Sipping strawberry smoothies in the summer
While the end of August is near, let’s not be so quick to jump from berry-infused summer drinks to the ubiquitous pumpkin spice of the fall.
Strawberries are a versatile food – they can be added to cereals, turned into jam, or eaten fresh as a snack. Another easy way to incorporate strawberries into one’s diet is by adding them to smoothies.
They make a light meal
A strawberry smoothie is a great summertime drink and snack for kids and families. It is refreshing, delicious as well as a source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Smoothies can also help with hydration on hot summer days!
Smoothies are also a popular meal replacement for adults. But is it okay for children to also replace a meal with a smoothie? “Absolutely,” says Stephanie Tibelius, registered dietitian at the McMaster Children’s Hospital’s Children and Exercise Nutrition Centre (CENC). “With the right ingredients, smoothies offer a great variety of nutrients when you are on-the-go or are looking for a quick meal. Many kids do well with a smoothie for breakfast or as a light meal before activities.”
Most kids do not need any protein supplements in their smoothies. In fact, many protein supplements would provide far more protein than a child would need at one meal or snack. Milk (and some alternatives such as soy milk), yogurt, nut butters and seeds are some options for protein in smoothies that work well for kids.
Being mindful about sugar content
Some parents and guardians may have concerns about the level of sugar in some fruits. Tibelius says there is a difference between natural sugar and added sugar. “Fruit contains natural sugar as well as other benefits such as fibre, vitamins and minerals. There is room for sources of natural sugar as part of a heathy lifestyle.
“If you are making efforts to reduce the amount of sugar in the food you eat, it is often most beneficial to reduce sources of added sugar.” Examples of food that has added sugar are sweet cereals, condiments, many sweet drinks, flavoured milk, packaged snacks and baked goods.
Here’s to enjoying a fun and delicious summertime drink. Below is the recipe for Strawberry Smoothies, developed by the CENC and Meant2Prevent, a youth type 2 diabetes prevention initiative.
Strawberry Smoothie (makes 1 serving)
- 1 cup frozen strawberries and peaches
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¾ cup to 1 cup of milk (or unsweetened milk alternative beverage)
- 1 tablespoon almond butter (or other nut or seed butter)
- 1 to 2 tsp ground flax seeds (or hemp hearts)
- Blend all ingredients until combined, pour into a glass and enjoy!
Want to learn more about sugar? Check out this video created by the CENC in partnership with Meant2Prevent.