January 29, 2011

Smoothies!

Total Prep Time: Approximately 5 minutes
1 Vegetables & Fruit (1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit)
1 Vegetables & Fruit (1/2 cup 100% juice)
1 Milk and Alternatives (3/4 cup yogurt)

Does your family need a health detox?  Mine is in desperate need of one!

This poor blog has lacked major attention lately, with good reason.  We have purchased a new home and sold our own home in less than two weeks.  Life has been been a tad stressful lately, and our diets have suffered.  Aside from some yummy, healthy meals at my parents house (thank you, thank you, thank you!), quick meals and takeout became the norm.

Now that the chaos is over, the fridge and pantry are packed and the fruit bowls are over-flowing.  Healthy, home-cooked meals are back!  But I still feel exhausted from weeks of nutrition abuse. Time to get out my blender and some frozen fruit.  It's SMOOTHIE time!

With the right appliance (a blender or Magic Bullet work best), smoothies are a quick and easy drink.  They can be used as a meal replacement for adults, a quick breakfast or a delicious snack for anyone.  Jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients, smoothies are a perfect addition to your family's diet.

The directions for the smoothie recipes below are very simple: Blend all ingredients until smooth, serve immediately.

Simple Strawberry Banana Smoothie
This is a family favourite in my home.  We always have ripe bananas in our fruit bowl, and I freeze whole Ontario strawberries in the summer to use throughout the winter.
Ingredients:
1 ripe banana
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 1/2 cups fruit juice
1 cup or 3 small containers of yogurt (preferrably plain balkan-style)


Very Berry Smoothie
I love this recipe for it's high source of antioxidants, vitamins and fibre.  Berries are an ideal fruit for diabetics as well, due to their low glycemic index level.  You can find Ontario wild blueberries in the frozen foods section of most grocery stores.  Frozen fruit is almost always cheaper than fresh, especially when using in large quantities. 
Ingredients:
2 cups frozen berries (use only one type or a combination of your favourite berries)
2 cups fruit juice (I use Sun-Rype Fruit Plus Veggies Blueberry juice)
1 cup or 3 small containers of yogurt


The Fibre Monster
This high-fibre smoothie is also full of antioxidants.  I always make extra to freeze into popsicles for when the boys have digestive issues.
Ingredients:
1 cup mixed frozen berries
8 whole prunes
1 1/2 cups fruit juice
1 cup or 3 small containers of yogurt
**The directions for this recipe have one extra step: Blend the prunes and juice first, breaking up the prunes into small pieces.  Then add all other ingredients, blend and serve.


The recipes above are my own, created by adding my favourite ingredients and testing the results.  You can Google smoothie recipes and find thousands.  Specify your search depending on your needs (ie: high protein, low fat or detox).  Try them out, or make up your own.  Add tropical fruit like pineapple and mango, or citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit.  Let your kids get involved - they may surprise you with their concoctions!

I have two favourite juice brands when making smoothies.  Sun-Rype's 'Fruit Plus' line of fruit and veggie juices are delicious and full of vitamins.  President's Choice makes a line of 100% Purée & Juice blends that are thick and rich, making them perfect for smoothies.  In fact, both my boys call the PC Mango & Orange Blend "Smoothie Juice" and regularly request it when at Nana's house.


*Tips*
1. Play with the ingredients, adding more juice for a more liquid smoothie or more fruit and yogurt for a thicker smoothie.
2. You can cut down the sugar in your smoothie by using plain water instead of juice.  You can also find low-calorie juice that is free of artificial sweeteners (a no-no for children).  PC Blue Menu 100% Fruit & Vegetable Blend is a great option.
3. If the Very Berry Smoothie is too tart for your little ones, add 1/4 cup of honey for some sweetness.  Just remember not to feed honey to any child under 12 months of age, due to botulism risks.
4. Double the recipe, drink your portion and pour the remaining mixture into popsicle molds and freeze.  You will have the most delicious, homemade fruity pops for the kids.  They're handy at snack time, but my favourite time to pull them out is when the kids are sick.  It can be impossible to get any nutrients into a sick child, but most would never turn down a popsicle!


Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

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