For the love of all things Chocolate

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Chocolate. It’s a plant. Don’t question it. It’s probably all the garbage that we add in to chocolate, like milk and sugar, that makes it so bad for us. Chocolate is a known and powerful antioxidant. I’m not terribly certain what that means but the media has led me to believe that antioxidants are good things. Actually I think it means it helps you clean up at the cellular level–but don’t quote me on that.

I’ve been eating a lot of smoothies. My typical smoothie recipe is a cup of non-dairy milk (usually unsweetened almond or almond-coconut blend), a banana, a cup to two cups of greens (kale, swiss chard, spinach, beat tops, whatever looks good at the store), and an assortment of other fruits based on what’s in the fruit bowl. My favorites are fresh pineapple, strawberries, blueberries (fresh or frozen berries work fine), peaches, pears… pretty much any ripe fruit works. Occasionally I add a tablespoon of chia seed or 1/4 cup of rolled oats if I have a big morning and need to be extra full–like on days I am exercising in the morning or know that I won’t get a break for lunch until late. I’d say probably at least 6 out of 7 days of the week, that’s my breakfast.

We’ve been transitioning our kids off of cow’s milk. It has been a process. There has been much rumbling amongst the natives. But eventually they accepted it. Easy for me to write this now, parenting is always simpler in hindsight when you’re successful than while you’re in the trenches. My oldest likes to have smoothies–they used to have lots of regular milk and yogurt in them, now he has them with almond milk and fresh fruit (no greens, we haven’t crossed that bridge yet). Today my middle child asked for a smoothie, which is rare for him to request. The key? He wanted to use the blender himself. Whatever works. Letting kids feel ownership–whether it is for their diet, their homework, their exercise, their household jobs, their activities–is always a good thing.

Being that I was half asleep wanted him to “own” his smoothie, I told him to go for it. Much to my surprise, he grabbed the carton of dark chocolate almond milk (one of my ways of bribing the kids to drink almond milk). My kids have compared this to the taste of liquid Hershey with Almonds bars. Mmmm. Into the blender went a cup of dark chocolate almond milk and one banana. I suggested he also add a tablespoon or so of peanut butter (we buy the grind it yourself stuff, so it’s just straight peanuts). He wanted to add a pear. An odd choice but it worked. Everything salsa-ed about in the blender, then in went a handful of ice. The result was very good. And pretty darn healthy–healthy protein and fats, no cholesterol, as well as two full pieces of fruit. And it tastes like a milk shake. Can’t beat that. This made enough for two servings–he will probably have his leftovers for a snack a little later.
Chocolate
How do you get your kids to eat healthier foods?

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