwise — or even coconut water will do the trick.
  5. I like adding hulled hemp seeds to my smoothie for extra fiber, protein, and fat (yes, this is a good thing because it keeps you full) but feel free to use a protein powder, peanut butter, avocado, or any other filler to really boost your smoothie’s staying powder.

Load the spinach into the blender first, then weigh it down with a piece of banana (or more, if you want a creamier drink) and some frozen fruit. Add your milk and blend, adding more milk as you go to keep it whirring. Throw your extras into the mix in the last few seconds to ensure that everything gets properly mixed up.

Pour into a mason jar (or an old salsa jar if you’re really cheap like me), drink, and go. (If you make extra, this actually freezes like a dream, so you can just defrost it in the fridge the night before and add to your next smoothie tomorrow.) Plus, you get to be extra smug for the rest of the day because you know you’ve already knocked a serving of vegetables out of the way. And all without chewing a single bite.

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