Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Supercharge Your Smoothies

September 23rd, 2014 · Super Foods, Tips

Supercharged Smoothies - Easy ways to up the nutrition in your morning smoothies :: via Kitchen Stewardship

Written by KS contributing writer Debra of Worth Cooking

It is official, everyone in our household is a smoothie drinker. Our 14 month old just recently began drinking them (with minimal help). An important milestone indeed. Ok, so maybe not that important. But, smoothies are a big deal around here.

While I have always had, and enjoyed, smoothies, last summer when I needed to cut out nuts, eggs, and dairy in pretty quick succession, I appreciated the humble smoothie all the more.

I reached for them for easy sources of protein (beyond the meat and beans). I even got some protein powder, but that just did not sit right with me. The pretty natural stuff did not taste good, and the yummy stuff had kind of scary ingredients. So, I began to to try and figure out natural ways of adding protein to my smoothies. 

But why stop at the colorful array of fruit and some natural protein? Why not supercharge those smoothies with foods for energy, vegetables, and supplements I had trouble taking otherwise.

6 Ways To Supercharge Your Smoothie

Switch Up The Fruits

Different fruits have different benefits, so vary it up. Make smoothies with blueberries for those antioxidants, bananas for potassium, fresh orange juice for vitamin c, beta carotene rich mangos etc. etc. Enjoy the rainbow of colors you can make, and the associated health benefits of different fruits.

Supercharged Smoothies - Easy ways to up the nutrition in your morning smoothies :: via Kitchen Stewardship

 

Add Natural Protein

There are many ways to add protein to smoothies without the powders. They might not be as incredibly high in protein, but that is because they are whole natural sources. The proteins naturally come with other macro nutrients as well.

  • Hemp Seeds- This is my go to for adding protein to my smoothie as they blend so easily into smoothies. Plus, 3 tablespoons of hemp provides 10 grams of protein. Not bad at all. Because they do take longer to blend than fruits I usually blend some with water (or milk) first and than add the rest of my ingredients. Usually just banana and ice.
  • Nut or Seed Butters – These blend in easily too. Just make sure they are not salted! Salty smoothies just aren’t tasty.
  • Soaked Nuts or Seeds – If you soak a nut or seed until soft it can easily be blended into smoothies. It can be done overnight in the fridge, or pour on hot water and let sit for 30 minutes or so. Blend with the liquid first then add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Collagen Hydrolysate – Though this sounds kind of scary, it is basically gelatin that has been treated a little differently so it won’t gel in liquids. I personally have not tried it, but hear it is good.
  • EggsIf you know where your eggs are coming from and if you are comfortable with the raw egg thing, throw in one + some extra yolks if desired. Combined with ice it can make an incredibly creamy and frothy smoothie that has healthy proteins.
  • Chia Seeds - These have the added benefit of being energizing. Not a bad deal for moms, right? You can add about 1 tablespoon per cup of smoothie without it getting overly thick.

My friend Tiffany wrote an excellent eBook all about adding natural protein to smoothies. Make sure you check out High Protein, No Powder for her great ideas. -Katie

Supplement with Herbs & Spices

I am far from an expert here, but my basic process is this- I figure out what herbs or spices I should be taking for a specific thing I am having trouble with then I try to add it to my foods in some way. If it is a “sweet” herb or spice I add some to my smoothie. If not I will go ahead and add it elsewhere.

The ones I routinely add are basil and mint as they both taste really good, and I find that they help me feel more energized and clear headed. It is not what those herbs are known for, but that is what I find they do for me.

Supercharged Smoothies - Easy ways to up the nutrition in your morning smoothies :: via Kitchen Stewardship

 

Add Some Vegetables

Smoothies aren’t exactly the most efficient way to get your veggies, but since I am already having them and I want to eat vegetables (even for breakfast) in they go.

