Back to School Smoothies – Tropical Green Smoothie

green smoothie

Green smoothies are an excellent choice for those back to school mornings as they provide a ton of nutrients to start the day and get the kids energized. A green smoothie though, is not always the most popular with kids. They take one look at the color and won’t even try it no matter what you tell them is in it. (This is one of the reasons why I like making other kinds of smoothies and adding in a little greens. You can literally hide them in there as it doesn’t change the color and they get blended up so they have no idea!)

One of the reasons kids (and some adults too) steer away from green smoothies is because often times they are this ugly dark green and aren’t very tasty or sweet. And even though I like my vegetables, when my smoothie tastes bland and like just a glass of vegetables, that doesn’t appeal even to me – why would a kid like it? That being said I have found a green smoothie that I quite enjoy and has passed the ‘kid test’. It is actually the favorite of my youngest son.

This green smoothie is sweet in taste due to the 3 kinds of tropical fruits, but not overly so, and a bright vibrant green. Stocked with 3 kinds of greens as well this makes for a very good combination. The nice thing is to if you need it a little sweeter you just add a little more fruit.

I have even made this green smoothie in my kids cooking classes (ages 3-12) and most of them liked it. In fact, for some of them it was their favorite smoothie as well!

Why do you want kids to have a green smoothie in the morning?

  • They are an easy way to get in those greens everyday (and right at the start). I don’t know about you but sometimes I find this difficult and get to the end of the day with no greens whatsoever. I feel good when I start my day with some greens.
  • Greens are rich in fiber, high in vitamins like vitamin C, K, E, and minerals and have many disease fighting benefits. And if you’re using a green like spinach, it’s high in iron ( supports brain function, muscle health, curbs fatigue)
  • Greens are high in antioxidants
  • They are high in folate which maintains a healthy heart, is needed for body’s cell division and prevents depression
  • Supports healthy brain function

Tropical Green Smoothie

1 c. spinach

green smoothie3-4 stems of parsley

1 sprig of fresh mint (I love mint so I might add a bit more, add yours to taste)

*1/2 c. papaya

1/2 c. pineapple

1/2 c. mango

**1/2 -3/4 c. apple juice or water

Put all ingredients in Vitamix blender. Start on low moving up to high. Blend on high for 1 minute or until smooth. Enjoy!

*I use orange or yellow papaya as I like it better and find it sweeter; but you can also use red papaya

**vary the amounts of fruit to make it sweeter or less sweet to taste

**I have found over the years that if I add a little more fruit then I can use water instead of juice and it still tastes yummy, sweet and delicious

Serves 1

Give this green smoothie a try this weekend and see how the crew likes it. If it’s a success you can start incorporating it into your back to school smoothie rotation in the mornings and kick off the day with a nice green healthy breakfast.

Back to School Smoothies – Classic Berry

berry smoothie

One of my favorite smoothies is when there is an abundance of fruit – and I mean a variety of fruits that I really love. Yes I know they all taste great on their own but I love putting them all together in one glass. Seriously for me it’s like a treat or a sundae.

This is why I love a classic berry smoothie. Not only do I fulfill my desire for more than one berry at once, I can also amp it up a little with some added ingredients that get disguised in the mix. So to the eye and palette very much berry, berry and berry, but to the rest of the body, lots of yummy nutrients that I need or am trying to get in!

This is especially good for kids who naturally love sweeter smoothies and will be all over drinking this. They will enjoy it and you will be happy that you got that other stuff in there (I feel especially successful when I’ve gotten some greens into them first thing in the morning). My daughter, in particular likes this smoothie and will gulp it down very quickly.

berry smoothieNow I know in the first post in this back to school smoothie series I recommended go easy on the fruit, as it can create too much sugar (even if it is natural) in the body first thing in the morning. The key is that with the other ingredients we are adding this quickly balances it out and stabilizes the higher sugars that you get from the higher fruit content. Plus because we are blending and not juicing you still get the fiber from the fruits which also helps to counter balance the sugars. And well let’s be honest, it tastes good! And every once in a while we deserve a little treat.

This is also a great smoothie if you are trying to introduce smoothies to your kids but not having as much luck as you had hoped so far. Because of it’s higher sweet content you may have more success, knowing that you did successfully get that spinach in there to, without them even knowing. Then later you can work on the green ones…

Classic Berry Smoothie

1 banana

5-6 fresh strawberries

1/2 c. blueberries

berry smoothie1/2 c. raspberries

1 1/2 c. non dairy milk (we usually use unsweetened almond milk)

*1-2 tbsp hemp seeds

1 healthy handful of spinach

Put all ingredients in the blender and mix until smooth. Now if you prefer more blueberry to strawberry or raspberry, feel free to adjust the amounts accordingly. You may also substitute chia seeds for hemp seeds, just be aware that with chia seeds they can make it much thicker especially if not drunk right away.

Serves 3

Perfect for the morning and to add that variety to the morning smoothie menu.

