Kids’ power smoothie

August 1, 2012 · 11 comments

Sometimes, it feels as though 90% of my energy on any given day is spent figuring out how to get as many nourishing foods into my kids’ bodies as possible, given their standard-fare pickiness, a limited budget, and their battle-weary mom.

Another 5% is spent doing the laundry.

I don’t know if you’re keeping up with the math, but that leaves 5% of my energy for doing things like brushing my teeth, showering on occasion, keeping up with social media, and watching my library-loaned copies of Lark Rise to Candleford (a BBC period-dramedy chosen specifically for its solid escapism capabilities).

I’m not (always) bitter, just constantly surprised by how much energy it takes to feed kids well. And looking for better solutions.

Thankfully, last spring I landed on an easy, sure-fire way to get loads of good probiotics into the bellies of my kids: the smoothie. We’ve been enjoying them all summer, but school starts Monday (!) — and my goal is to pack them full of friendly gut-flora, daily, year-round, to give their immune systems that much-needed school-year boost.

The great thing about smoothies? You can sneak things into them. Things like greens, kombucha (a how-to-make-your-own post is coming soon!) beet kvass (a lacto-fermented beverage made from beets — great for the liver, not-so-tasty for the kids), or brain-boosting fish oil (tastes like lemon!). I like using probiotics from multiple sources — yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and a powdered kids’ probiotic supplement — to get as much variety as possible in beneficial bacteria.

If you want a protein boost, you can add a spoonful of nut butter (almond and cashew butters are more neutral in flavor than peanut butter). For constipated kids, grind some flaxseed and throw it in (1 tsp should do). And my personal favorite for getting some extra brain-boosting fats? A quarter of an avocado makes the smoothie thick and creamy, and you can’t taste it at all.

The best part of all? No complaining. At afternoon snack time, when my kids hear the blender running, it’s like a Pavlovian reaction — they come to the table, ready to drink. It keeps them satiated until dinner, and gets those good bugs into their adorable little bellies.

Leaving me just enough time to switch out the laundry, check twitter, and change out of my pjs before dinner.*

* Of course I’m kidding. I’m totally done with laundry by dinner.

……………………………………………

Kids’ Power Smoothie (Immunity Boost)

Yield: Makes about 20 oz, or enough for (3) 6-oz smoothies

If smoothies are a regular part of your life, you might consider investing in a good blender. Of course the top-of-the-line is the Vitamix (I actually found one on craigslist so our smoothies are now chunk-free). But you can spend half the cash and still get a great blender -- Cook's Illustrated gave this Breville blender a top-rating (right alongside Vitamix) and it's around $200 -- even less if you get a refurbished one).

Ingredients

  • 1 very ripe banana, preferably frozen
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup (or more) kombucha, kvass, or water
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1/4 ripe avocado
  • powdered kid's probiotic (optional, dose as instructed)
  • 1 Tbsp nut butter (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground flax seed (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp honey, more as needed

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Add additional liquid and/or sweetener as necessary. Serve immediately.
http://katymcarter.com/2012/08/kids-power-smoothie/

 

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{ 9 comments }

Nancy August 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Ok my friend, here is my question for you. I would LOVE to give my kids smoothies, W in particular. But how do I do it without dairy? I’ve heard frozen very ripe banana provides a nice consistency but nut butters are out for now. So that leave fruit and ice. That hardly seems worth it.

And by the way, the whole family LOVES W’s coconut milk ice cream but it’s so expensive, I can’t afford to let anyone but W eat it. It’s cookie dough. It’s good.

katy August 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Nancy, I’ve been drinking a dairy-free smoothie all summer:
— 1/2-1 frozen banana
— frozen berries
— 1/2 cup or so of DF cultured drink: kombucha (you could buy it, but it’s so easy to make, I’m posting next week), kvass, or water kefir
— 1/4-1/2 cup of coconut milk
— avocado (THIS makes it creamy and thick)
— egg yolk (I put one in my kids’ smoothie too ; )
— honey

Are you making that coconut milk ice cream? If not, you should be! Much cheaper.

Nancy August 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Ok that sounds pretty doable. Except the egg. No eggs. I think it would be good to find ways to get some probiotics in W since the other two are good about eating some yogurt. And I know, I should make our own ice cream but I don’t even have an ice cream maker. And buying one brings me anxiety because of my postage stamp sized kitchen and storage space at capacity with just the essentials. :) But I’ll admit I looked at a couple tonight.

katy August 1, 2012 at 9:55 pm

do you have a basement? the maker could stay there until you’re ready to use it. I see them all the time at thrift stores ; )
sorry, forgot about the egg thing — the smoothie is still great w/o it, it doesn’t effect texture much at all.

Nancy August 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Yes I have a basement where I store everything. Its like it’s own Goodwill down there. :) I’m trying to purge our lives of useless items. But a good ice cream maker could be very useful because W LOVES ice cream. And that chocolate you made was divine. He wants me to make milkshakes for him but it’s kind of hard with such expensive ingredients. But I thought a smoothie might fit the bill. I’m going to give it go as after school snacks. Refreshing, filling, and healthy.

Stefanii August 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Are you making your kvass? I haven’t ventured into that yet, but I know it’s super good for you…

katy August 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Stef, kvass is SO. EASY. And, I love it. It’s tart and salty, very refreshing (to me — my kids would never drink it unless hidden in a smoothie).
Do you have Nourishing Traditions? That’s the method I’m using. Let me know if not, I’ll send you directions.

Jen August 2, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Here here to the (beautifully) deceptive smoothie!

A fav over here is ripe frozen bananas, PB, raw cacao powder, raw milk, egg yolks, coconut oil…not so deceptive. But still great :)

I’ve been eyeing those glass straws for months, but my husband thinks boys with glass straws is a nutty idea. Do you? How are they holding up?

katy August 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm

LOVE our glass straws. They were a gift, otherwise I would have never bought them, per the same concerns. They are extremely durable — we’ve only lost one, and it was b/c it fell down the garbage disposal unseen, and got gnawed into a million tiny pieces. The ones we have came with a tiny brush to clean the insides — awesome.

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