From Chia Seeds to Kale, These 3 Recipes Save You Big on Trendy Drinks

hand pouring smoothie into a glass
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There are a lot of healthy drink trends out there that cost a little more than I’d like to spend on one drink, let alone a healthy one.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to drink something every day, I figure I might as well save the grocery trip — and the extra few dollars — and learn to make it myself. So here are my three favorite healthy drink trends and how to make them at home.

1. Chia Seed Drink

chia seed drink in a glass
Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper

First up is this raspberry green tea lemonade with chia by Wife Mama Foodie. This two-serving recipe is super easy but requires a bit of planning to prepare the chia seeds. If you’ve had a chia seed drink before, then you know the seeds form a sort of gel in the drink.

To get this gel consistency, you need to soak your seeds in water, preferably overnight. If you’re completely new to the chia seed world, check out what Chia Queen has to say about preparing and storing chia gel.

  • 4 ¼ cups water: free
  • 3 tablespoon chia seeds: 87 cents
  • 2 green tea bags: 22 cents
  • 1 cup raspberries: $2.30
  • ½ cup lemon juice: $1.12

Total cost: $4.51

Servings: 2

Price per serving: $2.26
In-store price per serving: $3.06

Once you get the hang of prepping the chia seeds, there’s a lot of freedom to mix and match with this recipe. I love the raspberry-and-green-tea pairing, but if you’re not a fan of those flavors feel free to alter the drink to another tea-and-berry combination, like black tea and strawberry.

2. Vegetable Juice

Vegetable juice in a mason jar
Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper

V8 juice is a classic health-food drink and an easy DIY for any vegetable lover. I usually use this recipe as an opportunity to empty my vegetable drawer, so there’s room for variation. And don’t be afraid to look to V8’s ingredient list for inspiration! A few other common ingredients I didn’t list here are carrots, celery, and parsley.

  • ½ cup water: free
  • 1 ¾ cup chopped tomatoes: $1.17
  • 1 tablespoon beets, chopped: 5 cents
  • 1 tablespoon kale, chopped: 10 cents
  • 1 tablespoon peppers, chopped: 9 cents
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice: 14 cents

Total cost: $1.55

Servings: 2

Price per serving: 78 cents

In-store price per serving: 80 cents

To cook, just throw everything in a pot and let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes. Blend the mixture on medium speed until the large chunks are gone and it has the consistency of a smoothie. Pour the blended mixture through a strainer to get rid of the remaining pulp. Please note that most recipes call for a food mill, but there’s no need to make the investment, as a blender will get the job done too — unless you really want to buy one.

You may notice something a little odd about the small number of vegetables in the ingredient list. The reason I list a tablespoon for each one besides tomatoes is that V8 juice needs to maintain a 7-to-1 ratio, meaning seven parts tomatoes to and one part everything else. These ratios are a little less awkward when you make bigger batches. If you’re interested, check out what Creative Homemaking has to say about making and canning your own V8!

3. Kale-Banana Protein Smoothie

green drink in a glass
Photo courtesy of Grace Cooper

The protein-shake trend is here to stay, so this simple recipe is a staple. All you have to do is toss everything into a blender for about a minute on medium speed and get ready for breakfast in a glass. This one-serving recipe is on the expensive side, mostly because of the almond butter. If you want to cut down on the cost, or the nutty taste, feel free to use peanut butter instead.

  • 1 cup kale: $1.60
  • 1 banana: 19 cents
  • ½ cup almond butter: $2.53
  • ½ cup water: free

Total cost: $4.32

In-store price: $5.29

You can also swap the kale for another green, like spinach, and add an apple or orange if you’re feeling especially adventurous. The best thing about this recipe is it’s high in protein without the gross protein powder, so don’t be afraid to mix it up with more fresh ingredients!

Whether you’re looking for a new drink to try or a new everyday favorite, one of these five recipes is sure to do the trick. They’re easy, cheap and very flexible. Feel free to substitute ingredients or add in others to make the drink you really want at a price that’s easy to swallow..

Grace Cooper is a freelance writer and college student from Washington, D.C. She loves researching new recipes and firmly believes that barbecue sauce tastes good on anything.