Coming up… a yummy Green Smoothie (honestly it’s delicious! and your kids will love it)

Create Success in the Classroom – Essential Oils for Back to School

essential oils for back to school

Create success in the classroom with these essential oils for back to school.

It’s that time of year again back to school and fall routine. Personally I love the summer schedule, the lazy days, warm summer sunshine and the freedom of being able to just play. Go anywhere at anytime and not have to worry about ‘the schedule’.

For some kids back to school can be quite challenging. They have a hard time sitting for longer periods of time, focusing on what’s going on or simply becoming overwhelmed by all the action and energies that are going on in the classroom. This can make things uncomfortable and definitely not fun for a child who feels this way.

child-830988_1920 pixabayI have always felt that children are uniquely different and that they each have their skills and talents and learn in different ways. No one child will learn the exact same way as another, which is why our school systems have changed in so many ways over the years. I still feel the system has a ways to go to reach all children, but it’s great to see some progress and specialty programs that can meet more children’s learning styles and needs.

That being said I think a majority of schools still teach to the average child, which is a small percentage of children in the class, while the rest fall above or below the line for various reasons. Little Johnny can’t focus so he misses out or gets in trouble a lot because he’s always fidgeting and moving. It’s not that he doesn’t want to, his body just needs a little support in doing so – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

In comes essential oils, an easy, simple and effective way to help support children (and adults too) at school and in their daily lives.

Keys to Success at School

essential oils for back to schoolIn order for children to have success at school they need to have a strong foundation which consists of these 5 elements

  • Good diet, nutrition and exercise
  • Proper rest (so they have enough energy for the day’s activities)
  • Boosted (strong) immunity
  • Emotional support
  • Mental clarity and focus

These key elements prep a child (and adult – we need this stuff too) to be able to function at their optimal level throughout the day. If even one of these is out of whack, it can affect their ability to focus, process or manage themselves emotionally.

How Essential Oils Can Help at School

Essential oils are great tools to add to a child’s wellness routine to not only assist and support them in these elements but to maintain a healthy balance. There are a number of oils that can support these. Here’s a quick overview of some of these oils to get you started.

Focus & Concentration

essential oils for back to schoolWe all know how hard it is to get things done and done well when we can’t focus! Try these when you can’t focus or need to.

In Tune – is a focus blend that helps enhance and sustain focus. This works wonders with my son who often needs support in this area. Roll this oil on the back of the neck or the bottoms of the feet. I have been using the InTune blend quite a bit this week myself, as I have been having trouble getting myself focused after my relaxed summer vacation! And it has been working like a charm. I feel like I’m on fire and have accomplished so much this week.

Rosemary – helps maintain concentration and supports memory. Apply topically under nose and across forehead.

Immunity Boost

essential oils for back to schoolOnGuard – this blend is my top go to when boosting immunity. It supports healthy immune function, respiratory and circulation, support’s body’s natural antioxidant and is energizing and uplifting. You can diffuse it, add it to a spray bottle with water for a natural hand sanitizer or spray on your counters to clean and sanitize surfaces.

Ginger – commonly known for it’s aid in reducing nausea, ginger also has strong antioxidant properties, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and stimulates blood circulation (which means more oxygen is getting to your tissues to help remove toxins and viruses).

Calm & Balance

We all know how difficult it can be when we are riled up, anxious, overwhelmed or upset. Who can concentrate, focus or even function when our bodies are in that state? Essential oils can cross the blood brain barrier and therefore act quickly in providing the needed support; supporting the child in moving back into balance quickly and easily. Feeling better in their bodies and able to manage what is happening around them and do what they need to do, whether it be at home or school.

Balance – is one of my favorite blends which we use frequently at our house. This blend calms and balances emotions, reduces stress and anxiety. It also has a lovely scent which I could sniff all day!

Frankincense – is known as the King of Oils, is a grounding oil and supports emotional balance.

Healthy Digestion

digestzen-15mlStarting with a healthy breakfast in the morning is only part of the equation. Ensuring our bodies are digesting properly and absorbing the nutrients we need is key. This is why using essential oils to support digestion can be of great benefit.

Lemon – we start with a glass of lemon water in the mornings – 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil mixed in a glass of water, which flushes the system, hydrates the body, boosts immunity as well as improving digestion. The advantage of using the essential oil over fresh lemon is it does not cause deterioration of the enamel on our teeth or damage the gums.

DigestZen – is a wonderful companion to aid in the digestion of food, soothe occasional upset stomachs, and reduce uncomfortable gas and bloating. When my daughter has a sore tummy we apply this topically on her stomach and she feels more comfortable within minutes. 

Restful Night’s Sleep

essential oils for back to schoolWe all know a good night’s sleep is key for anyone to function well during the day. Lack of quality sleep can affect mood, focus, concentration, memory, weakened immunity and overall health. Diffusing calming oils overnight can help balance and process days events as well as support a restful night’s sleep.

Breathe/ Easy Air – is a wonderful one for sleep as it supports the respiratory system and opens up the airways therefore allowing more oxygen to enter the body and creating a more restful sleep. Often can reduce or eliminate snoring as well.

