DIY Frozen Smoothie Packs on a Budget

3.10.2020

See how I created 36 frozen smoothie packs for under $50 using Costco and my favorite smoothie recipes.

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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…

7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge ingredients on gray kitchen counter

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!

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DIY Frozen Smoothie Packs

  • Author: Jen Hansard
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 90 minutes
  • Yield: 36 smoothies
  • Category: smoothie
  • Method: blending
  • Cuisine: american
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Making prep ahead frozen smoothie packs are a great way to save time and money making smoothies.


Ingredients

Costco Shopping List

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

Quart-size freezer safe containers (mason jars, bags, etc)


Instructions

  1. Download the 7-Day Smoothie Challenge Shopping List
  2. Head to Costco (or store of your choice) and buy the items above 
  3. Get the 7 recipes from the 7-Day Challenge and start putting them into the containers (without the liquid). 
  4. Write the name of each recipe and what you still need to add (ex: add 1 cup almond milk)

Keywords: smoothie prep

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.

smoothie prep in mason jars

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 ahead frozen smoothie packs with a friend to save time.

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.

frozen smoothie packs

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! 

COMMENTS
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  1. Janet Costa says:

    Hi and thank you, was wondering how I would be able to stick to my smoothie routine once I returned to work. Great idea! I see you didn’t mention Whole Foods which is usually where I get my produce. Don’t think there is a Costco near by
    Janet

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Hi Janet. Of course you should go to the grocery store that’s near you/you prefer. In this case, Jen used Costco because you can buy in bulk there and the topic is smoothie packs on a budget. She wanted to show how easy and budget-friendly it can be to drink a green smoothie every day. 🙂

  2. Dr. Len Chatman says:

    My wife and I are NEW to your tribe. We have been eating (drinking..or slurping) smoothies for breakfast for about three years. We purchase MOST of our ingredients from Costco.. As Dani Mitchell says your prep idea is GENIUS!. Thanks for the tip…

  3. Dani Mitchell says:

    This is genius! I love how you use mason jars and love to save money… and still be healthy. Cannot wait to do this!

  4. Kim says:

    I am having trouble accessing the how-to video. There is not a visible link, just a blank space where I am assuming the video is posted.

  5. Sarita says:

    How do you get the free Simple 7 guide book

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Hi Sarita! Here’s the link to the 7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge: Simple 7

    • Dianne says:

      I think I might do this. Ontario Canada is more expensive though. Not sure I can fit all of this in my freezer, so might just do 2 weeks worth

      • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

        That would still be some awesome prep work, Dianne! Give it a try and let us know how it goes. 🙂

  6. Melinda arnold says:

    Looking for the challenge booklet

  7. Ashley says:

    Do you drink the smoothies as a meal replacement or just as a drink with your regular breakfast? I was always used to having smoothies as a meal replacement with protein powder in them. Do you ever use a protein powder and if so, what kind? I’ve tried so many powders that I thought were healthy and ended up not being, or the really healthy ones are super expensive.

    • Rhonda Feilen says:

      I love this and so need something to save me money.. thank you. I am excited to give this a try…is the 7 day challenge book available?

      • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

        Hey Rhonda! So glad you found this helpful! Click on this link to get to the 7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge–> Simple 7
        Happy blending! 🙂

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Hi Ashley, great question! It’s really personal preference as far as drinking smoothies as a meal replacement or not. I prefer to drink a green smoothie every morning for my breakfast. And you’re right, you will def want to add a protein (we prefer plant-based proteins) as well as a healthy fat to make it a satisfying meal-replacement smoothie that won’t leave your stomach growling an hour after you eat. 🙂 Here’s a great post on turning your smoothie into a meal-> Turn Your Green Smoothie Into a Meal!
      And… to answer your question about a good protein powder, I have awesome news! Jen has been working on her own plant-based protein powder and it’s nearly ready for its debut! Woo hoo!!! So stay tuned, it shouldn’t be much longer!

