Have you ever noticed that for every delectable dessert out there, there’s a deathly joy hovering over it?

I’m not talking about the person who can’t resist mentioning halfway through a whipped cream-filled dessert how bad it will be for your arteries. I’m talking about those who find a way to shame you into making healthy choices because they believe or assume those choices are too expensive.

I’ll never forget the woman who let me have her at the grocery store to put packets of fruit-flavored sugar-free yogurt in my cart because she insisted it was so much cheaper to buy plain yogurt and chop the fruit up mixed in it. I was too shocked to answer at the time, but I couldn’t help but notice that the plain yogurt with fancy names she had placed in her buggy cost a lot more than my store brand – and she clearly didn’t appreciate fresh fruit. a long, long time. And if I had $20 for every time I’ve heard a self-proclaimed expert tell a young adult that money spent on avocado toast is better spent on mortgages, I’d be able to donate an advance payment.

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Some of these killjoys have it for smoothies. Granted, if you load them up with sugar, ice cream, and fancy flavorings, it’s more like drinking hard candy. But blending fresh vegetables and fruits for the holiest of smoothies can get you closer to the total nutritious plant foods you’re trying to consume each day. And before the critics start telling you how expensive smoothies are, come up with a simple and clever No Cook plan to “earn” a free smoothie at home by making some smart food choices for other meals .

Few side dishes are more satisfying or more versatile than a large serving of greens. A braised pile of collards, spinach, kale, or a combination of the three makes a fantastic bed for bratwurst, kielbasa, roast chicken, or bacon, and is just as appealing served raw in a tossed salad. cold. If you decide to boil those greens, save the pale green cooking water instead of pouring it down the sink and let it cool while you eat dinner.

Treat your houseplants with one portion of the vitamin-rich elixir and place the rest in ice cube trays or a tightly sealed plastic container in the refrigerator. If you choose the large bags of chopped and washed greens in the produce section—which belong in the No-Cook Cooking Hall of Fame for their convenience and nutrition—it’s easy to cook an extra green or two in steam to freeze with those cubes. .

Keep a tray of ice cubes for when you drink a lot of green tea. Add sweetener to the cup or glass you’ll be drinking from, but leave the rest plain as it cools. Slide that ice tray into the fridge and sit down to some tea.

When you’re cutting up fruit for cereal, sangria, or salads, pour the resulting juice and any remaining fruit into a tightly sealed freezer bag or container. If you bought extra fruit at a good price, or your eyes were bigger than your stomach at the pick-your-own orchard, plan to cut and freeze some; just be sure to peel or core the fruit that needs it.

The next time you’re craving a smoothie after an intense workout, a late-summer lawn mowing session, or just a long day at work or school, grab your frozen greens, green tea, and fruit in the fridge. Because they are already frozen, you won’t need as much ice; because they are not spices, you can add mint, ginger, honey or herbs to your heart’s content. Throw away that banana that was too soft to slice for breakfast cereal. And because you’ve planned ahead and set aside the ingredients ahead of time, your smoothie is free—and guilt-free.

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