There has been a long standing tradition of parents getting to come in to school for their kid's birthdays and share a small celebration with their children and classmates to commemorate the occasion. Our school has recently adopted a no sugar no nut policy for all celebrations. Naturally, when I got word of this mandate I was quite pleased as loading up on cupcakes, doughnuts, and candy is the last thing our kids need in the middle of their school days. Although it is a treat and brings pleasure to our taste buds, there is no necessity for sugar in our diets and moderating such intake is a good thing for the sake of our kid's health. This does not mean that I believe in deprivation. In fact, I feel that if children too are restricted from treats they will only find ways to rebel whenever they have the opportunity. We must do our best to find balance in our choices, moderate the quantities, and get creative with fresh clean ingredients.
My son, Max, is celebrating his 8th birthday this weekend, and I was invited to come into his class to share his special time. As much as I am in favor of our new school policy, I am still a busy mom. I actually told my husband how I actually wished I could just bring in some cookies and make it easy on myself. Shame on me. During the summer, my kids both caught onto my love of the Vitamix blender and wanted to create their own signature smoothies. Max's goal was to create a smoothie akin to an orange creamsicle like something he had at a Jamba Juice one day. The Jamba Juice version is loaded with frozen yogurt and sherbet. I knew that I could not only guide him in creating a recipe that would be healthier, but make it taste just as good if not better. It is now his signature smoothie recipe and what we chose for me to bring into school to share with his friends.
This smoothie is not only tasty, but packed with nutrients that are good for kids as well as for us. Oranges eliminate the need for additional sugar and sweeteners and are high in phytonutrients including vitamin C and a flavanone called herperidin which has been shown to lower high blood pressure as well as cholesterol in animal studies, and have strong anti-inflammatory properties. They are also high in vitamin A, calcium, and dietary fiber. Bananas not only make smoothies sweet and creamy, but they are a terrific source of potassium which helps us to absorb calcium, protect our cardiovascular system, and maintain normal blood pressure. Mangoes are high in vitamin C, A and E as well as being a great source iron, potassium, and magnesium. The enzymes in mangoes help to relieve indigestion, and the pectin and dietary fiber aid in lowering cholesterol. They are a potent antioxidant, have been shown to help prevent cancer and heart disease, and even help to improve our concentration and memory.
|Max’s Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie|
|I like to keep a steady supply of bananas in my freezer to have on hand. I let them ripen, peel them and lay them on a tray to freeze. Once they are frozen, I store them in airtight bags or containers. Mangoes can be frozen in the same way or purchased frozen.|
|1/2 cup||mango, frozen|
|2/3 cup||coconut milk, unsweetened|
|1 teaspoon||coconut palm sugar, barley malt syrup, or1/4 teaspoon stevia (optional)|
|Put all of the ingredients except the sugar into the bowl of a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Taste for flavor and decide if the addition of a sweetener is necessary. Serve immediately.|