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Even after making the zucchini casserole yesterday, we were left with extra zuchinis. Here’s what I threw in the blender today:

1 zucchini

7 ice cubes

1 banana

1 cup orange juice

1/2 avocado

It turned really yummy and the yield was 2-3 servings.

Next time, I will try this interesting smoothie.

What else can I do with zucchinis?

 

Today, my friends and I were discussing avocados. Specifically, avocado smoothies. The best part about putting avocado in a smoothie is the smooth texture it provides and the light flavor it gives out, making it possible to mix avocado with stronger-flavored foods. I believe, avocado can be substituted even for ice cream in any milk shake recipe! It can also be substituted for frozen yogurt or regular yogurt, because of its texture.

Avocado is a powerhouse of healthy nutrients. It is exceptionally high in  soluble fiber, which has the ability to bind to fat and excess cholesterol. One cup of avocado has about 23% of FDA’s RDV for folate, a nutrient important for heart health and for healthy pregnancy. Avocado also contains “oleic acid”, a monounsaturated fatty acid, which may help lower cholesterol. Avocado is a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Adequate intake of potassium can help protect against circulatory diseases, like high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke. Avocado is also a very concentrated dietary source of the carotenoid lutein. Addiitonally, it contains measurable amounts of other carotenoids and significant quantities of vitamin E.

Avocado Banana Strawberry Smoothie

2 servings:

Half a ripe avocado
1 frozen banana
5 strawberries
Splash of nut milk

Blend everything on high.

Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

1 avocado
2 bananas
1 cup orange juice
1 cup of blueberries
1/2 cup ice

Blend everything until smooth.

Avocado Colada

serves 2-3

1 avocado
1 1/2 cup fresh pineapple
stevia to taste
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
3 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp shredded coconut
2 ice cubes

Blend everything until smooth.


Avocado Cashew Smoothie

serves 2:

1 medium avocado

1 handful raw cashews

1/2 teaspoon stevia

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup water

6 ice cubes

Blend everything until smooth.

Chocolate Avocado Banana Smoothie

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup water

1 banana

1 avocado

1 tablespoon of raw cacao or carob

10 ice cubes

Stevia to taste

Blend everything until smooth.

 

Avocado Coffee Smoothie

Serves 2

1/2 cup brewed coffee, chilled

1/2 cup ice cubes

1 banana

1 avocado

Stevia to taste

Blend everything until smooth.

 

My eight months-old twin babies are eating real food. Not the stuff that comes from jars and costs 99 cents per 1/4 cup-size portion. I am not a pediatrician, I am a mother and a nutritionist, so take my advice accordingly, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to feed your children healthy, nutritious whole foods from the time they are about 6 months old.

 

Firstly, you need to change the way your family eats. I know, easier said than done. Keep in mind, whatever you eat is exactly what your kids are eventually  going to end up eating, so the occassional pizza or the French fries, or the “hidden” chocolate bar or a gallon of ice cream: they will find it and eat it, no matter how hard you are trying to never take them to a fast food restaurant or feed them a raw diet of carrots and broccoli.

So, the first step to the optimal baby nutrition is optimal family nutrition.

Grains, veggies, some organic meats, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds…. You know, the real stuff.  Not cheerios, pasta, bread pieces and weird baby snacks that cost $5 per handful. If you have an organic sweet potato lying around, think twice about buying the processed baby food jar full of sweet potatoes. First of all, one sweet potato yields about three-four jars of baby food. So, you are spending A LOT less. Second, you can make fresh food, instead of feeding your baby something canned, that could be three months old. Think of energy of that jarred food that’s eventually going to become your child’s thoughts. Would you personally eat all of your food from a jar? Than why do you think your baby likes it any more than you do?

If you fear bacteria in homemade food, use boiling water in cleaning any utensils that have to do with baby food. Rinse produce with boiling water, as well. People have fed their babies homemade food for generations and humanity is still here. Jarred food is a relatively new invention and we don’t have enough long-term studies to see its consequences on human development.

