Superfood smoothies are simple to whip up at a moment’s

Superfood smoothies are simple to whip up at a moment’s notice if you have a well-stocked pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.

Some superfood ingredients won’t need much storage space (such as dried spices), while others may require more prep and room in your refrigerator or freezer. Building a good pantry takes time, so start with one item at a time—perhaps the ingredients or flavors you enjoy the most

As with other types of recipes, a tasty smoothie begins with quality ingredients. You’ll learn more about what to look for in each smoothie article, but overall, it’s a good rule of thumb to purchase the best quality you can find and afford. I like to buy local, organic ingredients when possible for my health and the health of the planet.

A review of over 300 studies of organic crops in the British Journal of Nutrition concluded that organics contain more antioxidants and fewer pesticides and heavy metals, while another study in the same journal noted organic milk has more omega-3 fatty acids (important for skin health, digestion, and cognition) and a healthier fat profile than conventional milk.

Check out the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen, which lists the fruits and vegetables with the most and least pesticide residues. It’s a wonderful guide to help you prioritize which ingredients to buy organic.

Local ingredients are also a fabulous option as produce loses nutritional value as soon as it is plucked from the ground or picked from a bush or tree. By purchasing fresh, local ingredients, you cut down the travel time from farm to plate, and your food will retain more nutrients and flavor.

Let’s look at some specific tips for shopping and storing the Big 15 superfoods highlighted in this article.

Avocado: Picking the perfect avocado can be tricky. Avocados will ripen after harvest and darken as they do. If the avocados in the store look ripe, give them a gentle squeeze—they should yield to pressure, but not collapse under your fingers. Another trick is to check under the stem at the top: If it’s green underneath, it’s still good. If it’s brown/black, the avocado is overripe. I’m generally not a fan of freezing avocados because the texture becomes odd when they thaw. But if you toss your frozen avocado straight into a smoothie, this won’t be an issue.

Bananas: Some grocery stores will save brown bananas for customers who like to bake or make smoothies. Speak to your produce manager about this, and you’ll probably get a good deal on them. Store in a dark cupboard until ripe (i.e., with many brown spots). Slice, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, freeze, and then store in a freezer-safe container.

Beets: Look for smooth, firm beets with no blemishes or shriveled bits. If the beet greens are still attached, save them to use in smoothies or stir-fries. Store in the crisper.

Cacao/Cocoa: Cacao powder has either been minimally heated or is still raw, while cocoa is roasted. The former tends to be more bitter, though the variety of cocoa bean also plays a role. Store in the pantry.

Chia Seeds: Buy whole chia seeds instead of ground. Chia contains delicate fats that are susceptible to heat, light, and air, and the grinding process will oxidize those fats and increase their potential for becoming rancid. Store in the refrigerator.

Cinnamon: Purchase ground in small amounts rather than bulk for optimum freshness. Store in the pantry.

Common Berries: You can purchase numerous varieties of berries in a single clamshell or bag, or you might buy a bag of mixed berries. If buying fresh, look for berries that are firm (not mushy), and be sure to check at the bottom of the container for any mold. Store in the freezer.

Common Nuts and Seeds: If buying from grocery bulk bins, purchase from stores that have a high turnover to obtain the freshest nuts (you don’t want to scoop from a bin where almonds have been languishing for three months). Nuts and seeds have delicate fats that are susceptible to heat, light, and air, so store in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent them from going rancid or sour.

Dark Leafy Greens: Look for greens that are perky and unblemished. To extend the life of your greens, wash and dry them well, then stick them in a jar of water or vase before refrigerating.

Ginger: You can use either fresh or ground ginger in smoothies. If choosing fresh, look for ginger that has smooth, thin skin and is not shriveled or wrinkled.Green Tea and Matcha: There are many different varieties of green tea, as well as numerous brands of matcha, so experiment with the assorted types you find available. Culinary matcha is more affordable than ceremonial-grade matcha.

Oats: Rolled oats are a nice option for smoothies, though you could also choose quick-cooking oats for smoother blending (I personally enjoy the texture of thicker oats, but you might not). If gluten intolerance is an issue, purchase certified gluten-free oats. Store in the pantry.

Pomegranate: The darker the skin, the sweeter your pomegranate will be. Store in the refrigerator.

Turmeric: Purchase ground in small amounts rather than bulk for optimum freshness. Store in the pantry.

Yogurt and Kefir: Making your own yogurt and kefir is both economical and easy.

If you choose to purchase your yogurt or kefir instead, check labels for added sugars and preservatives; if opting for dairy, try to choose organic. Store in the refrigerator, or freeze in ice cube trays for long-term storage.

Saving on Superfoods

Food bills add up, so try these tips for saving on superfoods

• Buy in bulk where possible. If you have the freezer space, purchasing cacao, nuts, and seeds in bulk is much more economical. Check out stores like Costco for large bags of frozen fruit, and shop your farmers’ markets or grocery stores—you can often purchase ingredients at a discount if buying in large amounts. Make friends with the produce manager at your local store.

• Purchase spices in small batches, as you often are using these in small amounts, and unused leftovers will lose flavor, freshness, and nutritional value as they sit in your pantry unused. Check out local ethnic markets for certain spices like turmeric or for matcha, as these can potentially be cheaper there than at conventional stores.

• Make your own nut and seed butters and nut/seed milk. You’ll save money, and at the same time, you can customize to your tastes and skip the added sugars. Make batches in bulk and freeze

• Look for sales, either in person, online, or by reading sales flyers.•Comparison shop at different stores, and get familiar with price points

.• For some, online grocery shopping is more affordable because you can shop with your list and won’t be lured by promotional displays or other distractions.

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