Greetings, Mason jar fans!
New Year, new you? New Year, same awesome you! That being said, getting more fruits, veggies, fiber, and protein into our diets is always a good goal – whether we’ve just crossed into a new year or not. I’m not much of a resolutions person, but I do like to take stock of my habits occasionally and see if they’re in need of a tune up. So if you’re feeling like you could use some new ideas to bring nutrient dense food into your life, then this is blog post for you!
Smoothies are an easy and tasty way to
sneak get more fruits and veggies in, while also being satisfying and portable. As a parent, I’ve employed this method for years with my kiddos to get everything from beets to bananas and spinach to spirulina into them. What they can’t see, they can’t figure out to complain about (am I right?!). Plus a good smoothie can feel like a treat as much as a snack or even meal.
I’m going to share three recipes with you that will help give your morning a boost or serve as your afternoon snack to help power you through until dinner – depending on when you like to have your smoothie and how much you make. One trick I do with smoothies is freeze any extra in a jar with a storage lid and re-blend it up later to enjoy again.
Some Accessories for Your Smoothies:
As with so many things, a few, well thought out accessories can make any task easier and more enjoyable to do. Planning, prepping, making, drinking, and transporting smoothies is no different and you’ll be on your way to nutrient nirvana in no time with these helpful items.
We hope that you already have a cabinet filled with gleaming Mason jars from your grandparents’ collection, the thrift store, yard sales, or the grocery store. If you don’t have enough jars on hand, then we recommend you check out your local stores for some – and don’t forget your hardware store, too! You can use regular or wide mouth jars for smoothies, and any size jar will do depending on your needs. Glass is the perfect choice for enjoying your drink, as it won’t leach out any nasty chemicals like plastic tumblers can.
Tossware Regular Mouth Stackable Plastic Mason Jars:
We recently added Tossware plastic pint sized Mason jars and I think these are perfect for kids. Don’t get me wrong, I give my kids glass jars with silicone sleeves every day, but a plastic option is nice if you’re going to be at playground or park where cleaning up glass (should anything break) is a much bigger deal. These plastic pints are studier than you might think with a name like Tossware, and hold up to being reused many times (plus they’re recyclable).
You can add a silicone sleeve still for insulation and drop protection (and cuteness!). Plus it’s a green choice as these jars are made of recycled plastic and BPA free.
I love a good straw as I find I drink more (and enjoy it more) with one. Smoothie straws are perfect for any thicker beverages (not just smoothies) such as yogurt, milk shakes, and protein shakes. But honestly, I use one all the time for just plain, old water because I’m able to get more in that way. Our smoothie straws have a much larger internal diameter (8.2mm) compared to our safer, rounded straws (6.2mm) and come in two lengths medium for pint jars ( 7 1/4″ long) and long for quart and pint and a half jars (9″ long). They’re made of stainless steel so they won’t rust or leach chemicals, they’re sturdy for years of use, and can even go in the dishwasher.
Silicone Straw Hole Lids:
Since a smoothie straw has a wider diameter than the average straw, it won’t fit in every single lid that we sell. They do fit nicely in our silicone straw hole lids, however, to make your delicious beverage easier and very importantly neater to drink – surely I’m not the only one out there with smoothie mysteriously splashed all over the interior of my car!
Pour and Store Lids:
Another great option which provides utmost portability is our pour and store lid with carrying loop or pour and store pitcher with handle. Both versions close securely so you can throw your smoothie into a bag, take it wherever, and then pop a straw into the opening when you’re ready to drink.
As I mentioned above, I’m a big fan of saving extra smoothie if I made too much, have leftovers, or just want to get jump ahead with some prep work. As such, I always need a healthy stash of storage lids on hand. I recommend our stainless steel storage lids if you’re going to put the smoothie back into the freezer as I find the plastic ones harder to open when they’re really cold.
Silicone Sleeves / Koozies:
As someone who’s a wee bit accident prone, I ALWAYS think silicone sleeves are a good idea for protection if my jar gets dropped or knocked over. But they’re also great for insulation your frosty smoothie and your hands. Made of silicone rubber, these sleeves are dishwasher, freezer, and microwave safe! Silicone is a safe, green, non-plastic (BPA free) material for food use that does not leach any chemicals – so you can be green while drinking your green smoothie!
Cold Brew Coffee & Tea Filter Kit:
Might seem a little out of place in a smoothie post, but I used my cold brew filter to make coffee (in my healthy Frappuccino recipe) and elderberry tea (in my green smoothie). Plus if you need help washing berries for your smoothie, this filter can do double duty as a little strainer – trust us we’ve tested that one out at the office!
Some Ingredients for Your Smoothies:
The best part about smoothies is you can really throw pretty much ANYTHING that you have in your fridge, freezer, and pantry into them. I like recipes to be simple and involve ingredients I keep on hand (I detest having to make an extra trip to the store just for one recipe). That being said, I keep some things on hand that you may not have or want to buy – and that’s totally okay! Adjust any of these recipes to your taste preferences and what you have at home. I’m just going to mention a few items here you may not have tired before and why you might consider adding them to your daily drinks.
Powdered Greens (Chocolate Flavor):
Powered greens contain a nutrient dense combination of greens, fruits, and vegetables to provide your body with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. This is an easy way to add a wide-variety of plant nutrients to everything from hot cocoa, smoothies, or even your morning coffee. I recommend Barlean’s Chocolate Silk Greens Powder with Rich Chocolate Taste and Antioxidants which I buy at my local health food store.