So far, my babies have tried: carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, broccoli, pears, butternut squash, cauliflower, cucumbers, avocado, quinoa and buckwheat. Some veggies have been  cooked and some were given raw, to preserve naturally present enzymes. When I cook grains for us, I always leave a bit for the babies. I don’t buy the “special” baby hot cereals, because it’s a waste of money. I don’t feed my babies the empty-calorie rice cereal. Some foods need to be cooked and mashed and some things (like bananas or avocado) only need a fork and three seconds of your time to be made into nutritious baby foods.

You don’t need a fancy food processor to mash up the baby foods: I have a 15$  small blender from my local pharmacy and it works just fine. I don’t spend a lot of time on ideas for baby dinners: I just take the foods we eat as a family and mash up a small portion of them for the babies.

My babies also snack on unprocessed foods. The Cheerio-eating babies are an interesting modern phenomenon: why give your child processed food that costs  a lot? Make buckwheat, put it on the tray in front of them and let them pick at it. Let them nibble on cucumber slices. Let them pick up and eat a banana. Let them pick up avocado slices. Blueberries work, too. A whole carrot or quartered apples are excellent for taking to restaurants, because they tend to occupy babies well, in addition to providing excellent nutrition. My children eat quartered apples daily from eight months old on. Giving your baby cooked pasta to pick at, is, essentially, giving your baby processed food. Try a chopped cooked carrot or some cooked broccoli florets, instead. Green peas are wonderful baby food, too.

There is an interesting method of giving your baby fresh whole foods as their first solids. It’s called Baby-Led Weaning.  I haven’t tried it, but heard many good things about it.  For example, giving your baby a cooked whole carrot, instead of a pureed one, to get them accustomed to table foods faster, is a baby-led weaning technique.

Another problem with commercially purchased purees is their texture. It is way too smooth. Babies generally don’t choke if there is a tiny bit of texture in their food. They do choke if you jam too much of it in their mouths. I am all for chopping fruits finely with a knife, instead of fruit purees, once the baby is past the first “intro to solids” page. Babies used to texture of raw foods, don’t cringe at salads later.

I am also for natural food combining. If you look at baby food jars at your local supermarket, everything is made to be sweet. Combos, such as green beans with apples are normal in jarred food world. Would you eat green beans with apples at your family’s table? Unlikely. Babies tend to do better as far as not becoming picky eaters, when they are introduced to non-sweet solids first. Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans : these foods are all great as first solids. Then, trying to stuff your baby full of banana would be a piece of cake.

Eventually, as your family gathers up for a healthy dinner, your baby will be a welcome participant, as he or she would have some of your mashed up grains, veggies, meats or casseroles. Your baby would be part of your family and not an alien, requiring a whole cupboard full of weird food that costs a lot.

 

This smoothie tastes like a rich , creamy dessert: it’s sweet and yummy. Even though it’s high in calories, it is also rich in protein, potassium, B-vitamins, fiber, calcium and iron. Next time your kid asks you for ice cream, give him/her this  smoothie instead. If they are asking for chocolate flavor, add 2 tbsp. of cocoa powder to the mix.

Almond Banana Smoothie

2 heaping tbsp of smooth almond butter

2 bananas

2 large strawberries ( or 1 tsp. of lemon juice – you need some sour flavor)

1/2 cup of almond milk

5-6 ice cubes

optional: 1 tbsp. of agave syrup

Blend everything on high until smooth.

This is an awesome breakfast smoothie. It also works well with those that don’t like kale. This smoothie is packed with protein, calcium, iron, and multiple vitamins. What a  great way to start your day!

For two servings:

2 frozen bananas

1 apple

6-7  ice cubes

3 tbsp of raw tahini
4 kale leaves
optional: agave or stevia to taste

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.

 

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