When my big kids were little, smoothies were the healthy dessert that could sway them to eat their dinner. Full of fruit and unsweetened yogurt, they are a delicious treat that counts as dessert even though it's healthy.
Now that my eldest is concerned with improving his own nutrition and building muscle, smoothies serve as a nutritional supplement in his 3000-calorie day. Yikes!
For the rest of the U17 crew it still counts as dessert or a rocking snack or breakfast.
My kids were a huge help as we were developing the smoothie recipes in Best 100 Juices for Kids. For that project we drank homemade juices and smoothies every day, but did so without any processed sweeteners. That spring I got Mother of the Year Award.
So that I can keep my award-winning status, I stock a Smoothie Drawer. The bottom drawer of our side-by-side freezer holds all the fixings for smoothies and fruit-filled shakes. A nearby cabinet holds blender cups so each can make his own custom blend.
What Goes in My Smoothie Drawer
What's in our Smoothie Station:
- Frozen Berries - If you don't buy bags of commercially frozen berries, you can freeze your own. Just lay the rinsed and dried berries on a lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm and then transfer to a freezer bag or container. Return to the freezer immediately.
- Commercially Frozen Pineapple
- Commercially Frozen Mango Chunks
- Commercially Frozen Spinach
- Sliced, Frozen Banana - Slice ripe bananas and lay them in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm and then transfer to a freezer bag or container. Return to the freezer immediately.
- Frozen Dollops of Yogurt - Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Drop dollops of yogurt on the lined sheet. Freeze until firm and then transfer to a freezer bag or container. Return to the freezer immediately.
- Commercially Frozen Gelato, Sorbet, Yogurt, or Ice Cream
Next door in the fridge, we keep milk, juice, and almond and sunflower butter. The pantry holds cocoa powder, canned light coconut milk, powdered milk, and whey protein.
Whenever anyone in the house has a craving for a smoothie, whether that's as a quick breakfast to go, a healthier afternoon snack, or a dessert-themed bribe, we're prepared.
A Few Favorite Recipes
(Image credits: Kelli Foster; Andrea Bemis)