  8. Jana says:

    It was really hard to watch this on my phone because I couldn’t make it full screen and there was a green band across the top cutting off part of your head. Also how did you buy a bushel of bananas when you had two bunches?
    Lastly, where do you store all of these jars for a month and doesn’t the ingredients get a bit slimy after 36 days.? I mean you have to drink some of them last right?
    Just curious….

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Hey Jana! Jen stores the prepped smoothie jars in her freezer, taking one or two out each day to blend. Since they’re being stored in the freezer, they don’t get slimy at all! 🙂

  9. Brandy says:

    This is fantastic. Thank you so much for the break down.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      So glad you liked it, Brandy! Are you going to give prepping 30 days worth of smoothies a try?

  10. Erin says:

    Prepping smoothies ahead makes blending every day SO much easier! Love this idea and will definitely be doing it next month. Thanks!

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      It sure does, Erin! So glad you liked this + found it helpful. Let us know how your 30-days-of-smoothies prep goes next month!

  11. Stacey Tomasetti says:

    After all this prep, how do you go about blending these? Do you thaw them first? About how long does that take?

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Great question, Stacey! You have a couple options: 1. Move a jar from the freezer to the fridge the night before so it can thaw overnight, then pour it in the blender with your liquid base and blend. 2. Place the contents of a jar straight out of the freezer into the blender. Pour your liquid base over the frozen ingredients and let that sit for at least 10-15 minutes while you’re getting ready for your day, then blend. Happy blending! 🙂

  12. Anita says:

    Great ideas. I buy the bags of frozen fruit from Sams Club. If I can’t use the fresh spinach soon enough, I freeze it as it is and put it in the blender frozen. Works great.

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Freezing the fresh spinach you can’t get through quickly enough is such a great way to make sure you’re able to use the whole container and not let any go to waste!

  13. VIVIAN SIMMONS says:

    This is awesome! I shop at Costco all the time, but never really thought of how much money I can save for smoothie prep there. Thanks for sharing this Jen! You really broke it down for us all. I truly believe that you and your family remain blessed because of your passion to help others. Keep on Rawkin’!

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Hey Vivian! It *is* awesome to have it all broken down, a complete step-by-step guide to a month of smoothies. And super budget friendly, no less! So glad you liked this. 🙂

  14. Gail says:

    Excellent post. It’s so easy to be unaware of the huge price differences. Thank you for doing the work…and for sneaking around Costco!

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      It’s really eye opening when you see the prices side by side, isn’t it? Glad you found this helpful!

  15. Elena Bray says:

    Such amazing information and Thank You for using beautiful care and detail to help us be healthy while saving money!!!!
    Taking a little time out of a part of a day can get us so much nutrition on a dime and that is important.
    Thank you !!!

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Elena, really glad you found this information helpful! So true, taking care of our bodies + fueling them with whole foods is so important. And being able to do that in such a budget-friendly way makes it even more awesome and accessible! 🙂

  16. diana vanderslice says:

    too much fruit for me, I prefer mostly greens with just 25% fruits

    • Jen Hansard says:

      You can definitely pack in more greens and decrease the amount of fruit. When I first starting making green smoothies, needed all this fruit to mask the greens so it tasted great. Overtime, our tastebuds change and a smoothie with just 25% fruit will actually taste good and have more fiber and less sugars, which is great too.. I actually wrote and article to help transition from more of a fruit smoothie to a leafy greens ones here: https://simplegreensmoothies.com/tips/perfect-blend

    • SGS Rawkstar Jess says:

      Hi Diana! I def agree with Jen and have used her awesome Rawkstar Formula for many years, eventually flipping the ratio of greens to fruits as my taste has changed. And regardless of the amount of fruit and leafy greens you prefer, you can still use these tips and tricks to shop + prep delicious, organic smoothies on a budget!

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