One of my goals as a mom is to raise healthy children. It’s really important to me that my kids eat nutritious meals and get lots of exercise. We play a lot of physically active games together and I’m always experimenting with new recipes to find nutritious food they actually want to eat. Because they are active and their bodies are growing and developing, I make sure they get plenty of calcium. Today I’m sharing a couple of calcium-rich, nutrient-packed snacks/desserts I serve my family. These are nutritious treats kids love!
Smoothies are very popular at my house. I’m pretty sure other people love them as much as we do because two of my top ten posts are: Easy, Healthy Smoothie Recipes and 10 Smoothies for Good Health. I love making smoothies for breakfast because it’s an easy way to pack a lot of nutrition into our busy mornings.
My kids especially love chocolate smoothies, which we call “milkshakes” since we do make them with milk and because it somehow makes them taste even better to the kids when it sounds like dessert. I’ve made several varieties, but the one that is always a hands-down favorite with my kids and their friends is my Chunky Monkey Milkshake.
Chunky Monkey Milkshake
Despite the fact that this treat is named after a flavor of ice cream, there’s no ice cream in this recipe. To get the same creamy, thickness of a milkshake I use TruMoo chocolate milk as the liquid in the recipe AND as the ice cubes. Yes, I keep a tray of frozen chocolate milk cubes in my fridge, right alongside frozen orange juice cubes, and even frozen wine cubes (I’ll share why I have THOSE in a different post). Unlike regular ice cubes, these cubes won’t dilute the recipes you add them to, but you can still get the chilling benefits and thickening benefits (in the case of smoothies) as ice. And yes, I specifically use TruMoo chocolate milk since it contains NO artificial growth hormones and also has NO high fructose corn syrup.
- 1 cup chocolate milk
- 1 Tbs creamy peanut butter
- ½ ripe banana
- 1 pitted date
- 4-6 frozen chocolate milk cubes*
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- *Regular ice cubes can be substituted for frozen chocolate milk cubes, but add 1 Tbs of powdered cocoa and ¼ cup of plain or vanilla yogurt for consistency and flavor.
Since chocolate milk is one of MY post-workout go-to recovery drinks, I like to make the Chunky Monkey Milkshakes for the kids after our morning workout. As part of our effort to promote physical fitness in our children, we like to do a quick workout together in the morning before we get ready. It’s a pretty simple set of exercises that takes less than 10 minutes:
- 10 toe touches
- 25 squats
- 50 jumping jacks
- 20 crunches
- 10 push-ups
After the workout, the kids go get dressed and I whip up the Chunky Monkey milkshakes to accompany their cereal. If I’ve run out of frozen chocolate milk cubes (which I do a lot since I always forget to refill the tray), I make the milkshakes when I get up and stick the whole blender in the freezer. By the time I’ve woken up the kids and we’ve finished the workout, the milkshake mix has started to freeze so I just have to give it a quick blend to even out the consistency and it’s nice and slushy like a milkshake.
The kids also enjoy these milkshakes after sports practice or after a long day playing outside. And, since I’m a big fan of nutritious treats that can double as dessert, these “milkshakes” also work well after dinner.
Orange Banana Creamsicles
We are an active family and I encourage my kids to spend a lot of time playing outdoors so they often come in hot, exhausted, and hungry. When I was a child, my favorite treat when I’d come in from a day of playing outside all day was an orange creamsicle. So, I recreated my childhood favorite into a deceptively nutritious version and added banana since my kids love them.
Using DairyPure brand whole milk in place of heavy cream, these orange creamsicles add more calcium and protein and substantially reduce the amount of fat and calories in these frozen treats. I choose DairyPure brand milk since, like TruMoo, it doesn’t contain any artificial growth hormones. Also, it’s tested for antibiotics, which is another thing I try to avoid in the food I choose for my kids. As much as possible, I want the treats I give my kids to be natural, whole foods.
Because I want these treats to be as natural as possible, I also use honey in place of refined sugar and add vanilla extract to enhance the flavor instead of letting sugar do all the work. The banana also adds sweetness, along with creaminess, to the creamsicles so that no one will notice the lack of actual “cream” in these tasty treats.
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 banana
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 T honey
- Combine all ingredients in
blenderand blend until smooth.
- Pour immediately into popsicle tray(s).
- Place in freezer until frozen.
These are great for hot, sunny days. Since we encourage our kids to have friends over (the more kids around, the more outdoor game options they have), these orange creamsicles are the perfect treat since they’re inexpensive to make and the kids love them.
Create Your Own Nutritious Treat Recipes
I hope your kids and their friends enjoy the Chunky Monkey Milkshakes and Orange Creamsicles as much as we do. My main goal though, was to inspire you to find ways to use simple, natural ingredients to make treats for your family that they’ll love and you’ll feel good about giving them.
Since calcium is so important for kids whose bodies are growing and developing, I start with milk free of artificial growth hormones. That’s why for the recipes I shared today, I used TruMoo chocolate milk and DairyPure brand milk.
Refined sugar isn’t your only option for adding sweetness. Many fruits are very sweet (e.g. ripe bananas, pitted dates, raisins, and many berries) and provide vital vitamins and nutrients your children need (unlike sugar). Honey is also very sweet and if you buy local honey, can even help prevent mild, seasonal allergies (please consult a doctor if you have concerns since I am NOT a doctor and am not qualified to give medical advice). Maple syrup is another natural sweetener. Also, adding some vanilla extract adds flavor without sugar and works well in most recipes. Almond extract mysteriously adds a cherry flavor when paired with chocolate so it’s a fun flavor to experiment with too.
By freezing juice and milk into cubes, you can add thickness to smoothies and milkshakes without relying on cream or sugar (to make up for dilution caused by regular ice cubes).
Nuts and nut butters are a great way to add protein and flavor if no one in your family has nut allergies. A little goes a long way so add in small quantities until you get the flavor you want (the first time I made the Chunky Monkey Milkshakes I added WAY too much peanut butter and it completely overwhelmed all the other flavors).
If you find a favorite flavor combination that your family loves, you can gradually start incorporating some other ingredients into it to add more nutrients. I will sometimes add some spinach, flax seeds or chia seeds to the Chunky Monkey Milkshakes.
Please come back and share your own amazing flavor combination ideas in the comments if you whip up something that gets rave reviews in your house!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.