A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked some questions about how I go about making and serving smoothies to my kids. I’m finally getting around to posting the details for everyone here on the blog.
We probably pull out the blender almost once a day (sometimes twice if Daddy makes milkshakes at night!) and it’s just become part of our daily routine. Gracie LOVES the noise that the blender makes and Lilly loves to push the buttons. It’s pretty much a guarantee that whatever I put into a smoothie, my kids will drink, so I know it’s a great source of nutrients for them even when we aren’t having a particularly good solid foods day. If you’ve been following Grace’s Story you also know that sometimes it’s really hard to get Grace to eat at all so it’s great when we can watch her suck down a healthy smoothie from a straw.
The first thing I do to prep frozen smoothie packs is acquire my ingredients. Start with a variety of fresh “regular” fruit: I usually grab
- bananas (so cheap, you can even use the over ripe sale bananas)
- oranges (for their juice)
- grapefruit (again, for juice)
- and apples.
You’ll also want to add some greens if you think your kids will still eat the smoothie. Not sure? Start with a small amount of baby spinach and go from there.
- baby spinach
Depending on the price of the fresh versions- I usually get the more “exotic” fruits from the frozen section. Where I shop, the price comparison proves it’s *usually better to buy frozen of the following:
- pitted cherries (plus this saves you having to pit a 100 cherries yourself!)
- pineapple (a whole pineapple might be cheaper but you are losing so much of that weight in the leaves and rind that it’s not worth it in the end)
Next, you’ll need to decide on a yogurt for your smoothies. My kids won’t go near greek yogurt straight out of a container (I think it’s too tart), but they like it just fine in a smoothie. I like adding this boost of protein based on my kids nutritional needs, but you can add any kind of yogurt that your family likes. I buy plain, unsweetened greek yogurt in a tub and end up using all of it in one batch of smoothie packs.
Optional again, but I add flax seed meal to all of our smoothies.
Last but not least, all the smoothies we make require ice cubes. When I’m making frozen smoothie packs, I sometimes freeze large batches of ice cubes made from cow’s milk, goat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, chocolate milk- depending on the smoothie flavors I’m creating and who will be drinking them. You can add regular water ice cubes to your smoothie packs and add fresh milks when you are ready to blend- totally up to you. But this way I know I have *everything* needed already in the pack and never run into the “oh crap, all smoothie ingredients are in the blender but we have no milk” situation, which I’m embarrassed to say, happens all the time here, haha.
After a quick chop (leave the skins on those apples!) I divy up the ingredients into ziplock freezer bags (sandwich size) making sure that each bag has:
- fruit, fresh and frozen (always a piece of banana- keeps your smoothie creamy)
- ice cubes
The only exception to always having all 5 items in every pack is probably the smoothie packs I make specifically for my husband which are bananas, chocolate milk and vanilla yogurt. He adds peanut butter to these when he blends them and has them for a snack.
*When you are ready for a smoothie, all you need to do is drop one pack into the blender. Let it sit for about 5 minutes then pour liquid (water, juice, milk) over top of ingredients until you have almost but not completely covered your fruit mixture. Blend, and enjoy! So simple.
This time around, I made about 35 smoothie packs from the ingredients I bought in the first picture. We LOVE having these in the freezer and it makes it that much easier to chose a healthy smoothie for lunch or a snack when all of this prep is already done.
Here are some of my favorite smoothie combos (remember, all have yogurt, flax, some type of ice cubes, and most have about 1/2 cup of greens):
1. All Berries
2. Strawberry Banana
3. Mango, Pineapple
4. Apples, juice from 1 orange, bananas
5. Raspberries and Mangos
I have a great smoothie book from college that I love to flip through for ideas. You can find smoothie only recipe books everywhere- Target, the bargain book section at Barnes and Nobles, at Costco and Sam’s club. I don’t really follow these “recipes” but it does freshen up my ideas when we get bored of the smoothies we usually make.
I hope you start trying smoothies with your kids now, too! We eat them as a quick breakfast when we are heading to doctor’s appointments etc. But they are also great for lunch on a hot day or even dinner when your in a pinch for time. My one year old, Grace, will eat a smoothie as her meal but my three year old usually needs something solid to go with it- a peanut butter sandwich, a hard boiled egg. Usually nothing large or substantial, but definitely something she can pick up and chew instead of suck through a straw.
And the real star of this post…
These Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies.
Most impressive is the taste these babies deliver with no butter and no eggs. They also boast no flour which is an added bonus too. If you are a chocolate peanut butter lover, I’m happy to supply you with fuel for that fire. These. Are. Amazing.
Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies:
1 1/8 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup of applesauce
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (Dutch-process or Hershey’s Special Dark may be substituted)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment OR mix by hand using a metal cookie scoop.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a cookie scoop, drop tablespoon amounts of batter onto your non-stick baking tray. Roll into nice balls with your hands then return to tray. Flatten tops of each ball by gently pressing down with the bottom of a glass dipped into granulated sugar before each cookie. Bake for 8 minutes.
Let these cool just long enough for you to eat one without burning your tongue! They’ll store in an airtight container wonderfully for a week or so, but there is no way they will last that long. The soft, chewy, chocolate-peanut butter deliciousness will be gone before you know it.
Looking for more kid friendly recipes? Check out my Munchies for Munchkins free cookbook by clicking here.
You can find even more meal and snack ideas on instagram by searching and tagging the hashtag #munchiesformunchkins.
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