Spirulina is a type of algae that’s rich in nutrients, vitamins, and is a high-quality source of vegan protein. It’s called a “superfood” and thought to help with calming inflammation, boosting the immune system, reducing environmental allergies, and improving heart health. I buy the generic brand my health store sells but you can find a variety of kinds at a store near you.
Don’t let these tiny seeds fool you as they’re packed with antioxidants, minerals, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Plus there’s 91% of daily recommended intake levels of dietary fiber in a 100g serving of chia seeds! They’re easy to incorporate into your smoothies for heart health, lowered blood sugar levels, and added satiety.
You’ve probably seen elderberry in lozenge or syrup (Sambucus) form, but at my local health food store I can buy organic, whole, dried elderberries and steep them to make my own tea. I’m a BIG believer in elderberries ability to boost my immune system which prevents me from getting sick and lessening the severity and length of time I’m ill if I do catch something. It is a bit tart on it’s own (especially for kids) so I try to not overdo it in smoothies. You can also find elderberry mixed Echinacea and other herbal blends in your tea aisle.
Collagen is pretty popular these days. It’s a substance that’s naturally occurring in your skin and in the connective tissues that make up your tendons, ligaments, muscles, and more. It’s the most abundant protein in the body. However, over time, aging breaks down the collagen in your body and makes it more difficult to produce more¹. Taking collagen is thought to improve your skin, hair, and nails, reduce joint pain and bone loss, boost your heart health, and more!
As I mentioned above, you can really put pretty much anything into a smoothie so experiment, look at new recipes, and see what you love! A lot of smoothie recipes call for peanut butter, but my older child is allergic so none of my recipes will include that (though I LOVE peanut butter – sigh). You can also use whatever sort of milk or dairy alternative you have on hand though I used regular cow’s milk and half & half in mine. Also you can pick and choose what kind of protein powder you like and that meets you needs. I used whey based powders in these drinks.
Lots of smoothies involve frozen bananas because they give a creamy, ice cream-esque texture to the drinks. I recommend peeling, cutting, and freezing overripe banana chunk in a jar or baggie in your freezer. This makes them quick and easy to pop in your smoothie and cuts down on prep time. You can, of course, peel and chop frozen bananas as well but I find them VERY cold on my hand.
As one last side note (and perhaps I should take my own advice on this one), I looked at a lot of healthy Frappuccino / blended coffee drink recipes and most involve a frozen banana and peanut butter. I thought coffee and bananas seems weird, but hey – maybe I should give it a try one of these days! Anyway, you may want to throw a banana into yours if you desire a creamier texture.
Get Up & At ‘Em Green Smoothie
This smoothie is your perfect pal for a healthy and satisfying breakfast at home or on the go. Packed with nutrients and protein, it’s also a great post-work out option.
The following recipe makes about one quart jar of green smoothie.
- 1 large frozen banana – peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup frozen mango or pineapple – peeled and cut into chunks
- 1/2 ripe avocado – cored and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup of your choice of milk
- 1/2 cup (4oz) of Elderberry tea
- 1 teaspoon spirulina powder
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or hemp seeds
- 1-2 teaspoons of honey, maple syrup, or sweetener of your choice
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
Start with liquid ingredients in the blender, then add fruits and veggies, and then seeds and powder. Blend, scrape sides if needed, and blend again.
After School Chocolate, Banana Smoothie
This is a great way to get some extra vitamins, minerals, and protein in the kiddos after school and help tide them over until dinner time (so hopefully the grown up can cook in peace!). I often bring this one to pick up with me, and the kids can drink it on the ride home.
I have two kiddos, so this recipe will make about 2 pint jars of smoothie.
- 1 cup of your choice of milk
- 1/2 cup of your choice of yogurt
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- 1 scoop powdered greens (chocolate)
- (replacement) 1 tablespoon dark chocolate cocoa powder
- 2 large frozen bananas – peeled and cut into chunks
- 1-2 tablespoon semi sweet chocolate chips (give or take a few!)
Start with milk and yogurt in the blender, then add fruits and chocolate, and then powders. Blend, scrape sides if needed, and blend again.
Healthy Frappuccino, Blended Cold Brew Coffee Smoothie
If you’re like me and love a little afternoon cold brew coffee, this is a great way to add some protein and nutrients to your midday pick-me-up! You can customize this drink in so many ways by adding flavored syrups or sugars, peanut butter, yogurt, or even a banana!
This recipes makes about one pint’s worth of cold brew coffee smoothie. I used a wide mouth pint jar for mine.
I recommend using cold brewed coffee for this with our cold brew coffee filter kit. With this kit, you can easily make smooth, dark, cold brew concentrate that’s perfect for drinking on it’s own and in this smoothie. I make half caf / half decaf for mine.
PREP AHEAD: Mix together cold brew coffee and your choice of milk, pour into an ice cube tray, and allow to freeze.
- 1 scoop of vanilla or chocolate protein powder
- 1 scoop collagen powder
- 4-5 cold brew coffee ice cubes
- 1/2 cup cold brew coffee concentrate or chilled strong coffee or espresso
- 1/2 cup of milk of your choice (I used half & half)
- 1-2 tablespoons raw honey (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Start with liquid ingredients in the blender, then add ice cubes, and then chocolate chips and powders. Blend, scrape sides if needed, and blend again.
I hope you’ve found some inspiration and motivation to get your smoothie on in this blog post! I’d love to hear what your favorite combinations are. Find us on social media and share it with us 🙂 We LOVE to hear from you! Join the conversations going on right now on our Facebook business page, Mason Jar Lifestyle, or Facebook group, Living The Mason Jar Lifestyle! We are also on Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. Looking forward to connecting with you soon!