By Alex Orlov for Life for DailyBurn
There's nothing as tasty or refreshing as a cold smoothie for breakfast or after a tough workout. But sometimes making one can be anything but smooth. Missing ingredients, weird consistency, annoying clean up -- we knew there had to be some tricks to make our drink creation routine more seamless. Turns out, there are a few secrets we'd didn't know about crafting the perfect beverage! Check out these 13 smoothie hacks that are guaranteed to make whipping up that delicious, nutritious sip easier.
1. Make frozen smoothie cups.
Always running late during the week and don't have a spare second to measure out your ingredients? You can save time by buying the fixings beforehand, blending up your beverage over the weekend, and freezing the mixture in muffin tins. Throw your “smoothie cups” in a blender for breakfast ready in a flash.
2. Ditch the pitcher.
Here's a potentially life-changing hack: Most detachable blade blenders can accommodate a small-mouth mason jar. This means you can blend and then take your smoothie on the road, no sweat (and no extra clean up)! Just make sure you're ready for a challenge since you'll have to stage a balancing act to get the mason jar attached to the base without the ingredients falling out.
3. Ice, ice baby.
Try freezing coffee in ice cube trays and then adding it to your blender the next time you make a smoothie. This trick is great if you don't usually have cold brew in the fridge. You can also freeze fresh spinach or kale in ice trays so you'll always have some on hand.
4. Save and store bananas.
Got ripe 'naners but not ready to chow down just yet? You can save them for later by storing them in the freezer. Make sure to peel and chop them up though -- that way tossing them into your blender is a breeze. (We also love pairing frozen banana slices with Nutella, peanut butter or almond butter as a healthy dessert!)
5. Go green.
Veggie haters, this one's for you. Sneak spinach, kale or broccoli into your blender if you have trouble getting greens in your diet. Pick the right green smoothie recipe and the sweetness of apple, honey or fruit juice will neutralize the bitter taste of the vegetables.
6. Boost with protein.
For a smoothie that delivers the nutrients your body needs to stay full or recover from a demanding workout, be sure to add protein powder into the mix. If you don't have the powdered stuff on hand, try silken tofu or peanut butter.
7. Indulge without dairy.
Lactose-intolerant but want the velvety texture of yogurt-based smoothies? Use avocado or instant pudding mix to add creaminess sans dairy. Xantham gum, featured in this no soy, dairy-free chocolate frosty, will also do the trick.
8. Gain some grains.
For a heart-healthy way to start the day, add some rolled oats or a few spoonfuls of cooked oatmeal to your creation. We recommend grinding the oats in a blender beforehand so you'll end up with a powder that won't overpower the texture of your smoothie.
9. Protect your blades.
While adding your ingredients in the wrong order isn't necessarily a bad thing, the pros know that getting the order right can streamline the process and extend the lifespan of your blender. Add liquid or yogurt first, then soft fruits, vegetables, and ice on top or last. This lubricates the blender's blades so they'll easily cut through the harder stuff.
10. Lose some liquid.
If you're not working from a recipe, begin with less milk or water. It's easier to add more soy milk or water after the fact than it is to round up additional veggies.
11. Start slow.
No need to go all out from the get-go! Begin at the lowest blender speed, then work your way up to higher ones as needed. You won't put as much wear and tear on the blender's motor or the blades.
12. Salvage any surplus.
If you've got one smoothie serving plus a little to spare, make popsicles! If a popsicle mold isn't handy, grab some paper cups or ice trays, fill them with the leftovers, and pop toothpicks in as handles. You can also use smoothie leftovers to make fruit leather, a kid-friendly snack (but you'll need a dehydrator).
13. Scrub no more.
Make clean up a breeze by simply blending dish soap and a little water once you're done! Be sure to rinse thoroughly so you get all the soap out before letting the pitcher dry.
Bonus Blender Tips:
- Fun fact: When you fit a mason jar onto your blender (see tip #2) you can easily blend spices or nuts without a spice grinder. Try a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to season desserts like pumpkin pie.
- Can't shake your slurpee habit? Make a homemade version that's way healthier than the sugar-packed varieties found at gas stations and stores. All you need is water, ice and just a bit of fruit juice. We recommend cranberry, orange or lemon juice because a little juice provides a lot of flavor.
- Here's a hack if you don't have a blender! If you're daring, make a watermelon slushie with a power drill and a coat hanger. For the full instructions watch this YouTube video.
Did we miss any tips? Share them with us in the comments section below.