In my last post, I calculated the number of grams of sugar in a hypothetical day’s worth of food that a 5-year-old might eat. The result was a shocking one cup of sugar. There is no question that sugar is everywhere!
Fortunately, it’s possible to buck the trend of our flourishing collective sweet tooth. One way is to read food labels regularly and leave those items with added sugars on the grocery store shelf. You could start with breakfast foods, store-bought cookies, and fruit juices, which were the biggest offenders in my example.
Another way is to replace some store-bought foods with easily made replacements that are less sugary. That’s where A Busy Mom’s Kitchen can help. In the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a series of recipes for breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner items that can be substituted for their more sugary counterparts.
Up first is my family’s Breakfast Smoothie. It can be whipped up in about five minutes using freezer and pantry staples. More importantly, it is far healthier than any of the so-called smoothies you can buy in your supermarket.
Take Danimals Smoothies, which is really just some milk and sugar-sweetened water. My breakfast smoothie has less sugar (all of which come from the natural sugars in the fruit, yogurt, and orange juice) but almost three times the protein. It also has numerous phytonutrients from the fruit plus fiber from both the fruit and my secret ingredient, rolled oats. (Fiber mitigates sugar’s negative impact by slowing the rate at which it is digested and absorbed by the body. Both fiber and the protein from the yogurt make you feel full longer.)
Best of all, my smoothie is highly transportable. If your family is like mine, you can find it nigh impossible to eat a sit-down breakfast on weekdays. There have been many mornings when I’ve whipped up a quick smoothie and loaded it into a disposable cup with a lid and straw for my younger daughter to drink on the way to school. (My older daughter simply won’t eat breakfast. I’m hoping this is a phase. Sigh …)
Finally, a note about the level of sweetness. You are likely to find my smoothie much less sweet than what you are used to. That’s intentional. Breakfast is supposed to be the time you replenish your body with food after a period of fasting. It shouldn’t be dessert.
That said, I understand that my smoothie may be off putting because it isn’t as sweet as you or your kids may be accustomed to. If so, give your taste buds time to adjust by starting with a sweeter version and then slowly ratchet back the amount of sweetness each time you make it in the future. You can do this by adjusting the ratio of water to orange juice (use more orange juice versus water for sweeter versions and vice-versa for less sweet versions). You can also add a touch of honey.
1 cup frozen fruit*
¼ cup rolled oats**
1 7-ounce container of plain Greek yogurt or kefir***
½ cup orange juice
¾ cup water
Place all of the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.
Note that you can vary the consistency of the smoothie. I have found that younger kids prefer a more watery smoothie, but if you like them thicker, add more fruit or oats or reduce the amount of liquid.
*Use any combination of fruit you like. The smoothie in my post’s photographs was made using ½ cup of cherries and ½ cup of blueberries.
**You can also use oat flour.
***I almost always prefer dairy products with some fat. For the smoothie in my photographs, I used Fage Total 2% Greek yogurt. Do NOT use any kind of flavored yogurt or kefir (including vanilla), which will have lots of added sugar.
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