Warm fruit mush is the enemy

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Here’s something about me: I love a smoothie, but I’m picky. I can't bear to spend $11 on a superfood-fortified smoothie from one of those hip juice spots (do you know how much chocolate you can buy with that kind of cash?). But I also don’t want a cafe or deli smoothie—though cheaper, those are usually no more than yogurt and fruit juice and far too much ice, making them cloying and brain freeze-inducing. I like making my own smoothies for breakfast, but seeing as I either leave for the gym at 6 a.m. or sleep in, giving myself just enough free time to sip on half a mug of coffee, neither routine is especially conducive to compiling a smoothie, let alone wash the blender. At first, I accepted the fact that it was simply not possible to make my on smoothie on work days, but then I discovered a trick that changed everything.

This wondrous smoothie tip involves another thing I don’t love, but have come to understand: meal prep. Here’s how I do it. I dump the equivalent of about four smoothies worth of sliced frozen banana, berries, nut butter, flax seed and/or chia seed, almond milk, and a few scoops of plain yogurt into my blender—a Vitamix that I got on super-sale for $80 and is now one of my most prized possessions—and let her rip. When the colossal smoothie is sufficiently blended, I pour it into ice cube trays. Any clean ice tray will work, but I’ve found that this silicone 2-inch cube tray 1) makes removing ice cubes extremely easy as it is made of bendy material, and 2) the large cubes melt more slowly. For this much smoothie, you’ll obviously need more than one ice tray, but if you only have one, just repeat the process the night before you want a smoothie, it’s still worth it. I freeze the smoothie cubes until solid, about eight hours or overnight. Of course, smoothie cubes last indefinitely in the freezer, but to avoid a smoothie that tastes sort of freezer burnt, I’d recommend that once the cubes are solid, you transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container that seals.

On my way out the door in the morning, I’ll toss three or four ice cubes into a mason jar or thermos. If I know it’s going to be at least a couple hours until I drink the smoothie, I’ll put the smoothie in my little lunch box with an ice pack. If I’m just heading to work, I’ll just toss the smoothie in my bag. By the time I’m ready for breakfast, the ice has melted into a still-cold, still-thick smoothie. I chug the smoothie with glee, and then feel very ill for an hour or so, as a large breakfast of liquid is intense. Still, I feel like a champ, and you will too.