Lavender – a common one used for sleep as it promotes calming and relaxation. One thing to note with lavender is for some children and highly sensitive people lavender can have the opposite effect and instead of calming it can energize. Experiment with this one to gauge what the effects are and perhaps choose a citrus oil instead.

The beauty of essential oils is that there’s not just one oil with the support you’re looking for. Many of the oils share similar properties, so if the one you choose to try first doesn’t work for you, then there is another one to try!

Give some of these combinations a try and let me know how it worked out, either with yourself or the kids.

Interested in what other oils could support focus, immunity, sleep, etc.? Would you like to give some a try? For the month of September I am offering Back to School Essential Oil Kits to support these different elements. Check them out here.

essential oils for back to school

And this month Enter to Win Back to School Essential Oils until September 30th.

Back to School Smoothies – Peanut Butter

peanut butter smoothie

Peanut butter smoothies are a staple for my kids at our house. Even though I recommend changing things up and giving the kids variety, they go for days if not weeks in a row where they only want this smoothie.

I really like the peanut butter smoothie because it is a super quick and easy recipe – with simply peanut butter, banana and milk. It is a nice thick creamy smoothie that is high in protein, filling and a great way to start the day!

We tend to add in a few other ingredients to this smoothie like dates and oatmeal for a little added sweetness and nutrient boost. Dates are high in fiber and a good source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin A. They are also high in natural sugars which provide an immediate and sustainable burst of energy (sustainable because it also has the high fiber content).

If you’re not a peanut butter fan or have an allergy, it is easy to substitute any nut butter in this smoothie or you can use Wow Butter, which is a soy based product (but does have added sugar) that has similar taste and texture to peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Smoothie

1 bananapeanut butter smoothie

1 tbsp. unsweetened or natural peanut butter

2 c. non dairy milk (we like almond but choose your favorite)

2 medjool dates, pitted

1/3 c. dry oatmeal

Put all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Serves 2

Coming up… the Classic Berry Smoothie

Back to School Smoothies – Apple Carrot

back to school smoothies

Mornings can often be a rush and a challenge to get everyone a good balanced breakfast and out the door on time, it’s one of the reasons I love Back to School smoothies. They are a quick, easy way to pack a bunch of important nutrients into one glass and start the day right.

If you’re like me you have a love – hate relationship with this time of year. I love that the kids are occupied elsewhere during the day and I can focus on other things, the golden late summer sun and promise of fall in the air. I do not like having to make lunches or get up in the mornings and rush out the door, I prefer a slower pace and making lunch later.

As a result I get up in the mornings with the shortest amount of time I possibly need to get us all fed and out the door (I can do it in about 30 minutes), which often means prepping things the night before and getting creative with breakfasts (this is also why I love overnight oats).

You know what they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day! and I agree a good breakfast sets you up for a good, productive and successful day. This is why smoothies are a great solution. There are all kinds of varieties and combinations so everyone can have something they like; and I can easily make them night before (in it’s entirety or packing the blender and adding the liquid and blend in the morning). They are also portable, so if we’re running short on time we toss the smoothie into a to go glass and take it out the door and no one misses breakfast!

Tips for Making a Healthy and Balanced Morning Smoothie

It’s important to make a smoothie your child likes but it’s also important to keep in mind IMG_1593these few tips to make it a balanced, filling and energizing smoothie.

  1. Don’t make it fruit heavy – make sure it’s more than just fruit and milk
  2. Steer away from the juice – use non dairy milks, coconut water or just water itself to blend your smoothie
  3. Add in some protein – things like chia, hemp and flax seeds are all excellent sources of protein and when blended into the smoothie are not even noticeable. This also helps you feel fuller longer.
  4. Add in some greens if you can – I know some kids watch what you do like hawks and if they see one green thing going in there they won’t drink it even if they can’t see or taste it! If you can, adding a handful of greens like spinach, will give them that extra boost for the day.
  5. Change it up – have a few smoothie recipes on the go for your back to school mornings. Variety is good and keeps kids interested. It’s also helpful as the seasons change and what’s available in season in the grocery stores.

To get you going and inspired, we’re going to share some great Back to School smoothie recipes here on the blog over the next two weeks. Today we’re starting with my Apple Carrot Smoothie, which is a beautiful use of many of the things that are currently being harvested (like the sweet delicious apples from our apple tree).

Apple Carrot Smoothie

3 applesapple carrot smoothie (2)

1 stalk of celery

2 carrots

1 handful of spinach

2 tsp. hemp seeds

Water or *coconut water

Put all ingredients into you blender and mix thoroughly til smooth.

Enjoy!

Serves 3

*coconut water is high in carbohydrates, potassium, magnesium and fiber. It has a sweet nutty distinct flavor so test it with your kids (a small sip in a separate glass) before adding it to the smoothie

And smoothies aren’t just for kids or breakfast! These are great for adults too and as snacks or a pick me up during the day.

Coming up next… the Peanut Butter Smoothie