In summer, there are a great deal of high-sugar, low-nutrient beverages out there vying for kids’ attention. Slurpees, fruit drinks and even those masquerading as heathier alternatives are often not as healthy as they sound.
When it comes to fruit, it’s always better to get the entire fruit than simply the juice, from which the fiber and most of the nutrients have been stripped away. Fortunately, the thick texture of a slushy drink whizzed in the blender with ice allows for whole fruit to be included – fiber, nutrients and all. If you have a blender you can keep your kids in healthy, all-natural smoothies, with ingredients entirely determined by you.
Adapted from the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers
1 lb. ripe Ontario plums, golden or blue, washed and pitted
2 Tbsp. honey, or to taste
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 tsp. lemon juice
zest of half a lemon
1 cup crushed ice (or 2 cups cubed ice)
splash of ginger ale, Champagne or prosecco
fresh mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)
In a blender add plums, honey, mint, lemon juice and zest and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add ice and blend until slushy. Distribute evenly between two glasses, top with a splash of ginger ale and a sprig of mint.
Makes 4 servings.
Traditionally served with spicy east Indian foods to cool their heat, a mango lassi makes a sweet and refreshing summer drink, with the added bonus of calcium from the yogurt. You may need more milk, depending on the thickness of the yogurt you use.
1 mango, peeled and pitted (find directions for cutting a mango here)
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup ice
1 Tbsp. honey, or to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until the ice is crushed and mixture is smooth, adding more milk if the mixture seems too thick. Serves 2.
Watermelon Green Tea Slush
This is a great drink to make when you need to serve a crowd – one watermelon can serve two dozen people! Since watermelons are mostly water they puree well, and make an incredibly refreshing, summery drink. (In fact, all you need to do is puree a watermelon, chill and serve it; or add the puree to lemonade.) To make the green tea, steep two tea bags in 8 cups of boiling water, let cool and then refrigerate until chilled. Adapted from watermelon.org.
8 cups watermelon cubes
8 cups unsweetened green tea, chilled
4 cups purple grape juice (optional)
honey, to taste (optional – you may need it if you omit the grape juice)
3 cups ice cubes or crushed ice
In a blender, pulse the watermelon cubes (you may have to do it in batches) until as smooth as you can get – add the remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth. Serves about 15.