Stressed About What to Have for Dinner? Just Make a Smoothie!
I have come to the realization that I don’t like eating dinner. I mean, I would happily go out to dinner, or you could make me dinner, don’t get me wrong - but when it’s just me at home and I’m fending for myself, I’m much more into making lunch my main meal. By dinnertime, I’m just not interested. I tried just not eating dinner, and that left me falling asleep to the sound of my grumbling stomach, so I needed a new approach. That’s how I became a Smoothie Person.
So many people talk about smoothies, and there’s certainly a whole market for Smoothie Merch out there, but I always thought it was so complicated. It’s like people who cook breakfast on weekdays - who are you? But I started eyeing these smoothie makers (blenders, really) where you blend in the cup you’re going to drink out of, and reading about what you put in a smoothie (spoiler alert: It’s literally anything you want) and I decided this could be my no-dinner dinner.
I bought a Nutri Ninja Pro blender from Target, and stocked up on smoothie ingredients at Costco (more on that later). The blender I bought comes with two cups, one large and one small, and two lids. I find the small cup is useless, unless you’re making baby food I guess, so I purchased a set of two more large cups as well. Eventually I’m going to get a second blade attachment too, just to make things even easier.
But it’s so easy! I have a recipe I’ve come up with that I know I like, and you can add all kinds of stuff that you might not want to eat otherwise, but in a smoothie is hidden nutrition that’s delicious. I was adding each ingredient individually each time I made a smoothie, but I’ve started pre-making them and putting all the ingredients I want to use in baggies, and storing those in the freezer. Then, when it’s smoothie time, I just dump the bag’s contents in my cup, add some liquid, and literally SECONDS later I have a smoothie. I get some nutrients, some dinner, and it’s quick and easy.
So here’s my current favorite smoothie concoction, all ingredients are from Costco, and I’ll link to what I can find, but also, in the world of smoothies, ANYTHING GOES. I tried searching for recipes but really, the best method is to just throw stuff in and see what you like. These measurements are all very approximate because I just kind of eyeball it. Again, the point is that it’s uncomplicated!
About a handful (a cup? I don’t know) of the Kirkland Three Berry Blend
About a cup of spinach
Half a banana, sliced
A cup (I did measure this once) of orange mango juice (or whatever you have!)
2-3 tbsp of chia seeds
Fill the rest of the cup with water, then blend
Here’s what I’ve learned in my limited time as a Smoothie Person:
You need more liquid than you think. Also, using a little juice tastes better than using just water. I use about a 1-3 ration of juice to water (This is a complete guess, but it feels right). I like the juice because it adds a little bit of flavor. I tried only water and it was fine, but not as good.
I used to take Metamucil, but TWO different doctors have told me it’s not so great for you as the natural alternative, psyllium husk. Psyllium husk is… gross. Metamucil isn’t delicious, but it’s easier to choke down. I tried putting psyllium husk in a smoothie… still gross. BUT, I have learned that chia seeds have the same wonderful digestive effects as psyllium husk, and they blend into a smoothie just beautifully. I’m gradually building up to adding more and more chia seeds to my blend. (Learn more about fiber here. You need more of it.)
If you put all your ingredients in the freezer, there’s no need to add ice. This gives you more room to sneak spinach in there.
You absolutely cannot taste the spinach in a smoothie. I find the banana is a real mediator with all the various ingredients I’ve thrown in there, but even without it, you still can’t detect the spinach. I’m trying to figure out how to put even more in there. Secret vegetables!
This makes an enormous smoothie. It basically fills the entire 24 oz cup. I drink it over the course of like, two hours, because again, I’m not into dinner. But it’s full of nutrients! And secret vegetables!
I have tried using the lids that come with the cups, and it’s just not my thing. I much prefer straws. The uproar about using plastic straws is all bullshit, and the only thing it does is hurt disabled people, BUT, if you have industrial composting in your area (backyard composting will not work on this type of product, FYI), and don’t have any needs/conditions that make them unusable, compostable straws are a good option. The large ones from Starbucks are my favorite (again, if you have them and if you’re willing to grab a handful and run out of Starbucks) but I just ordered these to try out. Again, plastic straws are not the problem, and I am only using these because I CAN and my city has a compost program. PLASTIC STRAWS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM.
Do you have any smoothie tips? What is your favorite combo? How much spinach do you put in your smoothies? I am new to this world but VERY gung-ho about my new life as a Smoothie Person.