Healthy Snack of the Week: Fruit Smoothies
When it comes time for a pick-me-up, smoothies are an amazing alternative to traditional snack foods.
Smoothies are quick and easy to make.
Kids love them. They’re good for them. And they can be tailored, not only to individual tastes, but what’s readily available or possibly on sale during a given week at the local market.
If your kids like berries, then go heavy on the berries. Same with kiwi or pineapple. If they prefer bananas, go bananas. All these fruits are healthy and make for good smoothies, which is our featured snack this week in our Snack of the Week series.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Wesley Delbridge, national spokesman for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is a big proponent of adding plain, low-fat yogurt to virtually any smoothie recipe.
“A lot of people freak out because plain, low-fat yogurt doesn’t taste all that good on its own, but it’s fantastic in smoothies,” Delbridge says. “Yogurt is an excellent way to inject protein and that dairy base with calcium without all the fruit sugars that juices contain.
“Those added proteins will also help children feel ‘fuller’ for longer periods of time.”
Delbridge offers another secret ingredient: ground flax seed meal.
“It doesn’t affect the flavor, but it gets some fiber in there as well as Omega-3s,” he says. “That also is a great way to add Omega-3s to the diet of a kid who doesn’t like fish.”
Without yogurt, Delbridge suggests that parents limit the portion size to avoid excessive amounts of juice. There’s nothing wrong with adding additional whole fruit or even cubed ice to increase portion volume, especially in the warmer weather.
A few general tips:
- When using juices, try to keep the sugar content low.
- Orange juice does make a great sweetener. For variety, try pineapple juice. Organic juice is all the better.
- When blending, put liquids and food with high water content in the blender first. It smooths out the blending process.
- Think about serving smoothies in tall, portable plastic containers with straws. This will enable your student to get back to work in short order with his/her snack in hand. Besides—kids love straws.
- For efficient cleanup, add a drop of cleaning soap to water in the blender. With the lid on, run the blender for several seconds, then rinse.
For fruit smoothies, consider these possible combinations—but don’t be afraid to substitute your favorite fruit. In each case, blend for about 40 seconds or until smooth. The amount of ice added will affect blending time.
1 cup of fresh pineapple (chunks), 1–2 kiwis, 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen), 1 small orange, 1 banana (frozen, chunks), 2 cups of lime juice, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 cup water
2.5 cups of orange juice, 2.5 cups or strawberries (fresh or frozen), 1 peach (sliced), 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, ice. Blend for 40 seconds.
Thanks Berry Much
1 cup strawberries, ½ cup blueberries, 1 sliced banana, 1 sliced kiwi, ½ cup orange juice, 8 oz. peach yogurt, 1 cup of ice. Blend until smooth.
1 sliced banana, 1 mango (sliced), 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup vanilla yogurt (non-fat). Blend until smooth.
With a basket of fruit and a blender, there are a million-and-one twists anyone can put on a fruit smoothie. We’d love to hear about your favorite, so do share your secret for blending up the ultimate fruit smoothie.
For previous Snack of the Week suggestions and more articles on healthy eating, visit Learning Liftoff’s food and recipe posts.
Images © K12 Inc.
Seth Livingstone is a veteran writer and editor who has spent much of his career in sports journalism covering multiple Olympic Games, Super Bowls, World Series, and Daytona 500s. He covered the Boston Red Sox throughout the 1980s and 1990s before joining USA Today and Baseball Weekly in 1999. He maintains his membership in the Baseball Writers Association of America and is a Hall of Fame voter. Seth holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and has also worked as a substitute teacher (all grades and subjects). He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and has two grown children.