And whilst some would argue that you can’t put a price on your health, the fact is that many of us live on a budget. Of course we’d love to buy whatever we like at the supermarket, but we also live in the real world. We have a limited amount of money with which to feed ourselves or our families, so have to balance good nutrition with time and cost.
Cheap Smoothie Recipes: Intro
According to extensive research on eating patterns and attitudes towards dietary change, cost and lack of time are actually the most common barriers that hold us back from consistently eating healthily.
But cost doesn’t have to hold us back from developing healthy lifestyle habits. So here are our top tips for blending cheap smoothies on a budget (skip to the end for bonus cheap smoothie recipes)…
#1. Eat seasonally
Whether fruit and veg is in season, will have a big impact on the price tag. For example, when strawberries are in season, they are usually half the price that they command the rest of the year. An abundant supply means that growers need to sell their perishables before they get too ripe. And they’d rather sell it and make less profit, than have it go bad and make a loss. Plus it usually costs less to transport produce that’s in season locally, since it travels a much shorter distance to get to you. This handy cheat sheet on seasonal ingredients, can help you pinpoint which are at their best right now.
#2. Pick your own
Picking your own fruit can be a huge cost saver, but it does take some time. If you have kids, then it might be a fun family activity, that also teaches them where different fruits come from. Many farms will let you pick your own produce for a small fee, just look out for the ‘PYO’ signs along the roadside. Or Pickyourown.org lists all of the PYO fruit and veg farms the U.S., Canada, and Britain. In many countries, you can also pick berries free of charge from public hedgerows. Just be sure to check that the hedges you’re raiding are in fact public property beforehand.
#3. Visit markets on Saturdays
The best deals on seasonal produce can usually be found at your local market, which also supports independent businesses. Since so few markets are open on Sundays, traders know they need to sell their produce on Saturday before it starts to spoil. So if you pop down in the afternoon, you can find many items at clearance prices.
#4. Maximise your freezer
Many fruits and vegetables can be frozen, so stock up when they’re on special offer. Berries are ideal candidates since they can go bad quickly, therefore freezing reduces wastage. But you can freeze almost anything – bananas, spinach, even vegan yogurt (ice-cube trays are your friend). Peel and pit everything that needs it, then store in an airtight bag. Most fruit and veg will last between 6-9 months, although you’ll get the most nutrients by using it within three. Freeze them in individual portions, so you can just grab what you need later on.
#5. Try tinned
Tinned fruits and veggies totally count towards your ‘5 A DAY’ and will last longer than fresh. Go for the ‘in water’ or ‘in fruit juice’ options, as they’re healthier than the syrup covered alternatives. Also avoid anything that has added sugar or salt. The supermarket own-brand varieties are usually the cheapest.
#6. Buy loose
If you shop at a supermarket, then buy fruit and vegetables loose instead of pre-packaged. Loose fruit and veg can be as little as half the price.
#7. Don’t stress about organic
This is a personal choice. Some research says that organic is healthier, and contains less toxins from pesticides. Other research says that it’s just contaminated with government approved pesticides, and no better for your health. It’s all a bit confusing, and if the experts can’t agree then we’re definitely not going to weigh in. So we’ll just say that organic is nice, but it’s not required in our book. Just buy the best you can with the funds you have, and wash everything thoroughly.
#8. Prepare portions ahead
It’s a small but useful cost-saving strategy. Prepping smoothie ingredients in advance will save you time and hassle during the week.
But a nice added bonus is that it helps with portion control, as ingredients are distributed evenly between each day instead of being measured on the go. So you won’t run out of something mid-week and need to buy extra, or conversely be left with soggy leftovers that go to waste.
#9. Rotate 2-3 recipes
Making a different smoothie everyday can get expensive, especially if they all have different ingredients. To keep costs down, try alternating between just two or three cheap smoothie recipes every week. This is a really good tactic when using more costly ingredients like berries or spinach. It also helps minimise wastage.
The key is to include a variety of coloured produce – yellow, orange, green, purple. This is a good rule of thumb to ensure you’re also getting varied nutrients. For example, having four Banana & Pineapple smoothies, and three Carrot & Apple smoothies, would cost approx. $4 or £2.50 over seven days.
#10. Mix’n’match ingredients
If you prefer a different smoothie every day, then use the mix’n’match approach. Rotate the same core ingredients, but accessorise them differently each day.
So maybe a carrot and apple smoothie on day one, apple and orange smoothie on day 2, and carrot, orange and spice smoothie on day 3.