Smoothies from nationwide chains tend to use juice blends and artificial syrups to create expensive, high-calorie drinks disguised as healthy options. Some are marketed as meal replacements or have added ingredients with supposed “fat blaster” or “immune support” properties, in order to command a premium.
These 6 easy smoothies are much cheaper than similar concoctions sold in stores – and just as tasty.
This combination of bananas, almond butter, and chocolate tastes like a milkshake but is nutritionally sound. Start with a frozen banana to give the smoothie a thick texture and subtle sweetness.
Blend it with a protein-packed teaspoon of almond butter, a teaspoon of maple syrup or honey as needed for extra sweetness, a cup of milk, and a few spoonfuls of cocoa powder. The cost is little more than $1 for 10 ounces. A similar 20-ounce smoothie featuring the same ingredients, the Lean Chocolate, is sold at Smoothie King for $5.29 before tax, or nearly triple the price per ounce.
Although strawberries are a seasonal fruit, frozen strawberries are available year-round and are even better for smoothies than fresh.
Blend a cup of frozen strawberries with an apple and a cup of orange or apple juice to meet the recommended daily allowance of fruit for about $1. The Strawberry Whirl from Jamba Juice has the same ingredients but costs nearly $5 for the same size. For those drinking one smoothie a day, the savings from choosing homemade could be almost $30 a week.
PIÑA COLADA SMOOTHIE
Delicious with or without rum, the piña colada is a classic blended drink. A cup of frozen pineapple combined with half a cup of cream of coconut yields 12 ounces of tropical indulgence. The drink can also be made with unsweetened coconut cream. Regardless, the price comes to about $1. Compare that to the 12-ounce piña colada from smoothie chain Maui Wowi at $5.
While many people choke down unappetizing vegetable blends to get their daily dose of leafy greens, green smoothies can actually be delicious. A blend of kale, spinach, lemon, ginger, and pineapple juice is sweet and spicy with a subtle herbal flavor.
The cost for a 14-ounce drink using high-quality greens is about $2. Smoothies from regional chains that also use high-quality ingredients are much more expensive. The 16-ounce Mean Green from Liquiteria costs $8, and the 12-ounce Rainforest from Juice Press, which includes coconut oil and banana, costs $12.
This inexpensive blend is a great staple for the entire family. A cup of blueberries plus a frozen banana and half a cup of milk makes a generous helping for $1 or less. A similar but slightly larger smoothie from Smoothie King featuring juice blends and unknown ingredients costs more than $5. With a base of inexpensive frozen fruit, there’s no reason to pay a premium.
The creamy texture of blended mangos lends itself to smoothies and blended cocktails. A simple combination of 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup frozen pineapple, and half a cup of orange juice creates a bright and juicy smoothie packed with nutrition for about $1.50.
Smoothie King offers a similar smoothie of the same size for $5.29 before tax. The smaller Mango Orange smoothie from Maui Wowi is 14 ounces of orange and mango and costs $5.