Sunday, October 11, 2015

Day 11: Smoothie Prep Tips and Tools!

We're continuing our 31 Days of Change series.   New to the island? You can learn more here.  

I shared how we pack all of Munch's snacks for the week on Sundays.  I've also mentioned how we find her clothes for the week on Sundays.  I haven't shared that we also prep all of Munch's breakfasts for the week.
Hubbs is a gym rat.  He is the guy with the shaker cups and protein powders.  He's the guy who has an extra shaker cup and protein powder in his trunk JUST IN CASE he can squeeze in a mid-day workout during lunch or if he forgets to mix in the morning.  Now that he has the morning routine, Munch noticed he was mixing his protein smoothies and she recalled the time I was faking a health nut lifestyle and mixing smoothies for myself (...and giving her the extras).  On a Sunday grocery shopping trip, Munch squealed as she ran to the frozen fruit section.  She begged me to buy her some frozen fruit and to make her smoothies in the morning.  WHAT?! Who has time for that?  Have you seen the price of frozen fruit?  I'm not wasting $10 on two bags of fruit to make a smoothie the kid probably won't like.  I also am not wasting my morning minutes to mix her up anything.

She got an attitude but I kept my pennies that day.  Then, later that same day, it happened.  We were shopping in DT... you know, the place my kid knows the odds are in her favor if she makes a reasonable request... yea, there.  She saw it.

DT (those locations with freezer sections) sells frozen fruit!  Mango? Pineapple?  Peaches? Berries?  Strawberries?  For a $1?!  I agreed to take the time that afternoon, find the recipe that works for her, show her how to use the blender and, IF SHE ACTUALLY STUCK with it, we'd make it part of our routine.  Well, Islanders, she made me eat my words; it's been a month.  Munchface prepares a smoothie every morning and we employ DT products to make our lives easier.
DT products that help with making and prepping for the perfect smoothie: 

- Ice Trays
- Frozen Fruit
- OceanSpray Cranberry Juice
- Insulated Cups
- Straws
- Sandwich Bags

1.  Ice Trays.

We use ice trays to freeze individual servings of yogurt.  This extends the life of yogurt and makes portion control a breeze!  How cute are these pumpkin ice trays they have at DT right now?

The pumpkins are the perfect size for the smaller yogurt portions needed for Munch's smoothies.

2.  Be exact with your expensive items.

When measuring any added powders or the most expensive items, find the right amount and be exact!  In our case, fruit is most expensive. Munch enjoys counting 3 whole strawberries, 2 peaches, and 1-3 pieces of other fruits.  Taking this extra step will keep your flavor consistent and help your products last longer.

3.  Add Spinach.  LIBERALLY.

It was hard for Munch to see the spinach in her cup but, as she learned and now tells all of her classmates, you can't taste spinach in smoothies!  We include about a cup of spinach in every smoothie Munch makes.  Fresh bagged spinach is easy to portion out and freezes wonderfully!

4.  Freeze fresh fruit before it goes bad!

Bananas and strawberries are a great natural sweetener for smoothies.  They make for a great smoothie consistency but, goodness, they don't have a long shelf life!  When I notice bananas browning, I will cut them and bag them in half-banana portions.  I slice and bag strawberries also.  We'll use them eventually so I don't let them go to waste.

5.  Bag it up.

One of the misconceptions with smoothies is that they take a long time to prepare.  To save time in Munch's schedule, we pre-bag them for convenience.  Check out one of our smoothie bags just before we put it in the freezer:

Seriously, aren't those yogurt pumpkins cute?

5. Add your liquid last.

Munch uses our small food processor (designed for salsas and mincing). It's the perfect size for her to handle and it works great for pureeing the mix-ins.  Once the mix-ins are finely pureed, she adds 1/2 cup of Cranberry juice.  DT sells smaller containers of OceanSpray juice and they're perfect for her little hands to grab.

Tip: I add water to the juice bottle when the bottle is 1/4 of the way gone and she doesn't notice a change in flavor at all!).

6. Make it cute.

You know how we feel about pretty things 'round these parts.  Half the fun for Munch is carrying a cute insulated cup to school.  She also enjoys fun straws.  Check out DT's selection and try your best NOT to buy a cup for everyday (as Munch suggests).

When I think about the health benefits this breakfast provides my kid, I'm super excited.  How else could I get my kid to eat a cup of spinach FOR BREAKFAST?!  Oh, and these tips and portions are perfect for adults also!  One day, Munch left her smoothie in a hurry to catch the bus and guess what.

Hubbs enjoyed it on the way to work.

Sometimes, when we're chilling around the house or in the car, Munch will stare into the distance or squint and ask in a 'did-this-fool-really-drink-my-stuff' tone, "daddy, was my smoothie good?"

He always responds that it was and that he'll drink it again if she leaves it.

I hope you're encouraged to take a few minutes each week to prep your breakfast or snack using these tips.  Your belly will thank you later!


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