“Smoothies aren’t complicated. But if you’ve slept in, have kids, or simply aren’t a morning person, making them can feel about as doable as a prepping a gourmet four-course meal,” says Rachael Hartley, R.D., L.D., C.L.T., owner of Avocado A Day Nutrition. “DIY freezer smoothie bags literally take less than a minute to prepare.”
Make-ahead freezer smoothies are the hot (or cold) trend in easy, breezy breakfasts. And while you can buy pre-mixed packs in your grocery store’s frozen aisle, why spend the cash when they’re so easy to DIY?
So what exactly is a freezer smoothie? Basically, it’s a ready-to-go, pre-portioned mixture of smoothie ingredients—without the liquid. So you wash, chop, prep, and store multiple portions at once, and when you’re ready to enjoy, you grab a pack from freezer, dump everything into your blender, add liquid (like almond milk or coconut water), and blend away. This way you eliminate the fuss (and potentially time-consuming process) of gathering, measuring, and prepping all of your smoothie ingredients in the morning.
“They also reduce waste,” adds Dana Angelo White, M.S. R.D. A.T.C., “When fruit is getting over-ripe or yogurt is about to expire, you can get extra mileage by storing in the freezer.”
Not to mention, freezer smoothies are simple way to start your day with tons of nutrient-rich produce. Here are nine freezer smoothie tips that’ll totally transform your mornings.
1. Store them in mason jars so you always have a cold glass ready for your smoothie…
“I’ve used Ball mason jars, which are freezer safe–then, you can pour the smoothie back into a frosty glass,” says White. Think of it as a morning-friendly frosted beer glass.
2. …Or use freezer-safe bags to save space.
Quart-size freezer bags are the way to go if you’re short on space, though. “I think freezer-safe bags take up the least amount of space in my freezer, especially when you stack them up,” says White. Plus, “if one of the ingredients gets stuck, you can simply cut it away,” says Hartley.
3. Layer yogurt in with your other ingredients.
Yep—you can totally freeze yogurt with the rest of your smoothie ingredients. “If you’re putting more than a small scoop of yogurt in your freezer bag, it might be tough on your blender, especially if you’ve got a cheapie like me,” says Hartley. “Break it up by layering it with other ingredients so it’s not a giant, frozen clump.”
4. Or, freeze lots of yogurt at once in an ice tray.
If you’ve got an entire container of yogurt to freeze at once, this is a no-fuss option. “I freeze yogurt in ice cube trays,” says White. “Once they’re frozen, I transfer them into the smoothie packs.”
5. Save unused greens by tossing them in smoothie packs.
Even if you’re not a green smoothie kind of person, a handful shouldn’t outweigh the flavors you love, and it’ll diversify the nutrients you’re getting. “Delicate greens usually don’t freeze well, but because they’re blended into the smoothie, you can use anything from spinach, parsley, and cilantro to tougher kale and collards,” says Hartley. Make sure everything is very clean and dry before freezing, adds White. And if you are a green smoothie kind of person? Feel free to go all-in.
6. And don’t be afraid to put your dry ingredients into your smoothie pack, either.
Some people prefer to save their powders and seeds for morning-of blending, but according to White and Hartley, you don’t have to. “I add chia and flax seeds to smoothie packs all the time,” says White. “Other dry ingredients like protein powder, nuts, and oats also hold up in the freezer. These help add more elements to the smoothie—better flavor, texture, and they can increase the amount of fiber and healthy fats.”
7. Prep enough smoothie packs for one to three months at a time.
“I typically make a few for the month and then refresh my stash—but when properly stored they would be fine for up to three months,” says White. Weekly meal prep? More like monthly.
8. When you’re ready to blend, start with a 1:1 ratio.
“I typically start with one cup of liquid and add more if needed—the other dry and frozen ingredients equal about another one to one and a half cups,” says White. Depending on your frozen concoction you can opt for unsweetened almond milk, coconut water, coconut milk, or even cold brew coffee or tea.
9. Most of all, get creative with your ingredients!
Use your imagination in your smoothie packs so you don’t get bored. “Experiment with ingredients,” suggests White. “Small ingredients like a pinch of cardamom or a small piece of lemon zest can totally elevate any smoothie.” (Psst…if you’re using bananas, make sure you peel and slice ’em before you put them in the pack!)