The Joy of Mindful Spending and Eating: A Green Smoothie

mindful spending and a green smoothie

I've always enjoyed cooking and whipped up many delicious meals for my family growing up. But once I was on my own, my cooking habits changed. I would cook a meal or two here and there, but as I grew older and my jobs were more stressful, I cooked less and less. Eventually, I got to the point where I didn't cook AT ALL.

Yes, you read that right. I ate every meal—breakfast, lunch and dinner—at a restaurant.

Not only did this expand my waistline, it ate up a lot of my discretionary income too. But I didn't care. I lived within my means. I had a 401k, a Roth IRA, stock options and no debt, so who cared how I used my money?

A Mindless Spender Learns A Costly Lesson

Giving myself a pat on my back for obviously being so money savvy, I continued eating my way through my paycheck for years. Now I am older and wiser and a little bit sick to my stomach from all the gluttony and ill-advised spending.

Somehow I had convinced myself that it didn't matter how much my food costs were as long as I didn't spend more money than I had in my checking account. And while I am incredibly grateful that I didn't create debt because of my poor eating habits, I wasn't making mindful choices either.

Often we shake our heads at those who live beyond their means, hoping some day they learn the joy of being debt-free. But just because you have no debt, doesn't mean you're spending your money wisely. I wasn't and I have proof. $840 worth of proof.

That's right. I spent approximately $840 a month on food.

$840 is more money than some families spend a month on food.

I am one person.

The Joy of Making Mindful Decisions

While I will always include dining out as a part of my budget because I love it, I cannot foresee a time when I will budget $840 a month to eat out. Sometimes I dream about all the other things I could have done with that money. Even if I had cut that amount in half, which is still a generous amount, I could have done or had things that I couldn't afford because I spent all my money on food.

I was committed to not going into debt but simply never took the time to make sure I was spending my money wisely.

These days I budget and think through my purchases beforehand. Because food is one of my passions (after all I am food blogger), my food budget is probably going to be higher than average. I'm okay with this because I also don't allow it to go out of control and prevent me from enjoying other things that matter to me. I spend mindfully and hope you do too.

Shrek Smoothie or Fruity Green Smoothie

green smoothieI won't lie—breakfast is my favorite meal to eat out. Sausage Egg McMuffin—delicious! Platter-sized pancakes at a Mom and Pop restaurant—pass me the syrup!

It doesn't matter; I love breakfast!

Now I make my own big, fancy breakfast on the weekends and typically enjoy smoothies during the week.

They only take minutes to make, are good for you and most importantly—are affordable!


  • 3/4 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 orange, juiced (I use the pulp but your choice)
  • 1/2 frozen banana, sliced
  • 1-2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)


In a blender, add the almond milk and baby spinach. Blend until smooth. Add strawberries, orange juice and banana. Blend until smooth. Makes 1 big smoothie.

Special Notes

I proudly own a wimpy blender, so I need to blend the spinach with the liquid first. If you have a more powerful blender, you can blend everything together at once.

Also, I suggest starting with 1 cup of spinach leaves and increase the amount as you become more comfortable drinking spinach. :) If your kids give you pushback, tell them it's a Shrek smoothie. They will be more inclined to try it and find it to be sweet and delicious, which I'm guessing is NOT how Shrek tastes.


    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 09/11/2013 7:37 a.m. #

      Hi there Tanya!

      So great to see you here at Sicorra's place!

      We're a very busy family of 6 with different schedules and we used to eat out a lot. We've spent $1,200 in a year on McDonald's alone...that's not including other restaurants...very sad I know.

      I am trying to cook more especially now that my husband's doctor has changed his diet but I do get the urge to pick up some fast food because I'm just too tired to cook. Old habits die hard I guess. :)

      Thanks for sharing this smoothie recipe. I'm going to have to try it and share it with my daughter so she can make it for my grandson.

      Have a great day ladies! Happy Wednesday!

      • Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

        Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr 09/11/2013 2:11 p.m. #

        Thanks, Corina! It's so easy to spend money on dining out and not be aware of how much you are actually spending. I know I was floored when I calculated how much I used to spend. I still eat out, because I love dining out but I try to keep at a more budget-friendly amount! I hope you enjoy the smoothie. I love starting my day with one. It's friendly on the wallet and waistline!

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 09/11/2013 11:34 a.m. #

      Looks delicious, Tanya! I love green smoothies. And I think we were all guilty of eating lunch out at work. Like you said, it needs to be a mindful choice. Some expenses you look at and are comfortable with while others you are not. I'm glad you're on the mindful spending bandwagon now! :)

      • Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

        Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr 09/11/2013 2:14 p.m. #

        Thanks, Shannon! It was just so easy to run downstairs and eat at the café! :) To me, the part that drives me nuts now, is knowing that most days I ordered the half sandwich and soup, so easily things I could have brought from home! Argh!

    • krantcents

      krantcents 09/11/2013 5:26 p.m. #

      My smoothie is mostly frozen and fresh fruit. I use OJ, frozen mangos, frozen fruit medley, Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries, blueberries, banana and chia seeds.

      • Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

        Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr 09/12/2013 3:34 p.m. #

        Sounds delicious! I love adding Greek yogurt or protein powder to my smoothies. Helps keep me full longer. I haven't added chia seeds but see it in a lot of smoothies, so I'll have to give it a try.

    • Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. the Loans

      Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. the Loans 09/11/2013 5:37 p.m. #

      I love green smoothies! The spinach is completely masked by the fruity taste.

      • Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

        Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr 09/12/2013 3:36 p.m. #

        It really is. I was a little worried that first time I made the smoothie. I like spinach but not necessarily as a drink so it was a pleasant surprise and a great way to sneak in some good for you greens!

    • CarolB

      CarolB 09/13/2013 1:58 p.m. #

      Hey Tanya and Sicorra! Love this smoothie! I've been buying the Island Green smoothie at Tropical Smoothie lately and I love it! I'll have to give this one a try - I'm sure it will cost me less than my Tropical Smoothie. Have you ever made it with kale too? Just wondering how your version would taste with kale.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 09/14/2013 5:57 p.m. #

        This one does sound delicious!

        I bought a Juicer a while back and tried to make a Kale, cucumber and strawberry smoothie. I found that the kale just made a mess. Maybe I bought the wrong type of kale though. Are there different kinds? It was fresh and in the product section.

        • CarolB

          CarolB 09/15/2013 3:50 p.m. #

          Hey Sicorra, I have no idea about the kale! I just know it tastes good in my smoothie, and I love the Trader Joe's kale chips. :)

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