Can I Make Smoothies Ahead of Time?
Yes, but there's an art to it.
Whether on a post-holiday health kick or just trying to find a new lease on life, at some point we’ve all brought home mounds of fruit, dairy-free milks, and superfood additions with the intent of making fresh, healthy smoothies our go-to morning meal.
While in an ideal world we’d all have time in our morning routines to chop up fresh fruit and make the healthy blended mixtures of our dreams, crammed schedules and snoozed alarm clocks tend to get in the way. However, integrating smoothies into your everyday diet shouldn’t have to be a super stressful or time-consuming. Take advantage of one of these three easy methods for making your smoothies ahead of time to make your healthy morning routine run more smoothly than ever.
The Pre-Blended Method
For those who’d like to make a weekly batch of smoothies ahead of time to be at the ready during busy mornings, this pre-blended method is your answer. The first step is to invest in some freezer-safe jars or containers that are completely airtight, like Mason jars. Blend the smoothie of your choice and pour individual servings into the jars, making sure to leave at least an inch of room at the top, as the mixture will expand when frozen.
Store your airtight jars in the freezer, and when you’re ready to drink one, place it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw so that it’s reached the perfect consistency by morning. You can also opt to thaw your smoothie on the counter or on the go in the morning if you forget to transfer it to the fridge the night before, however this will require a wait and the texture and temperature likely won’t be as consistent throughout.
Pros: Great for saving some serious time on super busy mornings. Cons: Longer thawing process, and if not thawed properly could separate and develop a funky spoiled fruit flavor.
The Ice Tray Method
If you’d rather not take up precious real estate in your freezer with mountains of airtight glasses, another method for freezing your pre-blended smoothie is to utilize an ice cube tray to create smaller smoothie squares. Simply pour your blended smoothie into the sections of the tray and stick it in the freezer to solidify, popping a few of the frozen smoothie squares into a to-go cup to thaw on your way out of the door in the morning.
With this method, rather than thawing overnight in the refrigerator—which if left for too long can make the fruit and liquid in your smoothie start to separate and develop a funky flavor—you thaw in the morning as you start your day. However, because the smoothie is broken up into smaller cubes, the thawing process will move much quicker than with the whole cup freezing method, allowing you to enjoy your breakfast or snack sooner.
Note that you’ll want to use all of your ice cube-sized smoothie sections within a week of freezing, or they risk developing freezer burn or taking on the flavors of other surrounding ingredients. To safeguard against this, once your smoothie tray has frozen, pop out the cubes and store them in a freezer safe, airtight ziplock bag. You can also utilize this method with popsicle or push pop freezer molds.
Pros: Convenient for freezer stacking and faster thawing. Cons: The possibility of developing freezer burn or taking on other food flavors.
The Prepped Ingredient Method
While this method will take the slightly more time out of your morning—still no more than a minute or two—it’s the best method for guaranteeing a fresh and flavorful tasting smoothie every time.
Rather than blending your smoothie ahead of time and freezing it as-is, with this method you’ll slice and pre-portion your smoothie ingredients into individual freezer friendly plastic bags or jars to be quickly thrown in the blender in the morning with a splash of your favorite milk or dairy supplement, yogurt, or juice.
One of the benefits of this method, apart from the fresh flavor, is the ability to prep numerous kinds of smoothies ahead of time, rather than having a stockpile of the same exact smoothie, which can make your morning routine repetitive. While some of your smoothie bags might contain a sweet, fruity mixture of banana and berries, others can pack in the greens with a combination like kale, pineapple, and chia seeds.
A good standard ratio of frozen ingredients for a single meal-sized smoothie is 1 sliced banana, 2 cups fruit, and 1 cup of greens to be blended with 1 cup of the liquid of your choice. Though this will require a little work in the morning, a huge benefit of this method is that it allows you to prep your smoothies 3-6 months in advance. In contrast, pre-blended smoothies should be consumed within a few weeks of freezing.
Pros: Guarantees fresh, flavorful smoothies and allows for long-term storage. Cons: Requires a little extra time and attention in your morning routine for blending.
Whether you’re a blend ahead kind of person or on team slice and store, making your smoothies ahead of time can be the easiest way to get into a consistent healthy morning routine. For a little inspiration to get you started, check out these 35 Healthy Smoothie options, ranging from Turmeric Mango to Blueberry Pomegranate.