Today’s post is a little long but we think it’s an important topic. We’re focusing on our most precious and vulnerable commodity; our kids. As the nation prepares for the back to school season in the midst of this crippling pandemic, parents are facing difficult choices. We know that food is fuel and that children cannot fully process new information on an empty stomach. We can also agree that healthy food nourishes our mind, body and spirit - this is all the more true for the growing bodies of our children. Right now building up their immune system is also more critical than ever.
The pandemic has been hard on our kids and as different communities start to re-open, although we might not eat it ourselves, we may be tempted to “treat” them to a run to their favorite fast food joint. And that is just what the mega corporations behind your local franchised quick serve restaurant want you to think. According to a recent NBC News article, “the marketing (of fast food corporations) is so pervasive that it’s almost invisible”.
As always, it’s our responsibility to expose our children to what is best for them and this includes delicious, easily obtainable healthy food options, especially when we see that our children are more vulnerable to COVID than originally thought. As individual parents and caregivers, and as a community we can do better than deep fried nuggets, curly fries and shakes that aren’t even made with real ice cream (one fast food franchise doesn’t even call it ice cream - look up what’s in “ice dream” and you may be unpleasantly surprised).
One way to keep our kids healthy and well fueled for cognitive and critical thinking is to involve them in the process of preparing food. Go ahead and hand down your family’s secret sauce recipe and show them how you put your foot in it. Once kids see that all the delicious foods they love are actually tasty because of the herbs and seasonings that go into them, you might have to kick them out of your kitchen!
Here are couple of quick and super easy sweet “treat” recipes for these last days of Summer to get you started.
Banana Ice Cream
Image from garlicmatters.com
4-6 Frozen Banana Pieces per serving (we keep frozen bananas in our freezer all the time, they’re a great sweetener and thickener for smoothies and sorbets)
1/4 C Nut Milk of your choice
Break up 3 or 4 ripe (not over ripe - just a few brown spots) bananas and freeze them overnight. Add banana pieces to your food processor or blender and slowly blend in the nut milk a little bit at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Spoon into a bowl and dig in!
You can jazz this up by adding other ingredients like frozen fruit such as cherries or strawberries, or a little nut butter, cocoa or carob powder.
2 C Frozen Watermelon Chunks per serving
Fresh Mint 1 small leaf
Sweetener of your choice (agave syrup, honey)
Just cut up watermelon to into manageable chunks, discarding any seeds and freeze. Place frozen watermelon chunks in a food processor or high speed blender (you will need a powerful blender for this one) along with a one or two mint leaves, depending on how much you’re making; one mint leaf is plenty for 4 servings. Pulse and blend until you have a smooth consistency.
You may not need any sweetener at all! Like all melons, you won’t know how ripe or sweet it is until you cut it, so taste your watermelon before you freeze it or while it’s still a little chunky in the blending process to see if you need to add a little sweetener, drizzling in no more than a 1/2 teaspoon at a time to get the desired sweetness.
You can also swap out the watermelon for other tasty melons such as cantaloupe or honeydew or blend in other complimentary frozen fruit like strawberries or peaches.