  • A handful of greens (I usually do spinach). To get the smoothest smoothie either use a really awesome blender (which I do not have) or load the greens with liquid and blend till smooth BEFORE adding the rest of the ingredients.
  • 1/4 of an avocado per serving (any more than that and I feel like I need to add honey or maple syrup)
  • Squash, or other low flavored vegetable purees - I prefer to use frozen ice cubes of squash, but will also just use pureed squash and add ice as well. I find that I need to add a bit of additional sweetener (beyond fruit) when using squash, so usually blend in a medjool date too.

Looking for a way to take your smoothie on the go? Check out Squooshi for a variety of sizes and designs. There are fun animals for the kids and new large sizes with geometric designs for the older crowd. We love these at our house and are pleased to have Squooshi as a sponsor. -Katie

Get Your Probiotics

Chances are you are already doing this, as yogurt is a very common smoothie ingredient but if you are dairy free (which we are) it can be a little harder. Here are a some things you can add to smoothies to make them probiotic rich:

An Easier Way to take (some) Supplements & Tinctures

‘Hmm… they really liked that mint smoothie. I wonder if I should tell them it has fermented cod liver oil in it?’

This is a pretty broad idea. If being in a smoothie does not negatively effect a supplement, I say go for it. The only thing I would caution against is don’t add supplements that have a very strong (unpleasant) flavor, because then you will just have more to drink.

Other than the sneaky cod liver oil I have done an herbal multivitamin (which I made in vinegar instead of glycerin), apple cider vinegar, blackstrap molasses for it’s iron, and I want try adding some maca root after reading this article about its vitalizing affect.

Supercharged Smoothies - Easy ways to up the nutrition in your morning smoothies :: via Kitchen Stewardship

 

Naturally Sweetening Smoothies

The last thing you want to do after taking the time to supercharge a smoothie is add a bunch of sugar. Right?

Because of that I figured I could hardly finish this post without talking about natural sweeteners for those supercharged smoothies. I usually find fruit enough to sweeten my smoothies, but every so often I decide to go a bit sweeter.

  • Ripe Bananas – These add great sweetness, and are often what I use.
  • Vanilla – I always reach for this first because while maple syrup and honey are healthy sweeteners I don’t exactly need to worry about getting more of them. It gives a dessert like quality to smoothies, and in general is just really good. Vanilla is also said to be a mood lifter, which I can often use.
  • Stevia - A few drops of liquid stevia can add sweetness to your smoothies without the sugar.
  • Dates – Medjool dates blend surprisingly well so if need be I throw in one or two of those. Just make sure they are pitted!
  • HoneyHoney is a natural sweetener, and my family’s sweetener of choice. I try to not add honey to my smoothies because I do not feel like I need to take steps to get more of it.
  • Maple Syrup – Yum! My budget is not as fond of this natural sweetener, but occasionally I will add a bit anyway.

Do you enjoy smoothies? What are some ways you supercharge them? 

DebraDebra Worth is first and foremost a daughter of the king of kings. She resides in central Missouri with her husband of 6 years and three young kids. She is passionate about serving her family nutritious and delicious foods, especially after needing to cut out many foods due her family’s food intolerances. In March she started the blog Worth Cooking where she shares her healthy, delicious, and allergy friendly recipes.

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Kitchen Stewardship is dedicated to balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth and money. If you feel called to such a mission, read more at Mission, Method, and Mary and Martha Moments.

Disclosure: There are affiliate links to Tropical Traditions in this post from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. Squooshi is a sponsor of Kitchen Stewardship receiving a complimentary mention in this post. See my full disclosure statement here.

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Monday Mission: Your Resources for a Natural Health Season

September 22nd, 2014 · Monday Missions, Natural Health

Natural Wellness for Whatever Ails You

‘Tis the season…for getting sick.

Between going back to school, the change in the weather in general and the increased "inside time" most climates experience in the fall and winter, the germs just seem to spread faster, don’t they?

Of course when you feel off (or awful) you know more sleep, more liquids (but not sugary ones), and homemade chicken stock in your soup is the first line of defense…but what else can you do without relying on over-the-counter medications, doctor’s visits, and even prescriptions?

