A Sneaky Shortcut to Five a Day

There is truth to the saying that an apple a day will keep the doctor away. But getting your kids to eat enough servings of fresh fruit and vegetables per day sometimes can be an exercise in futility. That’s when the smoothie can be your best friend. You could buy bottled smoothies from the store, but they’re expensive and sometimes contain unwanted ingredients, especially extra sugar. Making them at home is easy and your kids will think it’s a special treat.

Be sure to stock your freezer with assorted frozen fruits, such as berries, peaches, mangoes or melons. Trader Joe’s sells large bags of frozen local berries at area stores. If you shop at club stores, you can get super-sized bags of mixed frozen fruit. You combine the frozen fruit with water or fruit juice (apple, orange, cranberry, pomegranate) for a dairy-free smoothie. Add a cup of yogurt or milk for a creamy texture and flavor.

For added nutrition, you can throw in a banana or avocado to the smoothie. Avocados can deliver some folate, fiber and potassium to your kids. Combining some silken tofu to the fruit adds a lot of protein. And if you’ve got a high-quality juicer like a Vita-Mix, adding a bit of carrot, kale, celery, or spinach juice can be an easy way to get some vegetables into the mix. (Fresh mint often helps mask the “veggie” flavor, and apple-celery-mint juice is a great combo.)

Use the basic smoothie recipe below as a guideline. You can use frozen or fresh fruit, depending on the season. Using frozen fruit means there’s no need to add ice cubes. The rest is up to you and your kids!

Basic Fruit Smoothie

Makes enough for about 2 (7-ounce) servings

1 single serving yogurt, flavor of your choice

1 cup frozen fruit

½ cup water or juice (apple, orange or pomegranate)

Blend ingredients together until smooth.

Bonus: Post your favorite smoothie combination in the comments below and we’ll pick one winner to take home a Red Tricycle kiddie tee.

– Hsiao-Ching Chou