Back-to-School, Back-to-Work, Back-to-Health Smoothies

Healthy smoothies are so easy to make—a kid could do it!
Healthy smoothies are so easy to make—a kid could do it!

There’s no better way to celebrate the end of summer than barbecuing in the backyard with friends and family. But indulging in all those grilled burgers, scoops of potato salad, and cupcakes can leave you feeling a little sluggish. (Raise your hand if you pigged out over the weekend?) To get back on track with healthy eating during arguably the busiest week of the year, focus on filling your plate with veggies and snacking on whole fruits and nuts. You can also try one of these yummy smoothies. I created them for my clients who will be wrangling kids to the bus stop and juggling back-to-school nights, along with new deadlines at work. (Phew!)

Each of these delicious drinks take minutes to prep and make. Simply put all of the ingredients in a blender in the order listed (leafy greens on the bottom), and blend on the highest setting until everything is smooth. You can add a splash of water if you prefer a thinner smoothie, or throw in a few ice cubes if you’d like it to be thicker. Then, grab a friend (your kid works, too), a couple of straws, and enjoy!

 

Banana Berry Blaster Smoothie
This Banana Berry Blaster Smoothie is full of cold- and flu-busting antioxidants.

Banana Berry Blaster

This one’s full of immunity boosters—just what kiddos need when they’re heading back to the classroom with all their friends. Leafy greens are packed with iron, which supports healthy blood cells as they fend off pathogens. And a burst of vitamin C from the spinach and berries acts as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals before they can do any damage. (This smoothie is on the sweet side. For those who don’t want a treat, substitute ½ cup of water for half of the juice.)

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1 cup Orange Juice or Apple Juice (preferably fresh, unsweetened)
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 cup Strawberries
  • 1 cup Blueberries, frozen

Prep time: 5 minutes  Ready in: 5 minutes  Servings: 2

 

PB & J Swirl Smoothie
PB & J Swirl Smoothie—a twist on a classic.

PB & J Swirl

This twist on a classic packs in more vitamins, protein, and easy-to-digest fiber than the traditional sandwich. Spinach is loaded with iron and vitamin C, the banana brings in potassium and fiber, and red grapes offer up resveratrol—the same heart-healthy antioxidant found in red wine. You also get protein from the almond milk and peanut butter to help build strong muscles, as well as a balanced source of quick-burning carbohydrates to fuel your day. Plus, it tastes so great you’ll forget you’re eating vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1 cup Almond Milk, unsweetened
  • 2 cups Red Grapes 
(frozen ones are great in this!)
  • 1 Banana
  • ¼ cup Peanut Butter (or Almond Butter)

Prep time: 5 minutes  Ready in: 5 minutes  Servings: 2

 

Carot Cake Cooler Smoothie
“Carrot Cake” Cooler Smoothie Vitamin A never tasted so good!

“Carrot Cake” Cooler

Again with the spinach! I push it on everyone because it’s a vitamin powerhouse. But unlike its leafy green cousins kale and chard, spinach has a milder taste that mixes well with other flavors. With this smoothie, you get all the benefits of spinach, plus a giant dose of vitamin A from the carrots. Our bodies use vitamin A to build and maintain healthy tissue for eyes and skin, making it an important nutrient for growing kids and adults alike.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1 cup Almond Milk, unsweetened
  • 2 cups Baby Carrots
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 tsp. Pure Organic Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tbs. Organic Raw Honey (optional)

Prep time: 5 minutes  Ready in: 5 minutes  Servings: 2

 

How do you slip more fruits and veggies into your day? What’s your favorite healthy, kid-friendly recipe?

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Greens Are Still Good For You—Just Wash Them First

Take a peek at my produce.
Take a peek at my produce.

There’s a lot of buzz in the health world about a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that finds produce, including leafy vegetables, responsible for making more than 4 million people sick each year. Nutritionists everywhere are concerned this kind of news will scare you away from putting fruits and veggies on your plate.

Listeria, salmonella, norovirus, and e. coli, are all pathogens that can wreak havoc on your digestive track—causing stomach pains, vomiting, gas, diarrhea, and in really severe cases death. They’re worthy of being feared, and they’ve all been found on your favorite fresh foods, including cantaloupe, spinach, and peanuts.

One snapshot inside my refrigerator proves those nutritionists don’t have to worry about me. Still, the thought of spending the night in the bathroom after enjoying a big salad isn’t exactly appealing. So you can imagine my elation upon discovering a super-secret, super-easy way to cut the risk of food-borne illness: Wash everything before it goes into your mouth.

It’s really that simple. Soap up your own hands first. Then take a few minutes to soak and rinse your veggies in cool water. (Even the “pre-washed” stuff!) Wipe them down with a clean cloth and you’re good to go. Now, who wants kale for dinner?

Are you afraid veggies will make you sick? You’re planning to eat them anyway, right?