Smooth Move

If you compared my diet of a year ago to what I consume today, you would find me a very altered creature. Sure, I’ve always been a home cooking enthusiast and have worked hard to put balanced, healthy meals on the table for my family. But with a taxing job and two little ones running in opposite directions, I’ve taken a lot of shortcuts along the way. (Boxed mac ‘n’ cheese, anyone?)

When I stepped back several months ago to analyze our diet, I discovered that my seemingly harmless shortcuts where infusing our meals with ungodly amounts of salt, sugar, processed carbs and unpronounceable garbage. I decided to try a “purge”—to get rid of our junky stuff and focus on whole, natural, fresh ingredients as much as possible.

Honestly, I was concerned that my boys would stage a coup. I could see them, pitchforks in hand, demanding their Phineas and Ferb fruit snacks, flavor-blasted Cheez-Its and triple-chocolate ice cream.

But surprisingly, there was none of that. My complaint box remained empty. The kids (and my wonderful hubby) embraced the change like champs.

Now, I didn’t just toss out the popsicles and hand my kids a stalk of organic celery. Instead, I’ve been fairly sneaky in my approach, replacing sweets and treats with natural, minimally processed forms. Out went the Aunt Jemima pancake syrup. In came the pure maple syrup. Out went the faux-cheese crackers. In came the trail mix and granola.

My favorite secret weapon—the thing my kids go absolutely bananas for—is the smoothie. I purchased a very inexpensive Ninja chopper, and we’ve been blending up all manner of fruits and veggies into delicious frosty treats that satisfy the sweet tooth.

I’d like to share a few of my favorite smoothie recipes, and I hope you’ll give them a try! These recipes serve two wiggly children or one hungry adult. Just remember: the fruit gives you natural sweetness. No need to add extra sugar, flavored yogurt or fruit juice to amp it up. Let the whole, natural ingredients speak for themselves. :)


Berry Mango Smoothie

Ingredients:
½ cup milk (I typically use coconut milk, but stick with whatever you have)
1 small handful of fresh baby spinach (trust me on this!)
¼ cup frozen mango chunks (I get them at Target)
¼ cup frozen or fresh strawberries
¼ frozen or fresh blueberries
½ cup plain yogurt

Note: The measurements are approximate. Smoothie-making is not an exact science. Just add a little of this and a little of that until you get the flavor and texture you want.

Directions:

  1. Add the milk and spinach to your Ninja chopper, and blend until completely smooth. Your milk will turn green. Do not fear.
  2. Add your mango, strawberries, blueberries and yogurt, and blend, blend, blend. In a matter of seconds, you’ll have a brightly colored smoothie and your spinach will be completely disguised.
  3. Serve with a straw. Seriously, you need a straw. Otherwise, you risk the entire smoothie sliding out of the glass onto your face when you take your first sip. (This has clearly never happened to me.)

Pumpkin Apple Smoothie

Ingredients:
½ cup milk (from a cow, a goat, a coconut, an almond…whatever!)
3 T. pureed pumpkin
1 apple, cored and sliced
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ cup plain yogurt
3-4 ice cubes or ¼ cup crushed ice

 

Note: I use canned pumpkin and store the unused portion in the freezer. Just spoon it out in little globs on wax paper, freeze it, and it’s ready for your next smoothie.

Directions:

  1. Toss the milk, pumpkin and apple into your Ninja and blend until smooth.
  2. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, yogurt and ice. Blend for another 15-20 seconds.
  3. Serve and enjoy! This smoothie tastes a bit like pumpkin pie, and really, you can never go wrong with pumpkin pie any day of the year.

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Ingredients:
½ cup milk (whatever kind you like)
1 small handful of fresh baby spinach or ¼ cup avocado
1 banana (the riper the better for sweetness)
2 T. natural peanut butter (or any nut butter you prefer)
1 T. baking cocoa
½ cup plain yogurt
3-4 ice cubes or ¼ cup crushed ice

 

Directions:

  1. Add the milk and spinach or avocado to your Ninja and blend until completely smooth.
  2. Add the banana, peanut butter and cocoa. Blend thoroughly.
  3. Add the yogurt and ice. Mix 15-20 seconds until completely smooth.
  4. Serve immediately and be prepared to slurp down this little beauty in about 30 seconds. Brain freeze may ensue.

These are just a few of about a million smoothie combinations we’ve tried. They’re great for breakfast, a mid-day snack or after-dinner dessert. I hope you enjoy these recipes and that you’ll go wild with smoothie-making yourself. Cheers to your good health!

P.S. I’d love to hear about your favorite smoothie recipes, too. Please share.

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Sarah Nord

Sarah Nord blogs about food, family and fine living at www.pen2page.me. Sarah loves to share recipes and life experiences that are all about the pursuit of health and happiness. By day, Sarah works in marketing and consulting for software startups. By night, she loves on her family, tends her home and juggles her many hobbies, including cooking, gardening, crafting and reading. Sarah is passionate about eating well, shopping local and giving back. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, two children, two corgis and cranky cat.