This blog post is sponsored by Dole Packaged Foods but all words, opinions and recipes are my own.
You all know we love smoothies in our home. I have always loved a good smoothie but it wasn’t until my son Ryan started preschool did I start blending them at home. My son Ryan started preschool about six years ago when he was two years old. We needed a quick and healthy breakfast option for him. Ryan had always loved going to get a smoothie after playing at the park. Making them at home was exciting for him and it soon turned into an fun activity for us to do together. I used to pull all our smoothie ingredients down to shelves in the fridge Ryan could reach. This way when Ryan woke up he could “help” me and grab all the things we needed to make our smoothie. He’d sit on the counter and help me toss in the fruit and juice. We’d marvel at the blender as it whizzed, spinning round and round. The two of us would enjoy our smoothie breakfast as we’d get dressed and make lunches. It was the perfect breakfast and morning activity to do with my son. I wrote about our favorite kinds of smoothies here from years ago here.
When I look at my mornings now, things look very similar. My daughter Mila, much like her big brother, adores a morning smoothie and we love making them together too. We’ve shared Mila’s go-to smoothie on Instagram before and so many of you have made it! We are so proud to have partnered with Dole Packaged Foods to share our most favorite smoothie combination. You can take what we do here and adapt it to fit your family. Smoothies in general are a great way to get nutrients into yourself and especially your little ones. Fruit combinations are really tasty and mask the flavor of veggies quite well. Our favorite vegetable to toss into our smoothies are carrots and spinach. Carrots have a nice sweet taste and spinach is pretty mild so you can’t really taste it much. I think what I love best of all is the peace of mind smoothies give me. I love starting the day with a smoothie and having Mila drink it up. We blend a hearty handful of spinach and great Dole frozen fruits with fresh Dole juices and almond milk. I also love adding a couple of super foods like chia seeds and bee pollen to give the smoothies an added nutritional boost. Mila starts her day with a great amount of fruits and vegetables so when she is at school I feel confident she is nourished and energized.
Using the Dole frozen fruits has been a real game changer. The Dole frozen fruits come in many different fruit combinations, we love their frozen pineapple and mango and their strawberries, peaches and bananas! These two allow us to have a bunch of fruit flavor combinations in just two bags. I also love having the Dole 100% pineapple juice in my refrigerator. I shared this frozen treat over the Summer and we’ve taken to making it quite often for dessert! You can find that recipe here. We also add the pineapple juice into our smoothies. The sweet and tart flavor from the pineapple balances the sweet fruit and hides the spinach the best! We always add a splash of unsweetened original almond milk to make the smoothies a bit creamy. Plus almond milk adds protein and calcium. (You can always add regular milk too) I love adding chia seeds to our smoothies for added fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and protein. We also add a bit of bee pollen for an immune boost. You can Google chia seeds and bee pollen for more information and further details on their nutritional value. To be honest, my mom has been using these two things ever since we were little. She’d add it to our oatmeal and it became such an everyday thing. When I became a mom myself I just followed her lead. :) The last reason why I love making smoothies so much has nothing to do with their nutritional value, but everything to do with their memory inducing qualities. Plus the moments I get when making them with my daughter in the morning before she is off to school. Smoothies for me make me remember my mornings with my son and revel in those memories. They also offer some quality time with my daughter. A lot of time when Mila and I are blending up our smoothies I can feel Ryan all around us. I always hunt for ways I can feel both my kids at the same time, it doesn’t happen often but when it does it feels nearly unexplainable. It is the best way to start the day. I know parents are always searching for easy things to cut time and get to where they are going quicker. Which I completely understand! To make smoothie making fast we use the Dole frozen fruit and keep the blender washed and ready for the mornings. We also use travel cups often so we can drink our smoothies on the go if need be. Smoothies take minutes to blend up and it goes faster if your kids don’t help out. Though I’d recommend you bring in your little ones at least once or twice a week into the kitchen to help you. I can’t stress enough how important these morning memories are for both you and them. Taking the extra ten minutes to blend up a smoothie together in the morning will make you and your kids connect and have the best day!
Mila’s Green Smoothie
What You Need - 1/4 cup Dole 100% Pineapple Juice, 1/4 unsweetened original almond milk, 1/2 cup Dole Frozen Strawberries, Peaches and Bananas (OR Dole Frozen Pineapple and Mango) 1 hearty handful of spinach, 1/2 teaspoon bee pollen, 1 tsp chia seeds.
What You Do - First add in your liquids. Second add in your frozen fruits, spinach, chia seeds and bee pollen. Blend up the ingredients until smooth. If your smoothie is having a hard time blending up then add in a bit more liquid. If your smoothie is looking thin then add in more frozen fruit to make it more thick. You can customize your smoothie to fit your family’s own taste buds. Try adding frozen berries, chopped carrots or frozen cauliflower. Get creative! A tip though, I’d always stick to using frozen fruit to give your smoothie the best texture when blended!
Photos by Lily Ro Photography