a recharging blend of my three favorite health foods
You know what’s embarrassing? Watching your very tidy mother-in-law push aside crumpled kindergarten school papers, empty cheese stick wrappers (you caught me eating dairy!), a kitchen spoon, an empty meat stick package, a few empty baggies, and a plastic kids cup off the passenger seat of your car, just so she can sit down to ride in the car with you. My mother-in-law keeps a spotless microwave 24-7, so you can imagine what her car looks like. This makes my mess even more embarrassing, almost humiliating.
As she was pushing aside a few months worth of garbage pile-up, I thought, “She probably thinks I’m so lazy. I can’t even carry my own garbage from the car and put it in the trash can!”. It probably only takes a few extra minutes each day to gather up our day’s worth of car filth. But often times, when I get home with the girls after a day’s worth of running around in the car playing soccer mom — kindergarten drop-off, errands, kindergarten pick-up, a race to make it to preschool (we’re always late), then piano lessons, then the store, then preschool pick-up, and then we’re home again — once we pull in that driveway, I have two cranky kids who haven’t been home all day. I have our lunch bag, my purse, coats, two backpacks, special art projects that didn’t fit in the backpacks, the piano book bag, and then my groceries.
By the time everything is in the house, I don’t make it back for one more trip to the car to do a clean-out of the mess we made that day because the girls are inside having tantrums about who gets to play with Odette the little lego lady. If they aren’t fighting over her, they are trying to help unpack the groceries, which usually happens when I run to the bathroom. They’re really quick in about 3 minutes of time — I may come out to find a pack of eggs sitting on the couch, a box of cereal on the carpet (sometimes opened), a carton of coconut milk sitting opened by the door, and some vegetables that made it to the kitchen table. By this time, I’m either putting Odette in time-out or trying to get these groceries safely put away or both.
Then, instead of spending an extra few minutes to clean out the car, I put all my energy into making a green smoothie for the girls. They are irritably hungry at this time, and when we’re out and about all day, their veggie intake plummets (although I do pack vegetables to eat in the car, usually baby carrots or mini cucumbers). I really do want my kids to eat veggies at least three times a day. By making a green smoothie after long school days, I can cram more veggies into their little bellies.
This chocolate blueberry kale smoothie is my go-to green smoothie for the girls. It is one of my favorite smoothies I’ve ever made. Chocolate and kale should be the new thing!
Not only does this green smoothie help increase their veggie intake, it also shifts the afternoon cranks into a pre-dinner happy hour. Giving your kids veggies when they’re grouchy can turn them into one of Snow White’s whistling, chipper dwarves. Food affects kids’ moods just as much as it affects adults’ moods. If you want your kids to have better behavior, feed them organic, whole foods.
The polyphenols in cocoa powder can also help to shift your kids’ mood (if they are not caffeine sensitive). Polyphenols are the most recognized, naturally occurring antioxidants found in chocolate. Some research has shown that the polyphenols in chocolate can have a mood balancing effect. These antioxidants may also enhance your cognitive function, promote heart health, promote oral health, prevent aging, decrease intestinal inflammation, and prevent cancer. Because of chocolate’s many health benefits, I have no problem giving my kids raw organic cocoa powder in unlimited quantities. Load them up with antioxidants? Yes, yes, yes.
Some people are sensitive to the theobromines in chocolate. If that is you, than of course, it’s not worth it to eat the chocolate. There are plenty of other antioxidant rich foods to eat.
Now, I couldn’t end this post without saying that not all chocolate is created equal. If you’re going to be giving your kids chocolate, definitely make sure it’s organic, as chocolate is a heavily sprayed food. Don’t want to give your kids a whopping dose of pesticides with their chocolate! The other thing to note is that raw cocoa powder is going to have more health benefits than any ole cocoa powder. Chocolate’s polyphenol content will be better preserved when it does not undergo high heat processing.
This Chocolate, Blueberry, & Kale Smoothie is the perfect afternoon pick-me-up for both your brain and the afternoon crank.
Chocolate Blueberry Kale Smoothie
Makes about 2.5 cups
- 4 large lacinato kale leaves
- a small piece of raw seaweed
- 1.5 Tablespoons raw cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- stevia to taste
- 3/4 cup full fat organic coconut milk
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 2 heaping cups frozen blueberries
- Place everything except the frozen blueberries into a Vitamix.
- Blend until smooth.
- Add frozen blueberries and blend again.
Smoothie is on the thicker side. Makes about 2.5 cups of smoothie, which divided into two, makes about two adult servings.