Chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie pops

Over the past few years I’ve made strides to make better choices in the foods we eat. Not necessarily “diet” foods, but more along the lines of “real” foods. Sometimes I wish I were as dedicated as Lisa Leake of 100 days of real food, but I figure every time I choose a ‘better’ food is a positive move.

Frosty push-up pops from the freezer

Frosty push-up pops from the freezer

I’ve done quite a bit of reading and what this means to me is trying to use good-for-us ingredients and not include too much in the way of prepared foods.

Especially important to me is buying meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals from (often smaller) farms, usually local, which have documented their practice of open pasture grazing and no grain finishing. This goes for beef, chicken, pork, eggs, and dairy (milk, butter, cheese, yogurt) products. I try to research the exact farm and tend to buy from my CSA (you can go to Local Harvest to look for a CSA in your area) or a grocery store which knows the farm from which their products came (we are lucky to have a Whole Foods, an Earth Fare, and a Red Hill General Store in our area).

To me, while organic fruit and veggies can be a good choice, the choices on the meat and dairy side are even more important (and an “organic” label, while a step in the right direction is not enough information for me). However, I do not buy all my food, or even all my meat and dairy, like this. I have a lot going on and sometimes convenience wins out. Plus, we still eat out and I’m not picky enough to insist on ‘real’ food when I’m out. But, as much as I reasonably can, this is my plan for my family.

Buying prepared foods is another area in which I’ve tried to cut-back, replacing them with home-made items. In particular, dessert and snack foods, which are often filled with all kinds of crazy ingredients. (I especially try to avoid things that have chemical sweeteners – sucralose (Splenda (R)) or aspartame – or which say “reduced fat” or “fat free” as they are often the worst offenders in terms of odd-ball, crazy chemical ingredients.)

Oh my goodness – was that the most round-about way possible to get to these smoothie pops?! Sorry for my long-winded intro!

One of our favorite home-made treats in the summer is frozen pops. Last year I bought a four-pop mold and we’ve been using it for smoothie and juice pops. But today we’re trying out the silicone pop molds recommended on 100 days of real food. (Follow that link for more recipe ideas.) I’m hoping the squeeze-up style is easier for my kids (ages 2 and 4) to handle. Here’s the recipe we came up with for our first try:

chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie pops

After filling three of the pop molds – the kids got to drink the small amount of leftover chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie. No complaints there, either!

Ingredients:

1 c. yogurt (plain – I like Seven Star Farms – full fat)
2 ripe bananas (when mine get too ripe, I peel and freeze them for later use – that’s what I put in there this time)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp cocoa powder (not sweetened chocolate drink mix – cocoa powder for baking)
1 Tbsp honey (or maple syrup or whatever sugar you’d like – this is optional)
1/4 c. peanut butter
milk as needed to “loosen” up the mixture – I used about 1/2 c.

To make:

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix on high/blend setting, adding milk as needed.

Pour into the molds and cap. Place in the freezer. When frozen – eat! (Works well to take the pops out 5-15 minutes before you’re ready to eat them.

Home-made smoothie pop

Home-made smoothie pop – delicious and no mystery ingredients!

Our verdict: YUM! And the push-up style pops do seem to be slightly less messy for the kids.

Go check out 100 days of real food – it is a great resource/starting point for information about ‘real’ food, if that is something you’d like to learn more about.

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