Thursday, March 15, 2012

Go Green, Save Green

There are numerous ways to go green in order to save money: buy a fuel-efficient vehicle, repurpose/reuse, make your own cleaners, etc. I recently discovered a new way to save money that's also super healthy - making green smoothies!
that's not me. i don't smile that much in the morning.
In the past, I was hesitant to buy produce in bulk because inevitably some would go bad before I could eat it. I was spending more money to buy smaller quantities and making frequent trips to the grocery store. This was especially true in the late fall to early spring before the local farm stands re-open. I might as well have thrown money straight into the trash can. Now, if any of my fruit is too ripe to eat raw, I just pop it in the freezer for later use.

For the "green" portion, you can use just about any leafy vegetable that your heart desires. I'm still pretty new to the smoothie game, so I use spinach because it's mild in flavor and it's easy (& cheap) to come by. I'm looking forward to purusing my local farmer's market this summer for fresh kale, chard, and mustard greens to use in the smoothies. I also like to add some greek yogurt for its protein and creaminess. Depending on my fruit supply, I may choose a favored variety for an extra kick of fruitiness or just the plain fat-free version. You can often find individual greek yogurts on sale at your local grocery store or a larger fat-free container at a big box store.

Lately, my go to combination has been strawberry kiwi. Shop Rite had 6 kiwis on sale for $1.99 and a large container of strawberries for $2.50. I use about a half kiwi per smoothie and probably about a cup of sliced strawberries (it's really about personal taste preference, so I don't have exact measurements for you). I add almost enough water to cover the fruit and two heaping tablespoons of fat-free greek yogurt. I blend those first until smooth, then I add the spinach. The first smoothie I made, I only used one handful of spinach, but now I throw in about two & a half.

The whole process takes less then 10 minutes, depending on how many fruits you need to cut up. I like that I can carry it around the house as I finish getting ready for work. One 12-16 ounce cup keeps me full until about 11 AM, which is even longer than when I eat eggs for breakfast! It also helps curb my cravings for unhealthy food which is great. Don't feel like you need to get a fancy blender, either; We have a basic $30 blender from Target, which works fine for chopping up small or sliced produce (if you want to blend ice in though, maybe splurge a little more).

In short, green smoothies are good for you AND your wallet! Anyone inspired to try one tomorrow morning?

Day Twenty-Four Spent:
$25.00 gas
$10.00 March Madness pool
$1.00 Mega Millions lottery ticket
$1.00 chocolate bar (sheriff's fundraiser)
Day Twenty-Four Saved: $0.00

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