Smoothies are Now COOL, so Fire up the Blender

Record Searchlight, Sunday, May 22, 2016  by Trudi Pratt, who has a chiropractic and nutrition practice in Redding.

Getting kids to eat their veggies has never been easy, but I would argue with the smoothie craze. It actually has never been easier. For the price of a $15 blender, you can whip up a nutrient-dense shake for youngsters and the whole family and send them out the door with some potentially excellent nutrition.

Though smoothies have been popular for decades, the notion of adding vegetables to your smoothie is now cool. Yes, kid cool, dad cool, and grandparent cool. It’s not that coolness matters, but what fads do is sweep us up for a moment and propel us to do something new that may have seemed strange five years ago.

The following recipe will get any fourth-grader onboard with a morning smoothie. It’s a blend of almond milk or water, berries, almond butter, spinach, banana, and honey. The directions go like this: Slowly put one cup of water or boxed almond milk in an empty blender, add one cup of your favorite frozen berries, 1/2 to 1 banana, depending on the size, a tablespoon of almond butter, 1/2 cup of raw rinsed spinach (or kale) and a teaspoon or more of honey–no honey for children under 2–and blend very well until smooth. Add  more liquid if it’s too thick. If you’re adventurous, add a half-tablespoon of coconut oil for added nourishment.

Let the family sample this recipe and see if they want to continue. If so, double the recipe and then start experimenting. As your family gets used to adding a little touch of smoothie to their breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert, you can try new and different smoothie ingredients and develop your own favorites.

When it comes to potential ingredients, the options are mind-boggling. Think peaches, mango, avocado, chia seeds, flax oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, spirulina, pineapple, kefir, aloe vera, cinnamon, ginger, zucchini, bee pollen, yogurt, chocolate, apple, melon, nuts, goji berries. cayenne, coconut water, vanilla, mint, hemp seeds, dates, powdered herbs, vitamin C, romaine lettuce, celery, sprouts, stevia, liquid minerals and protein powder.

Think of smoothies as the new drive-thru fast-food replacement that you can make at home in record speed. They can go in a lunchbox or be consumed while driving. They’re fast, delicious, healthy, and can create a broad nutritional profile to help you blast through your day. Start small. See who’s on board with you and then get creative. Summer is almost here and cool drinks are a must in our sometimes dauntingly hot climate. Ideas for improved nutrition and health are at your fingertips with the push of your blender’s “on” button.