This light and creamy celery and pineapple smoothie gives you four servings of fruits and vegetables with a splash of protein and just the right amount of sweetness and tang. (Skip to recipe.)
When we were growing up we were never allowed snacks between meals. It was unheard of. If my four sisters or I complained that we were hungry, my mom just informed us of how much time it was until the next meal, so we knew how long we had to deal with our growling stomachs. We ran back out to play.
And if we called out from our beds that we couldn't sleep because we were hungry - she brought us a celery stick to munch on. She believed it wasn't good for us to go to bed with full stomachs, and she was right. We ate three full healthy meals each day, rarely snacked, and had a whole lot of energy. None of us were overweight. There were in fact few overweight children in our whole school and farming community.
It's a different story now when I look around the classrooms I teach in. Every class has a handful of overweight children, even in the lower grades. It makes me sad to think of the struggles those children will have as the years go on. When they start out in kindergarten or grade one being already heavier than they should be for optimal health, their problems only get bigger as their size increases. It becomes a vicious circle of low energy, lack of physical activity, and poor nutrition. These kids only have enough energy to sit in front of their electronic devices. Because they don't engage in physical play for extended hours each day, they don't get the practice it requires to improve their coordination and motor skills either. Then when they do have to play, like in phys-ed class, they have trouble with the basic skills (like running, skipping, or ball throwing), causing them to dislike the activities, and look for ways to avoid doing them - further promoting the cycle of inactivity and weight struggles.
I feel so bad for these kids. It's not their fault they will have to deal with weight issues for the rest of their lives. They're much too young at five and six years old to be in charge of making health and wellness decisions for themselves. It's the parents' responsibility to teach their children about good health: about getting enough exercise, about choosing healthy foods, and about getting proper sleep.
Which brings me back to celery - before I went off on a tangent. A tangy celery and pineapple smoothie is a great choice for a breakfast drink or a healthy after school snack - because I realize that going without snacks is not always going to work - and filling your belly with a healthy option is better than reaching for junk food.
I've always loved the juicy crunch of celery. The deep trench in each rib is the perfect vehicle to slather with cream cheese, or cheddar cheese, or peanut butter. I love slicing and sauteing celery in butter for an elegant side dish. And what would a veggie platter be without the crunchy addition of celery sticks or a salad without a few pale green celery crescents? This mild and crisp/juicy vegetable is loaded with health benefits. It contains minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and zinc and provides vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E, and K. It's a good source of fiber and its high water content makes celery useful for hydration.
In this refreshing smoothie, celery dances with the tropical tang of sweet pineapple. A touch of yogurt adds creaminess and a dollop of honey pulls the two flavours together. So if you're gonna snack, make it something light and healthy.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: You can buy frozen pineapple chunks in most large supermarkets, or freeze your own. Just cut a sweet ripe pineapple into chunks, lay them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and freeze until solid. Then pop the frozen chunks into a zip top bag and store in the freezer for up to three months.
Celery Pineapple Smoothie
- 2 cups (230gms) celery chunks, about 3 long stalks (12-14 inches/30-35cm each)
- 2 cups (250gms) frozen pineapple chunks
- ¾ cup (180ml) plain yogurt
- ¾ cup (180ml) water
- 1 - 1½ tablespoons honey
Cut the celery into about 1 inch (2.5cm) chunks. Place celery, pineapple, yogurt, water, and 1 tablespoon honey into a blender canister.
Blend until smooth. Taste and add the remaining ½ tablespoon honey if desired.
Makes 3½ cups - 2 large smoothies, each containing four servings of fruits and vegetables.
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