Smoothies: Quick Way to Eat Well During Treatment Schedule

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By Amanda Stambuldzys

Kids love smoothies and with managing a busy treatment schedule, they provide a fruit and vegetable packed quick meal on the  go with minimum preparation time and easy clean up.  The smoothie “shakes” are also a great way to get some antioxidant rich vegetables and additives into kids with finicky palates.  Flax seed extract and kale, for example, have strong flavors that many kids turn their nose up to.  But, by being a little creative with various frozen fruits and all natural fruit juices – such as apple and pomegranate – you can get past the “yuckies” and pack a balanced, high energy meal into one glass.
There are many smoothie makers on the market available to order from Amazon.com that come with fitted to go cups (Magic Bullet MBR-1701 17-Piece Express Mixing Set  - additional mugs can be ordered), but any high powered blender and washable tumblers available in most supermarkets and department stores are all you need.  For families in lodging, packing a smoothie maker ready to plug into a kitchen outlet, can save precious time for early morning starts as well as be economical.  Many smoothie retail outlets are expensive and actually may contain high fructose corn syrup and other additives that are not recommended for children in treatment.  Alternatively, there are some great bottled products that are both all natural and organic such as www.odwalla.com available at many supermarkets and convenience stores.  Still be sure to check the labels and be mindful that many mass produced products may serve well as a supplements but may not contain proteins and other essential nutrients to contribute to balanced eating.
Freezing your own fruit is also an economical way to preserve and make use of over-ripened fruits.  See ideas and tips on freezing fruit: http://naturesnurtureblog.com/2012/05/24/how-to-freeze-fresh-fruit/

Think about pre-mixing family favorites in freezer storage bags or a vacuum pack sealer as a time saver – bananas, forest fruits and ripened mango make a great combination to freeze together.  Try using your blender unit as the portion measure – so all you have to do is grab a pack and flip a switch.   Many health food supermarkets have pre-packaged, organic frozen mixed fruits already portioned for smoothie making at pretty fair price points.  Trader Joe’s freezer section (check www.traderjoes.com for your local retail outlet) has some great ready packed alternatives.  Also, take advantage of seasonal fruits and farmers markets.  We have a bumper crop of NJ blueberries and peaches this year - they are both very freezer friendly and going at greatly reduced market prices this summer!
Long shelf natural protein additives (both dairy and non-dairy) and avocado are a great way to balance out the meal and give your smoothies the “milk-shake” texture appealing to kids’ palates. Almond milk, soy milk, Greek yogurt and organic milk are all great sources. Greek yogurt and milk products actually can also be frozen for longer life (although you may find a consistency change, the blending process will bring them back to shape). See this guide  for tips on freezing dairy products.  There are many powdered additives on the market but some are not easily digestible and may have some products not recommended for kids.  Be sure to check labels for FDA approvals and consult your doctor or a nutritionist to be sure that you are making positive choices for your child’s diet.
Vegetarian Times is a great resource for recipe ideas. Check out this VT article for this tasty smoothie recipe idea with blueberries, avocado and beets (one of the “yuckies”):
Other websites via StumbleUpon under search Smoothie Recipes can also be sourced. Be sure to follow Give2Kids: (link StumbleUpon site) to continue to spread the word about the Donate Your Car Program. ( Ron- please edit to your standard to increase traffic etc.)
Raw honey, agave nectar (the ‘raw” form only) and other fruit sugars can sweeten up your vegetable packed smoothies as well. Also keep in mind that Stevia is a healthy alternative sweetener. And remember that brown (over-ripened) bananas add extra all natural sweetness!  Look out for the next posting for some other ideas on how to use them and other leftovers in the next posting “When Bananas go Brown: Alternative kid friendly (not so slow) cooking ideas for left overs!”.

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