“I want more ideas for things I can give my kid to drink! I’m always giving him milk, water, or juice.” This is what my friend Kellie said to me the other day when we were talking about the struggles that go along with raising and feeding kids. I thought about what she had said and decided to come up with an option for her that makes a great alternative drink option as well as a great healthy afternoon snack for your little ones. Enter, the Banana Soymilk Smoothie!
This smoothie takes three minutes to whip up, and will provide your growing children with the things they need to be healthy and active in a fun treat form.
(Note: There’s a discussion of the health benefits of the ingredients in this smoothie after the recipe, if you are interested!)
Banana Soymilk Smoothie
Makes 2 servings
Recipe Notes: If you want a thinner drink, omit the ice cubes.
handful of ice cubes
2 ripe bananas, peeled and broken into pieces
1 cup plain soymilk
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)
1. Put all the ingredients into a blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and enjoy!
Why are bananas, soymilk, honey, and flaxseed healthy ingredients to include in my child’s diet?
Bananas: Bananas are a great source of potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese.
Soymilk: Soymilk is a a great source of vitamin E. Soymilk has approximately the same amount of protein as cow’s milk, but unlike cow’s milk, it has little saturated fat and no cholesterol, and is safe for people with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy.
Honey: The mineral and vitamin content of honey depends on the type of flowers used for beekeeping, but it commonly contains vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Honey is higher in calories than sugar (honey has 64 calories per tablespoon, whereas sugar has only 45), however the carbohydrates in honey are much easier converted by the body into glucose, making it easy to digest, even for the most sensitive stomachs. In addition, it helps in maintaining blood sugar levels, and helps with muscle recovery after strenuous activity. Honey also has antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties which can help the digestive system, help you stay healthy, and fight disease.
Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are an excellent source of omega 3-fatty acids, dietary fiber, and manganese. They also contain folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.
That’s nice, but what why should I care that these ingredients contain things like dietary fiber and manganese?
Calcium: Helps in the formation of healthy bones and teeth, and can substantially reduce the risks of osteoporosis in old age. It also helps in maintaining a healthy body weight, helps protect the heart and nervous system, and helps protect again colon cancer.
Copper: Helps the body utilize iron, helps maintain bone and tissue health, helps the body produce the pigment melanin, helps maintain normal thyroid function, and preserves the cover that protects nerves (myelin sheath). One especially important consideration about copper is the fact that it is the third most prevalent mineral in the body, but cannot be produced within the body, so must be obtained from sources in the diet of an individual.
Dietary Fiber: Helps regulate bowel function, helps maintain normal cholesterol levels and normal blood sugar levels, and helps maintain a healthy body weight.
Iron: Instrumental in the formation of red blood cells and transports oxygen to cells. Iron assists in memory and the ability to concentrate, and can help in improving mood. It also helps in building resistance to infection, stress, and disease.
Manganese: Helps the body utilize some key nutrients like ascorbic acid, keeps bones strong and healthy, helps the body combine fatty acids and cholesterol and maintain normal blood sugar levels. Manganese also promotes healthy functioning of the thyroid gland and the health of nerves.
Magnesium: Aids in the body’s absorption of calcium, also plays a key role in bone and teeth formation and strength. Magnesium is also extremely important, because it helps stabilize heart rhythm and in preventing abnormal clotting in the blood in the heart. Magnesium also helps to maintain proper muscle relaxation.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Play a critical role in brain function and normal growth and development. They may help lower triglycerides (the main form of fat in food) and increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). They may act as an anticoagulant to prevent blood from clotting, and may protect against the body’s accumulation of a protein that is believed to be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Phosphorus: Plays a critical role in bone and teeth formation. It also enables proper digestion of riboflavin and niacin, helps in transmission of nerve impulses, helps the kidneys in effectively excreting wastes, forms the proteins that aid in reproduction, and helps stabilize energy.
Potassium: Helps regulate blood pressure, muscle contraction, and helps the body store energy for later use without converting it to fat. Many studies show these benefits help prevent heart attack and stroke.
Vitamin B6: This vitamin is responsible for maintaining the proper function of sixty different enzymes in the body, contributes to serotonin production in the brain and hemoglobin and cells within the immune system, and is involved in the process of breaking down carbohydrates, then processing them to be turned into energy.
Vitamin C: Another item that is not produced by the body, but which the body needs to maintain health. Vitamin C contributes to the production of collagen in the body, and is thus essential for the body in its ability to heal faster and better. Vitamin C also has antioxidant properties which protect cells and DNA from damage and mutation. These properties help prevent cataracts, as the vitamin C present in the lens of the eye protects it from damage due to exposure to sunlight. It also gives support to the immune system and helps prevent certain cancer-causing compounds from forming in the body. Studies show that Vitamin C reduces the risk of getting almost all types of cancer.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E contributes to a healthy circulatory system and is instrumental in proper blood clotting and also improves the healing process of wounds. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals present in the body that are responsible for causing tissue and cell damage. Free radicals are atoms or molecules that are extremely reactive and can cause rapid chain reactions that will destabilize other molecules and also generate more free radicals.