Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Joy of the Smoothie

One summer a few years ago, my daughter and I had been playing around with making smoothies at home. She has some digestion issues that make it more important for her to consume acidophilus, the live culture in yogurt. Well, if it's yogurt in a little tubey-thing, she'd eat it, but not out of a cup. I learned a long time ago that logic is lost on some kids--I could not ever convince that kid that the same yogurt in the cup was also put in a tube, so some corporation could rip Mommy off.

Anyway, we experimented with all sorts of yogurt and fruit and juices, and we had a grand time doing it too. Fruits that she normally wouldn't touch went down easily once whirled into a magical smoothie. The same with yogurt--suddenly the stuff from a cup was a delicacy! We got so into it that I bought one of those magic bullet-type machines. It actually turned out to be a decent investment, because both of my kids were able to use it with few mishaps. I fondly remember that summer as The Summer of The Smoothie. Oh, how we drank our way through our fruits and dairy!

Since I was teaching a summer program at the time, it occurred to me that a fruit smoothie would be a perfect snack as well. My coworker had previously made her version of "smoothies" with ice cream (yeah, I call that a milkshake like you do too!). You can't beat ice cream--it's good--and of course all the kids loved it. Keep in mind, we only had that smoothie once--I don't want anyone leaving with the impression that I'm a teacher who regularly pumps preschoolers full of sugar. In fact, I tend to do the exact opposite. There's nothing quite as feisty as a bunch of three year olds hyped up on sugar and adrenaline. And medical studies can prove as many times as they want to that sugar doesn't cause hyperactivity. That's fine. I'll just stick with my twenty years of anecdotal evidence to the contrary. I figure either way, I'm not giving kids tons of sugar, regardless of its effects. It's just not good for you.

Okay, I digress...so I decided I would veer out into new and unexplored territory, making a healthy smoothie with nonfat vanilla yogurt and fruit, and a tad of orange juice. (Yes, I do recognize that all of those ingredients contain some form of sugar...but it's natural...so go with it!). Keeping it simple, I created a strawberry banana smoothie that I was hopeful would go over well with the palates of preschoolers.

Success! Not only did they drink it, they drank ALL of it! Fruit and yogurt and all, and asked for more. It was one of the best snacks we had that summer.

The best part about a smoothie is you can suit it for all year round, and you can adjust it to your own tastebuds. Some people like sweeter smoothies, and may choose to add an artificial sweetener or honey to their smoothie. Others, like me, may just enjoy the taste of the fruit. Here's a basic recipe to experiment with--feel free to add or change any ingredients to make it your own!

1/2 cup of sliced strawberries
1/2 frozen banana (this helps make it cold)
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (I use nonfat sweetened with splenda)
1/4 cup orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

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