December 03, 2012
If you are raising kids today, chances are you remember the 1970s Life cereal commercial "Mickey Likes It!" I grew up eating cereal of all kinds, but about a year ago, I decided I was not going to purchase any more sugary, processed cereals for my family. I was immediately faced with a problem. What do I feed my five hungry children for breakfast? It had to be fast, easy, cheap, healthy, and most of all, accepted by the kids so I wasn’t fighting an uphill battle every morning, throwing money in the garbage, and sending the kids to school with empty bellies.
It has been my experience that most life changing solutions come in the form of a book. So, I consulted the cooking section of my Library and discovered smoothies! Now my whole family (hubby too) starts their day with two to three servings of fruits and vegetables, and everyone looks forward to breakfast.
Smoothies are an inexpensive, zero waste way to feed your family highly nutritious food. Not a single pear from our backyard tree went to waste this year. Wal-Mart sells three pound bags of frozen blueberries and a blend of frozen strawberries, mangos, and pineapples for a reasonable price. There are also bargains on fresh produce at the Kansas City Farmer’s Market. Last week, I bought two huge boxes of bananas, apples, and spinach for pennies per pound and froze them myself. It was easy and didn’t take much time to do.
- To freeze bananas, peel them and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Cut out over ripened parts, but don’t worry too much about small brown spots; nobody will know once you blend it up. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight. Once frozen, transfer the bananas to gallon size, freezer safe, Ziploc bags with slider closures.
- For apples and pears, core and quarter, then drop in water with lemon juice added. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet, cover, and freeze overnight. Once frozen, transfer to Ziploc bags.
- Blend spinach with a little water. Pour into ice cube trays. Freeze overnight. Transfer cubes to freezer safe Ziplocks.
I learned some tricks along the way for getting the whole crew on board with trying my concoctions.
- Start with thirsty, hungry kids; right after sports practice is a good time.
- Offer a small sample size of about 4 ounces. Better for the crowd to beg for more than to not even try it because they don’t want to be obligated to finish a big glass.
- Use cool glasses and straws; presentation is everything. McDonalds knows this. Moms should, too!
- Try a simple blend at first. We all liked 1 cup of frozen blueberries blended with ½ cup fresh spinach and about a cup of vanilla soy milk. You can use regular milk, water, almond milk ,or coconut milk, but we like vanilla soy milk best. (Don’t let anybody see you put the spinach in until they’re hooked!) Add your liquid of choice until the mixture is the consistency of a milkshake and you can drink it through a straw. It will be an enticing purple color.
- Another family favorite is frozen bananas blended with milk and peanut butter or almond butter.
For a fun way to introduce smoothies at your house, check out these Library books and encourage every family member to look through the pictures and pick a recipe they would like to try. Invite kids to help make their chosen recipe. Once your family decides they like smoothies, you will be able to camouflage a serving of kale, avocado, cucumber, spinach, or countless other nutrient rich foods in their breakfast. It’s a great way to start the day!
- 201 Healthy Smoothies and Juices For Kids; Fresh, Wholesome, No-Sugar-Added Drinks Your Child Will Love by Amy Roskelley
- The Ultimate Smoothie Book: 130 Delicious Recipes For Blender Drinks, Frozen Desserts, Shakes and More by Cherie Calbom
- Smoothie Power by Robert Oser