Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health
Over the 4th of July weekend, I enjoyed a family barbecue complete with uncles, aunts, cousins, babies and toddlers. One of my cousins is a mom to a set of twins and she is always in need of a creative snack. I watched her as she tried to find something to tame her son’s ravenous sweet tooth (even after the chocolate chip cookie). She had to come up with something fast. After all this two-year-old’s patience was wearing thin and so was my cousins’.

She took out a blender and created a fruit and veggie smoothie that would just knock your socks off! She loaded the blender with a few scoops of fruit salad (watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, and cantaloupe), two handfuls of fresh baby spinach, and topped it off with about a cup of ice cubes. The result was a beautiful green beverage! Next stop – the sippy cup and this two-year-old couldn’t be happier.

After tasting this delicious super-nutritious beverage of fruits and spinach I thought, what a wonderful way to get in more fruits and veggies; this drink is packed with disease-fighting antioxidants! If a two-year-old gobbled it down without so much as taking a breath, it must be tasty enough for everyone to enjoy. My cousin didn’t stop there-she took out some homemade frozen pops from the freezer that was created from the very same recipe. Brilliant!

After a few sips I began to think about all of the different ways you can blend yourself a cup of “good health” that’s delicious, cool and refreshing, and of course satisfies a sweet tooth.

Smoothie Recipes

Banana Carrot Smoothie
Bananas are rich in potassium and carrots contain an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C.

Ingredients

    • 1 ripe banana, frozen
    • 1 cup apple juice
    • 1 ½ cups chopped baby carrots
    • 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt

Directions
Place all ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth. Enjoy!
The Green Goblin
Spinach is an excellent source of fiber and vitamin K; high in vitamins A and C; high in iron, high in folate and a good source of magnesium.

Ingredients

    • 1 banana, cut into chunks
    • ½ apple, cored and chopped
    • 1 cup white grapes
    • 1 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt
    • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves

Directions
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Gazpacho Smoothie
Choose tomatoes with bright, shiny skins and firm flesh. Tomatoes are very low in sodium, low in calories, high in vitamin A, high in vitamin C, and a good source of potassium.

This recipe may be too potent for a toddler’s palate; however just omit the jalapeno for the young ones.

Ingredients

    • 1 small tomato, quartered
    • 3/4 cup tomato juice cocktail, chilled
    • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
    • 1/4 jalapeno pepper (or to taste), chopped
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • Juice of 1/2 fresh lime (about 1 tablespoon)
    • Small wedge of fresh lime and a cherry tomato for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Freeze tomato in a plastic bag until hard, about 3 to 4 hours. (They will keep up to one week. Several tomatoes may be frozen at a time.)
  2. Place frozen tomato, juice, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cumin and lime juice in a blender. Purée until well blended and almost smooth.
  3. Pour into a tall tumbler filled with ice cubes. Garnish if desired, with a small wedge of lime and a cherry tomato, speared on a short skewer and added to the glass like a swizzle stick. Serve immediately.

Source: The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR)

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