Last week I asked you to gather your smoothie tools. This week, we blend — one color at a time.
You know your child needs a variety of foods. You know fruits and vegetables are good for you. The reasons why are many. I want to focus on just one thread through the fabric of nutrition as we make Monday morning smoothies: phytonutrients.
We’ve learned a lot more about phytonutrients in the past ten years through science and popular press. To make the case simply, these plant-based chemicals are related to the pigment they use to protect themselves from intense sunlight and other threats. We eat colorful fruits and vegetables, and we share that protection.
Eat dark fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors for the most benefit and eat the foods fresh. Processing, even cooking, can destroy or remove some phytochemicals. This is another reason raw fruits and vegetables in smoothies are a great way to make sure your child has the most possible benefit from their food.
Fruits and Vegetables can be divided into 5-7 color categories, each rich in a particular set of phytonutrients. Today, we’re going for the dark blue and purple foods that contain anthocyanins, which contain antioxidants that help protect cells from damage.
On to the food.
I didn’t think too much about ingredients. I just pulled out everything intensely blue or purple that I had in my kitchen. I added:
- 1 small beet
- 4 cherries
- 1 plum from a neighbor’s tree
- 3 strawberries
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice (not cocktail but the intense straight juice)
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/4 cup plain yoghurt
- 4 ice cubes
Wow, this was great! Much better than last week’s carrot / spinach smoothie for the first set of photos, which was still good. The Sour Purple Blast is intense, sour, and smells like dirt like a good beet should.
If you are going for a purple blast of your own, try a variation. Frozen fruit helps make a smoothie very slushy, which is very popular on a hot summer day. Cranberry juice is very intense, so only use it if your kids have a high tolerance for sour (like mine do). I didn’t use many ice cubes this time, so our purple blast was more intense than most of our smoothies. For a younger child, I would add a banana as a base or use a lot of ice cubes to lower the intensity.
If you try a great purple smoothie, please share your recipe in the comments.
Vita-Mix (again) has a simple version of the 7-color food chart that can be your simple guide to color and nutrition.
Thanks to my daughter for the name “Sour Purple Blast.”