It’s not hard to understand why so many American families who are bounded by busy schedules suffer from poor nutrition. The busyness trap I, myself, am often ensnared in leaves me with little energy most days to consistently make good decisions about what to feed my family.
With each of my children in one summer activity, I find myself each day in the car shuttling kids around the city to and from home. Add a few parties, play dates, and sleepovers here and there and my “common sense” defenses are weakened as I give into carbohydrate filled snacks (crackers, toast, pretzels, cereal, cookies, etc) as if it was the most dominant food group on the food pyramid. This dilemma is a reality many families face on a daily basis.
Last week I had a moment of hyper-awareness that woke me up out of my healthy nutrition slumber. After falling prey to a severe allergy attack and spending most of the day on the couch, I mentally took note of the ratio of healthy (raw whole) foods my kids ingested throughout the day compared to snacks like crackers. What I observed was startling.
At a ratio of 3-1 my kids were essentially snacking on empty calories. When I left them to make their own decisions about food, they went for flour baked snacks most of the time. I was not happy. I let my guard down and they took advantage of the opportunity with little resistance from me.
The next day I decided that a lack of energy was no excuse for allowing for poor decision making. I stocked up on fresh fruit, vegetables, and nuts and nothing else. The next day when they were searching for snacks I was relieved to see them eat local strawberries so vibrantly red and fragrant. It was such a nice contrast to the processed “brown” snacks they had been consuming a day before.
The sleeping giant within me had been woken.
I share my story with you because although I write about food often, I also struggle with the busyness trap many of you struggle with. Sometimes I choose convenience above making healthier choices and I remind myself that in parenting it never needs to be all or nothing. Finding a healthy balance is attainable; it just takes a little more than parenting from the couch or the driver’s seat of a car.
Today I have a berry smoothie recipe for you that is filled with anti-oxidants and other great vitamins your family will love and can be easily made for busy families on the go. Inspired by a popular drink at a juice bar chain, this cold refreshing smoothie is the perfect snack you can feel good about feeding your kids. My version incorporates a nice amount of spinach because it blends beautifully and the fruit does an excellent job in masking the spinach flavor -great for kids who dislike eating leafy greens.
Recipe: Triple Berry Spinach Smoothie
A cold, healthy, and refreshing smoothie made with berries and spinach.
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- ½ cup frozen strawberries
- ½ cup frozen raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups loosely packed spinach
- Agave syrup or other sweetener (if necessary) *The natural sweetness of some fruits will vary in acidity and tartness depending on when they were picked. Although fruit in itself is naturally sweet, sometimes they are more tart in flavor, especially frozen berries.
- Add the orange juice, fruit, and spinach to a blender. Blend on medium-high speed until the all the spinach is blended and there is no visible green specks.
- Add up to 2 tablespoons of agave syrup if necessary to sweeten.
- Add additional ice cubes for a more icier drink.