Smoothies are definitely for grown-ups as well. It wasn’t so widely known until just the last few years, even by me, that this phenomenal health drink offered busy mothers and fathers so many affordable opportunities to radically address their health concerns by way of eating and drinking right. I’ve learned that smoothies are perfect for encouraging kids to stay healthy by eating and drinking everything that is good for them. I’m utterly convinced that smoothies are for kids.
Its child’s play really, just how easy it is to make your own smoothies in your own kitchen. This is positive, I thought. I like where this blog post is now going. The previous one was a bit of a buster to write in the sense that my soft heart went out to those mothers and fathers still finding it so difficult teaching kids how to eat right. Even under my own roof, it was, at some stage, difficult to encourage my girl and boy to eat their green vegetables, particularly their green beans and broccoli.
I have always found it hard to believe why children and even adults could never stomach the thought of broccoli, never mind just eating it. To my mind, this green vegetable is so succulent and it’s also quite a versatile one. The making of smoothies for kids has its versatility attached to it as well. There’s even a fun-filled and playful aspect attached to it. You can even teach your own kids to make their own smoothies.
Let’s share one or two ingredient ideas for kids’ smoothies before I close this post leading on to weightier issues to do with children’s health and fitness requirements. The thing about smoothies for kids that should make it a healthy attraction for them is that the finished product is sweet, just like the sugar-coated cereals are. Only in the case of healthy smoothies, the sweeteners are in the natural fruits included among the ingredients and not the white sugar.
The fruity ingredients I found for this one smoothie recipe for children include berries; namely blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Other ingredients include low fat milk; almond, coconut or soy, and plain yogurt. An additional natural sweetener is a tablespoonful of organic honey. This next ingredient is probably not worth mentioning in front of the kids. Perhaps they will hear of it and perhaps be switched off the smoothie altogether. The green culprit here is two handfuls of baby spinach. Its crime is that it’s also loaded with iron along with the antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and vegetable protein.
I learned another devious trick in encouraging my kids to partake in healthy foods that they would normally avoid. I played the game of color association, beginning it by asking them what their favorite colors or flavors were. If one of them surreptitiously ordered green in her smoothie, well, there you go; the color green would fill her glass, thanks to the green vegetables she wasn’t so fond of before. If my son said he liked his chocolate or he liked the color brown, I would invariably add a modest portion of dark (cooking) chocolate to the child’s ingredients.
I did the same with cereals. I was able to wean the kids off the sugar-coatings by beginning to add their favorite flavors to their smoothie glasses. Over time, I would replace their favorite cereal with healthier, organic and sugar-free alternatives not too dissimilar in taste. They were none the wiser. I’m quite glad that there are at least tasty treats out there that are still good for kids. For instance, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have been perennial favorites for children since before even my time. I have been able to replace the popular processed brand with the organic alternatives, almond nut being particularly popular these days, and adding other healthy ingredients such as honey and banana to the peanut butter and not so jelly sandwich.
I’m closing this post off now with a reminder to you to follow my next post which is going to be a bit of a campaign of sorts, motivating parents to take responsibility for their children’s health and fitness. Hope you enjoy it.
Today I am going to be speaking to you in progressive terms. I honestly believe that not enough time and attention is expended by parents, perhaps even you, in addressing the very important matter of your kids’ health and fitness. My sense of urgency comes by way of personal experience on two fronts. First, let me relate to you the bad. In many cases it cannot be helped when adults, today even young adults, contract life-threatening diseases such as cancer.
But a lot of the time, as they say, prevention is better than the cure. Just by teaching kids how to eat right, you are addressing many of the ills that could cause them health problems later on in life. A lot of the diseases can be eased by making sure children and their grownups that they are always looking up to live responsible and healthy lives by doing all the things that have been prescribed. It really boils down to simply getting on with it.
The younger they become accustomed to healthy habits, from regular exercise to daily outdoor activities, from three well-balanced healthy meals a day to an early night’s rest, the easier it becomes to apply these same habits in later life as adults, particularly when adults are plagued with the everyday rush and full schedules of modern suburban and work life. The temptation to break away from all the typical stresses of life have proved to be quite profound for a great many adults, so much so that they ended up associating themselves with addictive behavior in which many hazardous terrains and materials are transgressed and consumed.
The plus side to my personal experience would have to go all the way back to my own childhood. I would have to say that perhaps we (I have two other sisters, also with kids) were a little more fortunate than our childhood friends. Our mother was quite vigilant in seeing to it that we all ate healthily and practiced good hygiene. We dressed well too and we were taught the finer arts of good grooming for young women.
Our mother, in her time, may not have had the foreknowledge that smoothies are for kids, but she didn’t need it. There was always fruit on our kitchen table and we were always encouraged to eat at least one fruit a day. Also, our school lunches were always packed with fruit. I’ll be the first to confess that my own childlike sweet tooth deviously let a fruit or two rot under the cover of my school desk. Girls will be girls.
