It’s probably the first time in my life that I’ve been ahead of a trend.
My smoothie obsession was born more than a decade ago out of sheer desperation. My then-toddler son — recently diagnosed with cystic fibrosis — was extremely underweight as a result of his disease. Not even a blip on the growth chart.
I spent countless nights pouring over nutrition books, trying to concoct magical recipes that would boost his caloric intake at the same time it wouldn’t repel his tastebuds. No easy feat.
After much trial and error, I found putting a bunch of stuff in a blender was the best way to achieve nutritional and tastebud nirvana. It hid lots of things he would never have eaten otherwise. And I was able to get large quantities of food into his little body — all contained in a plastic cup.
An opaque plastic cup was key because it didn’t allow him to see the contents.
I’d put it in a Veggie Tales cup or some other beloved cartoon character of the moment. That way, he would not reject it on sight –before he’d even tasted it. I found that usually if I could get him to taste a few sips, he would like it.
Micah has special circumstances, but I’ve found that most kids are the same way. And regardless of their medical condition, all kids probably need to consume more healthy foods.
Okay, so now that I’ve established my smoothie street cred, I’d like to share the concoction that I’ve found to be healthy, nutritious and kid-friendly. Oh yeah, and adults love this, too. Just ask Kathy. She refuses to drink anyone’s smoothies but mine.
1 scoop Natural Factors Whey Factors Natural Strawberry Flavor Powdered Protein
1/2 cup Stoneyfield French Vanilla Low-Fat Yogurt
1/3 cup Lite Coconut Milk
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Blend on High or Smoothie setting (if your blender has one) for a full minute. Serve. Reduce liquid amounts for a thicker smoothie.
I have tried every brand of Whey Protein known to mankind and Natural Factors Whey Factors is the best, hands down. It has a nice flavor and doesn’t have the unpleasant or chalky aftertaste that most brands do. This is not a sponsored post — just sharing my honest, unpaid-for opinion.
Sometimes I’ll add a couple teaspoons of powered flax seed, wheat germ and/or coconut oil to the smoothies for some extra nutritional punch. My kids are none the wiser. These extra ingredients don’t change the taste. I promise. However, you might want to add a little extra water or coconut milk to keep the consistency from becoming too thick.
I vary the fruits I add. Some variations my kids seem to like:
Pina Colada Smoothie (virgin, of course): 2/3 cup pineapple; 1 banana. Substitute orange juice for water. All other ingredients remain the same.
Chocolate-Strawberry Smoothie : 1 cup strawberries; 3 tablespoons Nestle Special Dark Chocolate Syrup. All other ingredients the same.
Mango-Pineapple Smoothie: 1/2 cup mango; 1/2 cup pineapple. Substitute orange juice for water.
The possibilities are endless. Believe me, over the past 12 years, I’ve tried them all.
Let the smoothie-making begin!