We have a big focus on healthy eating in our education programs. Our instructors learn very quickly what the students like and what they clearly could care less about. When it comes to snacks we are always trying new foods and veggies while incorporating the tried and true favorites.
One of those favorites is our go-to smoothie recipe. It is a tropical tasting smoothie that is so simple to make. The question "Are we having smoothies today?", with eager anticipation for the response, is an every other day occurrence in our programs.
I have gone back and forth several times with giving our smoothies fun names. What it comes down to is that sometimes, given the ingredients or amount of ingredients, it doesn't taste the same every time and every now and then I slip a new ingredient in to try it out with our kids. I like that the students can pick out what fruit they can taste in their smoothie or if they want more bananas and so on.
Our students also love helping to make the smoothies. I usually ask for one to two students to assist with the smoothie and let them "make the recipe." I show them our ingredients and they put in the ingredients and choose how much of each they would like to include.
Asking students to make their snacks gives them more of a sense of ownership and allows them to be more adventurous in their food choices.
Easy Vegan Fruit Smoothie Recipe:
Pineapple Juice (12-16oz)
2 Cups of Water or ice
In a large blender place the desired amount of bananas, strawberries and blackberries. Pour the juice and water over the top. Blend until smooth. Serve in cups.
This is an easily customized recipe and you really just make it up as you go. I think the juice is what makes this recipe a favorite, it gives it that nice tropical flavor. I you have a child who is allergic to pineapple you can substitute it for orange juice. The water also allows for a smoother consistency.
How to Freeze Bananas:
Cover a baking sheet with waxed paper and place cut 1 inch sections of fresh bananas on the sheet making sure the bananas to do not touch one another. Place in a freezer over night. Store frozen banana slices in a large ziploc bag to be placed back in the freezer for later use with smoothies.
The frozen bananas give the smoothie a more ice cream like consistency. The kids love this.
Tip: Earlier in the year I had a little difficulty introducing smoothies to some new students because it was "weird." One day I made a big show of putting one single small scoop of sherbert into the smoothie mixture to be blended up. From then on the kids thought the smoothies tasted like ice cream and I never put it in there again. I let the frozen ingredients do the work. It's a sneaky thing but it did the trick and most of our students beg for smoothies regularly.
Note: Although this snack is a little naturally sweeter than other options, we have not noticed a major change in our students behavior or unusual spikes in hyperness. In fact it seems to help them focus a little more with full bellies and a good source of energy.
Many of our staff and Duquesne University volunteers also look forward to smoothie days as we all try together.
This is a filling snack for after school or during summer camps. Brashear Kids and staff highly recommend it.