And it’s amazing to experience just how the desire for succulent and juicy fruits manifests after a bout of strenuous activity. Subconsciously, the body is craving it. This would happen a lot at school. Sandwiches would be done and dusted long before the midday break, but by the time hockey practice was over, I would be quite famished and thirsty. After a good sip of water, I would take one more look into my lunchbox only to find that there was still fruit over. Oh well, what is a girl to do.
Back in the day, supermarket purchased fruit juices weren’t all bad. Then we had mostly real fruit juices without the white sugar loadings and other chemical garbage the manufacturers throw in nowadays. So, along with our daily quota of fresh, creamy dairy milk, our mother would always order different flavors of fruit juice. And I think that during those days, our home must have been one of the rarest on earth where nary a bottle of famous or favorite soda or soft-drinks would be found. My mother declared war on this.
We were always bookish sorts of girls. Our mother always encouraged us to read books before watching TV. Our father loved his ballgames. So, with no sons of his own, he encouraged all three girls to be physically active in outdoor sports events. I already told you that I played hockey. My younger sister played soccer. And my other sister truly enjoyed the martial arts. Summertime we were big on track and field. My sisters took part in the sprints while I tried my legs at the middle distance events.
Not any one of us was too familiar with winning races or games. That was a rare occasion. But we were again lucky where sport was concerned. Our coaches never instilled the win at all costs mentality that you see at some schools these days. Our coaches always encouraged us to enjoy ourselves rather than go for physical overkill. And not our father, nor our teachers, ever put pressure on us to take part in outdoor games.
Children always seem to learn well and are motivated to do well in life when they are able to replicate their own parents’ healthy examples. For goodness sake, if you’re a parent who sits on her bum all day watching TV and eating crisps, what did you expect when your child does similar harm to her body?
For once I was able to get up early this morning. Not even Myrtle got to my bedside before my time to arise. She’s good that way, always acting as my alarm clock, if you will, because, truth be told, I am somehow never able to hear the alarm these days. In fact, yesterday morning I had set my mobile phone’s alarm for an hour earlier than usual. I had to go and write a series of tests later that morning. This was for a position as an assistant librarian downtown at the city’s enormous library.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve not been out for a decent walk for weeks now. Physically and emotionally, I’m beginning to feel the strain of not doing this. And by a decent walk I do not mean a quick walk downtown to the shops or a walk to my local library or DVD store. Those walks are leisurely and don’t last longer than five or ten minutes anyhow. Also, the walk from the bus stop in my mother’s local town to her doorstep doesn’t count either.
I would like to see a perfect day when busy and often harassed moms no longer need to tell their growing and bustling kids, both girls and boys, and especially the boys, how to behave. It’s hard enough for me as it is. Trying to get the kids to sit still at the breakfast table is one thing. But try to get those same little children to eat the oats, porridge and fruit, and drink their milk is quite another challenge for busy and pressured mommies, and even daddies, in this twenty-first century day and age.
This is the era when both parents have to work, unfortunately. This is the modern day and age when tired parents barely have a chance to surface for air to breathe, let alone get their kids to sit still on the sofa while watching TV. That reminds me, it’s not so easy for working moms and dads to teach and discipline their growing children. Even more difficult is teaching kids to be active and getting them to spend more time outdoors in the sunshine instead of vegetating behind cold, drawn curtains, watching violent cartoon network shows and action movies or playing even more violent TV or video games.
It hasn’t been easy for me either, let me just tell you. But I dare say, without boasting, that I’ve managed things a bit better than the average parent. Perhaps that’s got something to do with my profession. I’m a senior nursing sister, you see. You may find this incredulous, seeing that professionals in the nursing profession always work long hours and at the most awkward and inconvenient times.
But my kids are growing up now, one is almost ready for high school and the other younger one may as well go to college, seeing as he is so clever and all, and my current work is strictly administrative and confined to traditional nine to five hours. That, of course, leaves me with more space to deal with my kids. Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you, I’m a single mother as well. It’s become a bit of a healthy occupational hazard for me, teaching my kids how to lead healthy, active lives, because this is how I spend most of my day at work.
Try and encourage your growing children to spend more time outdoors if you are lucky enough to have favorable weather and your grounds are big enough to give them space to run about in. If not, make time to take them out to the play parks, again, if you are lucky enough to live in a neighborhood that has such necessities. If not, and if your neighborhood’s not even safe for walking about in, make enquiries at your nearby community center to enroll your children in community-oriented daytime activities.
Unfortunately, the sun’s UV rays are a little harsh these days. So outdoor playing time still needs to be monitored in this regard. The ideal time for kids’ physical activities outdoors is during the mid to late afternoon after they’ve arrived home from school. I still believe in the sun because the sun’s rays have that wonderful and essential natural ingredient called vitamin D, essential for children’s growth.