Ever wonder if it is possible to prep a month of green smoothies on a budget, using mostly organic produce? Well, I did it and created a TON of frozen smoothie packs to show off to you so you can do it next…
I’m all about fueling my body with whole foods, yet I also have to watch our monthly budget. To do this successfully, I used our Simple 7 Guidebook for our free 7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge. This includes a shopping list, which makes 7 green smoothie recipes using only 7 ingredients!
I invited my friend Erin along for some shopping at Costco, a member-only, bulk-grocery store to purchase as much organic produce as we could afford, and have enough ingredients to prep a month of green smoothie.
Did we succeed? Check out this video below, or read on to see our results!Print
Smoothie Shopping at Costco
There are so many reasons we love to shop at Costco. They strive to offer organic options, they have a great produce section, and it’s possible to get all the smoothie ingredients in one place! Costco stores can be found all over the world, yet each location has slightly different food selections.
No, we did not get endorsed/sponsored by Costco to do this experiment. Quite the opposite. We actually had to be sneaky in the store so we didn’t get kicked out for recording without permission. I felt like I was 15 again. 🙂
Frozen Smoothie Ingredients
To make frozen smoothie packs, we suggest using a combination of frozen and fresh produce. Frozen fruit is not second place to fresh. It’s a great option on its own because it’s picked at the peak of the season, then sliced and frozen for us. Plus it saves money…. and we’re on a budget here.
In the Costco freezer aisle, you can get organic strawberries and pineapple. While we hoped to score some frozen organic mango too, there was none in sight. Sniff Sniff. So we headed to the fresh produce section next.
Fresh Smoothie Ingredients
In the fresh produce section, we found organic bananas, mango, oranges, and organic spinach. We couldn’t find any kale (organic or non-organic), so I bought a bag of Organic Power Greens. This mix of all organic baby kale, spinach, and swiss chard is a perfect blend of greens that gives great nutrient variety to our smoothies.
Tips for using Organic Produce with Smoothie Packs
The best guide for knowing what produce to buy organically is The EWG List, published annually. When shopping for green smoothies on a budget, use this guide to keep my produce clean, yet still doable.
The produce on the Clean 15 list can be more safely purchased as non-organic, though it’s great if you can find these organically grown as well.
These foods either have a shell or skin that protects the fruit underneath, or the farming practices do not genetically modify or use the same chemicals used on the first list. If buying all organic is not an option for your budget, use these lists as your guide to the safest, most delicious smoothie ingredients.
Month of smoothies for under $50?
We know that fresh produce is often the most expensive stuff in our grocery carts, not to mention trying to buy organic! Here’s what we were able to do at Costco with our shopping list and a $50 budget:
- Organic Power Greens = $5.99 per 24 oz
- Organic Spinach = $3.89 per 32 oz
- Oranges = $13.99 for 24 (needed 20)
- Organic Bananas = $1.99 per 8 bananas
- Frozen Pineapple = $7.99 for 80 oz
- Fresh Mangoes = $4.49 for 6
- Organic Frozen Strawberries = $9.99 for 64 oz
Grand Total: $48.33
The best deal in town was Costco!
My goal was a month of smoothies, but I was actually able to prep 36 green smoothies with our Costco ingredients, and spent $48.33 total. That comes out to $1.34 per smoothie, and less than $50 a month!! Beat that price, smoothie bar!
Want to know the difference between shopping at Costco vs. other grocery stores for the same amount of supplies?
If that price difference seems crazy to you too, you’re not alone. Almost a 40% price difference between the same ingredients at Costco and Publix. If you need to pause reading this to get a Costco membership real quick, don’t let us stop you. Buying green smoothie ingredients on a budget has never been so easy.
Prepping Frozen Smoothie Packs
There are a few ways you can make freezer packs. My favorite are mason jars or reusable bags. Ziplocks bags that you rinse and reuse count as reusable in my mind. Stasher is a great brand that you can reuse over and over because it’s made from silicone.
Can you freeze smoothies in freezer bags?
You absolutely can. Yet, I love prepping my smoothies in wide mouth, pint sized ball jars. These jars will fit the blended smoothie perfectly, they are reusable, and they fit in all kinds of spaces within most freezers. Wide mouth jars work better as the ingredients are easier to get out when I start blending. There is no worry that the glass will break, as the liquid isn’t added until blending.
If you’d rather use freezer-safe bags, check out the reusable silicone options that are hitting the market hard right now.
Prepping the Produce
Prepping all the produce before stuffing the jars makes the process faster in our opinion. Grab a friend or family member and start chopping. A few chopping notes:
- When prepping oranges, make sure to peel the tough yellow part, yet keep the white pith surrounding the orange. A lot of vitamin C lives in the pith, and that’s what we want!
- Watch the video we made above for great tips on peeling mango
- Dump the frozen fruits into large bowls for easy scooping when filling the mason jars.
- leave the greens for last when filling the jars, as it is super easy to pack these on top.
Is it safe to use frozen spinach in smoothies?
While I don’t recommend using the boxed frozen spinach since it usually has additives (and reminds me of slime), you can absolutely add fresh spinach to your smoothie prep as I mentioned above.
Freezing your own greens is a great way to avoid produce waste.
With our Costco haul, we were able to prep 36 frozen smoothie packs with our $50 budget. So grab a friend and some cute tote bags, head to the local farmers’ market or Costco, and get prepping! Drop a comment below and let us know your fav places to buy produce, as well as your money saving green smoothie tips and tricks!