Article

Celebrate the "moo" in your sMOOthie

March 05, 2018

It’s National School Breakfast Week and March is also National Nutrition Month, a perfect time to celebrate the importance of school breakfast and the role it plays in nourishing students.

Unfortunately, research shows that, on average, more than 30 percent of teens ages 14 to 18 skip breakfast. What’s an easy way for kids and teens to start their day with good nutrition? ― the smoothie.

Why smoothies? Smoothies can be prepared with three (or more) simple, nutrient-rich ingredients that are part of a healthy eating pattern:

  • Milk contains a powerful package of nine essential nutrients, including calcium, protein, phosphorus, vitamin D, vitamin A and several B vitamins (riboflavin, B12, pantothenic acid and niacin). Try low-fat, fat-free or lactose-free milk.
  • Yogurt contains protein, which can help build and repair muscle tissue. Try low-fat or fat-free yogurt or add Greek yogurt for a bit more protein. Yogurt is also a good or excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin B12 and zinc.
  • Fruit can contribute essential nutrients, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C and folate. Try bananas, berries, peaches or pineapple.

Plus, smoothies are easy to prepare. Smoothies can be made:

  • At home using a whisk or blender
  • Ahead of time and frozen
  • With a variety of fruits and vegetables
  • With a variety of milk and yogurt options

These components all come together in a delicious and nutritious drink that students can enjoy on the go. Click here for four simple smoothie recipes.

Not sure how to encourage students to add smoothies to their routine? One idea is to start a grab-and-go breakfast smoothie bar where students can stop by on their way to class.

During my time as School Nutrition Director for Bibb County School District in Georgia, we developed a Grab and Go (G&G) Smoothie program called “Five and Go,” which helped more kids eat breakfast. Our nutrition team placed G&G kiosks in high-traffic areas, so students could easily grab a smoothie on their way to class, meaning they arrived fueled up and ready to meet the challenges of the classroom – all positives for students and staff.

This little secret has become a “cool” breakfast option for students, who may not realize how nutrient-dense smoothies can be. Smoothies can taste delicious and be easy and quick to grab. To find out more about Breakfast in the Classroom and innovative meal solutions please visit BreakfastInTheClassroom.org, SchoolNutrition.org or Fuel Up to Play 60.