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.

tanya moat

Tanya Moat

Tanya is a freelance writer and web designer. She blogs at Eat Laugh Purr where she enjoys simple pleasures every day. Her life is ruled by a ginger tabby named Max who also meows about his awesomeness on their blog.

Please visit Eat Laugh Purr to learn more about them. And follow her on Twitter where she promises to tweet more than pics of Max. Eventually.


    • 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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