LOTS!

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to make a commitment to at least explore natural options when your family gets sick this winter…and having resources at your fingertips is definitely the first step.

I’ve covered quite a wealth of natural remedies for illnesses and other general "feel icky" situations here at KS – which means we’ve experienced them in the past five years, to your benefit! I thought it might be a helpful start to the sick season to compile all my "get well" resources in one place for you. You can pin it, bookmark it, or put it right on your desktop to refer to when the sick bugs hit your family…

This post is sponsored by TriLight Health, where their goal, like mine, is to keep you well and get you better when you’re not. Thanks for making this information free and easy to find, TLH!

When the Sick Bugs Hit

fight infection and congestion naturally

Stock your Natural Remedies Medicine Cabinet: A little of everything, from natural antibiotics for fighting infection to cough and congestion remedies to preventative methods for avoiding the sick bugs or fighting them before they get the best of you.

More specific remedies for what ails you below…

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Naturally Soothing your Eczema Without Giving up all the Food you Love

September 20th, 2014 · Natural Health

Natural Cure for Eczema

Nine-year-old boys are a little oblivious to life sometimes.

They could probably have a frog stuck in their ear and not notice for a few weeks.

If they hadn’t had a shower in a month, I doubt they’d remind the parents they’d been forgotten.

And if a 4×4-inch spot on their leg is supremely itchy, bleeding and crusty, they might not say a word for weeks.

Weeks, I’m telling you.

I know this because I have a 9-year-old boy…who didn’t tell his parents about just such a rash…or sore…or who knows what? By the time we found it – perhaps because he was digging and scratching at it like crazy – we didn’t know if it was road rash from a fall gone infected, poison ivy, some unknown skin condition or what!

Me: "Did you fall, or get an injury of some sort? Did you scrape it while climbing a tree maybe or fall off your bike?"

9-year-old boy: "Ummm…I dunno."

Me: "You don’t know if you fell down or not? You can’t remember if this is bleeding because of a tree?"

Boy: (shrugs)

Ah, parenting. Smile

This post is sponsored by Crunchy Mamas.

When after a few days or a week of observing and applying some salve when we thought of it, the thing was clearly getting bigger, we figured it couldn’t be a scrape or abrasion.

We hit it harder and daily after that, using a few salves infused with things like comfrey, plantain, some healing essential oils and nourishing base oils, our hard lotion bars, and Redmond clay, and we kept it from spreading for a month…but we couldn’t make any improvements beyond that. The clay seemed to help the most especially if I applied a layer, waited 15-20 minutes and then washed it off, and we’d also usually follow with salve as well (so maybe it was just because we used two things).

In the face of the unknown, we treated the “rash” as if it might be contagious, washed our hands religiously, and didn’t let other kids touch it or reuse any washcloths. But it was still pretty nasty looking, bleeding enough that blood was on his sheets and pajamas, and while it wasn’t spreading, it certainly wasn’t showing any signs of receding either.

He had given up sweets for Lent and our family went 100% gluten-free during that time as well, and I wondered if going back to junk food after that made him flare up somehow. The timing was likely about right, although of course we didn’t know exactly when the beast had shown up, so who knows…

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4 Ways to Fight Back-to-School Germs

September 17th, 2014 · Natural Health

4 Ways to Fight Back-to-School Germs :: via Kitchen Stewardship

This post is by KS contributing writer Pam Farley from Brown Thumb Mama.

Moms: does back-to-school time stress you out? There are supplies to buy, healthy lunches to plan, and all the jitters associated with new teachers, different classmates, and changing routines.

Unfortunately, all of these changes can weaken our immune systems and make our kids more susceptible to sickness. Add in all the new germs they’re exposed to in school and it’s just a matter of time before somebody has the sniffles or a tummyache…right?

NO!

You can keep the germs away safely and naturally. Here are four methods we use to keep our family healthy when school starts.

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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