A refreshing and nourishing fruit smoothie might be a perfect way to cool down at home. Smoothies are a magical food as they are both delicious and nutritious. They are also an excellent way to increase our fruit and veggie intake to ensure we are getting lots of vitamins and minerals in our diets, and are a great way to use leftover produce like ripe bananas. There is one downfall to the fruit-only smoothie, and it’s this: although they are initially quite filling, sometimes they leave us feeling hungry and unable to focus again within a few hours. Let’s dive into why this happens, and look at ways we can make sure our smoothies are satiating brain-power enhancers.

As previously mentioned, fruit is full of essential vitamins and minerals that are hard to find in other food groups. They are definitely part of a healthy diet and should be eaten daily. With that said, when fruit or any added sugars are eaten and digested, our bodies break it down into carbohydrates (or glucose, or sugar). Although carbohydrates sometimes get a bad reputation, they are essential for growing children as they are the body’s first source of energy. In saying that, moderation is key and it is easy to overdo the amount of natural sugars in a fruit smoothie. An excess of glucose, even in natural sugars from fruit, causes blood sugar levels to rapidly rise, and then quickly drop – think of a roller coaster. How does this manifest in a child’s behaviour? Think hyperactivity and potential behavioural problems initially, followed by the need for a nap or snacks soon after. When the body is experiencing a spike in blood sugar, studies report an increase in brain fog and an inability to concentrate, as well as behavioural problems. When the crash happens, fatigue sets in and it becomes challenging to stay on task.

So, how can we ensure our kiddos get the delicious breakfast smoothies they love while making sure they don’t fall victim to the blood sugar roller coaster and become hungry again right away? The answer is simple: mix up the fruit with sources of healthy fats, add sources of protein, and increase the fibre in your smoothies. Healthy fats, protein, and fibre all slow down digestion, meaning blood sugar levels rise and fall slower and with more stability. This ultimately allows students to maintain focus and stay full for much longer than when given a fruit only smoothie. So what can you add to your smoothies for blood sugar balance?

Delicious and affordable additions to your smoothie that contain both healthy fats and protein (a 2 for 1 special) include foods like 2% milk, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and seeds (chia, flaxseeds, any seed), Nuts and unsweetened nut butters can also do the job, and unsweetened seed butters (try sunflower or pumpkin seed butter) are great for nut-free alternatives. For an extra bit of fibre, spinach or any green leafy vegetable, the chia and flax seeds mentioned above, and even whole grain oats can be an easy addition. Try adding any of the above to your next summer smoothie and you will be sure to both see and feel the difference of a well-balanced breakfast smoothie.

Blueberry Smoothie

Serves 2 – Scale up or down as needed

Preparation time: 5 minutes

 Ingredients:

  •     1.5 cups milk (any type, can be dairy free milk or 2% milk for extra healthy fats and protein)
  •     1.5 cups frozen blueberries
  •     1 large extra ripe banana (riper bananas make sweeter smoothies. Bananas can also be frozen!)
  •     2 large handfuls of greens (spinach, baby kale, romaine – whatever!)
  •     1 tbsp chia seeds
  •     1 tbsp unsweetened nut or seed butter
  •     1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Instructions:

Combine in a blender until smooth. Serve and enjoy!

Green Smoothie

Serves 2 – Scale up or down as needed

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk (any type, can be plant based or dairy)
  • 5 cups frozen mangos
  • 1 large extra ripe banana
  • 2 large handfuls of greens (spinach kale- whatever!)
  • ½ cup of oats
  • ½ avocado
  • A few mint leaves

Instructions

In a blender, combine the oats and the milk. Let soak for 10 minutes.

Add all other ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve and enjoy!

by LAU À LA BOUFFE
BSc Nutrition // ITHQ DVS CUISINE

A classic cookie with a colourful, flavourful twist.

SERVINGS
20 cookies

TIME
Preparation: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Baking: 12 minutes per sheet
Total: Approximately 2 hours

DIFFICULTY
Intermediate

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ c. (100 g) salted butter*
  • ½ c. (100 g) white sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ c. + 1 tbsp (110 g) bread flour
  • 2½ tbsp (15 g) matcha powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
  • ¾ c. (105 g) almond flour (ground almonds)
  • 2 tsp (8 g) baking powder

* If you use unsalted butter, add ¼ tsp (1 mL) of salt to the recipe in step 1.

PREPARATION

There’s no need to preheat the oven right away. Your cookie dough will have to be refrigerated for an hour before baking.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.
  2. Gradually beat in the egg yolks, one after the other.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth, homogeneous dough.
  4. With a rolling pin, roll out your dough between two sheets of parchment paper to flatten (it should be about 0.5” or 1.5 cm thick when you’re done). Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).
  6. Cut out your shortbread with a cookie cutter and place on a baking sheet. Repeat the process until the dough is used up.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven.

NUTRITION

  • 81 calories
  • 5 g fat
  • 8 g carbohydrates (0 g fibre)
  • 1 g protein

TIPS FROM LAU

If your cookies are crumbly and melt in your mouth, they’re a success. That is how shortbread should be. This recipe can also be used for pie crust or as a base for your favourite squares. The possibilities abound!

by LAU À LA BOUFFE
BSc Nutrition // ITHQ DVS CUISINE

A tasty dessert perfect for fall, this loaf is loaded with fibre and sweetened with maple syrup.

YIELD
1 loaf (10 slices)

TIME
Preparation: 10–15 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 minutes
Total: Approximately 1 hour

DIFFICULTY
Easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 grated apples*
  • ⅓ c. (75 mL) maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ c. (125 mL) neutral oil (canola, etc.)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • 2 c. (500 mL) whole wheat flour
  • 1½ tbsp (15 ml) baking powder
  • ½ tsp (2.5 mL) baking soda
  • ½ tsp (2.5 mL) salt
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
  • ½ tsp (2.5 mL) ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp (1.25 mL) nutmeg
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) chopped walnuts**

*You can also garnish the top of the loaf with additional apple slices before baking.
**Optional if nut allergies are a concern.

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat the oven to 350oF (180oC) and prepare a loaf pan.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients (apples, syrup, eggs, oil and vanilla) in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices) to the wet, mixing until just combined.
  4. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  5. Sprinkle the nuts over the batter.
  6. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes.
  7. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

NUTRITION

Nutrition information for one serving.

  • 234 calories
  • 14 g fat
  • 22 g carbohydrate (4 g fibre)
  • 5 g protein

TIPS FROM LAU

For a fancier twist, whip up a little maple glaze: Mix 1 c. icing sugar with 1 tbsp maple syrup and 2 tsp milk of choice. Drizzle over the top of the cooled loaf.