Are you looking for ways to prepare cheap smoothies on a budget? The beauty of blended drinks is that they don’t need to cost the earth to be nutritious. So, how do you keep ingredient costs affordable without scrimping on flavour?
In this article – we share our top 10 tips for preparing cheap healthy smoothies on a budget along with 3-ingredient recipes that you can make for pennies!
- 10 Tips For Preparing Cheap Smoothies
- Our Favourite Cheap Smoothie Recipes
- A Week’s Worth of Smoothies For $5 or £3
Preparing Cheap Smoothies – 10 Tips
Let’s get straight to the issue – some smoothies aren’t cheap. Buying pre-made or packaged drinks from McDonald’s or Innocent costs anywhere between £1.50 to £4 per serving.
But even more frustrating is the huge number of online recipes that also come with a high price tag. Most either include expensive exotic fruits or random supplements, both of which bump up the costs.
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.
According to extensive research on eating patterns and attitudes towards dietary change, cost and lack of time are the most common barriers that hold us back from consistently eating healthily.
But cost doesn’t have to hold us back from developing positive lifestyle habits. So here are our top tips for blending cheap healthy smoothies on a budget…
- Eat seasonally
- Pick your own
- Visit markets on Saturdays
- Maximise your freezer
- Try tinned
- Buy loose
- Don’t stress about organic
- Prepare portions ahead
- Rotate 2-3 recipes
- Mix’n’match ingredients
Before we jump into the recipes for our fav cheap smoothies, let’s look at each of these cost-saving ideas in more detail…
#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. So, finding cheap smoothie ingredients is usually a case of working out what’s in season right now.
Tasty tip – This handy cheat sheet on seasonal ingredients, can help you pinpoint which are at their best right now.
#2. Pick Your Own Cheap Smoothie Ingredients
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. It’s a fantastic way to source fresh ingredients to use in affordable smoothie recipes.
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.
You might also like… How To Freeze Spinach & Kale For Your Smoothies
#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. Avoid anything that has added sugar or salt.
The supermarket own-brand varieties are usually the cheapest. Plus, they come ready peeled and chopped which makes them perfect for cheap easy smoothies.
#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 since you only grab what you actually need. This is also a fantastic way to avoid unnecessary food waste.
The cheapest smoothie ingredients you can buy include…
You might also like… 9 Easy Ways to Save Money & Reduce Food Waste in the Kitchen.
#7. Don’t Stress About Organic
This is a personal choice. Some research says that organic is healthier, and contains fewer 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.
You might also like… 10 Awesome Smoothie Cups For Travel & Everyday Use.
#9. Rotate 2-3 Cheap Smoothie Recipes
Making a different smoothie every day 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 brightly 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 approximately $4 or £2.50 over seven days.
#10. Mix’n’match Budget-Friendly Ingredients
If you prefer a different smoothie every day, then use the mix’n’match approach. Rotate the same core ingredients, but give them a slight twist 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.
Our Favourite Cheap Smoothies
Here are some of our favourite cheap smoothie recipes made with just 3 ingredients…
- Green Pineapple Smoothie
- Vegan Strawberry Banana Smoothie
- ABC (Apple Berry Celery) Smoothie
- Healthy Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie
- Peach Melba Smoothie
A Week’s Worth of Smoothies For $5/£3
One way to truly streamline your smoothie shopping budget is to stick to basic staples; bananas, apples, carrots, pears and oranges. For just $5 or £3 a week, you can still enjoy a different smoothie every day, using the recipes below.
By eating a variety of different coloured fruits and veggies, you’re getting a balanced intake of different vitamins and minerals. So try to mix up your smoothies ingredients as much as possible, to consume the full spectrum of nutrients your body needs.
Carrot & Apple Smoothie – 23p/37c per serving
- 1 apple – 15p/24c
- 1 carrot – 8p/13c
Pear & Orange Smoothie – 62p/99c per serving
- 1 pear – 20p/32c
- 1 orange – 30p /48c
- 1 banana – 12p/19c
Simple Banana Smoothie – 30p/47c per serving
- 2 bananas – 24p/38c
- 120ml fruit juice – 6p/9c
Carrot & Pineapple Smoothie – 40p/65c per serving
- ½ carrot – 4p/7c
- ½ tin of pineapple – 30p/48c
- ½ banana – 6p/10c
Simple Apple & Orange Smoothie – 45p/72c per serving
- 1 apple – 15p/24c
- 1 orange – 30p/48c
Apple & Pear Detox Smoothie – 35p/56c per serving
- 1 apple – 15p/24c
- 1 pear – 20p/32c
Simple Orange & Carrot Smoothie – 68p/$1.09 per serving
- 2 oranges – 60p/96c
- 1 carrot – 8p/13c
Cheap Healthy Smoothies – Summary
These tips will help you to prepare cheap healthy smoothies no matter what your budget is. They make ingredients more affordable and enable you to stretch them further too. For lots of easy and cheap smoothie recipes, check out our delicious 3-ingredient wonders.
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