Guest Writer: How to get kids to drink healthy smoothies

This post was contributed with permission by Caitlin Smith. She welcomes your feedback at CaitlinSmith1117 at gmail.com.

How to Get Kids to Drink Healthy Smoothies

If you’ve ever read your kids the book Green Eggs and Ham you know how much resistance can go into eating something green. Yet there are many ways you can get your kids to love green, healthy smoothies, helping them get their vitamins and grow up strong. Here are some tips on selling the healthy stuff to kids.

  • Call it something fun. Kids will eat just about anything if it appears to be cool, gross or fun in some way and the green color of these healthy smoothies can work well with this. Try naming your smoothies after your child’s favorite cartoons or making them sound silly.
  • Fine-tune them. If there are particular things you know your kids like or hate tailor your smoothies to meet their discerning needs. This doesn’t mean reducing the nutritional content, as sometimes just making them “slushier” will be enough to sell the idea on your kids.
  • Sneak the good stuff in. Many kids won’t instantly be in love with the idea of smoothies. The trick here can be to sneak in the good stuff in at first and slowly build up the level as your kids adjust to eating healthy.
  • Use kid-friendly containers. Crazy straws, fun glasses and even cup-clinging toys can make getting a smoothie so much fun that kids forget it’s good for them.
  • Add a good amount of fruit. For many kids, the sweetness of the fruit will mask any of the veggies and greens they may not find as favorable.   Plus, if you pick the right fruits they can add loads of vitamins as well.
  • Make it a treat. Even if you want your kids to drink smoothies pretty regularly, making them a healthy form of dessert can improve your chances of getting your kids to beg to drink them.
  • Drink them yourself. Leading by example is a great philosophy to follow and if you want to influence your kids to drink green smoothies what better way than showing them how much you enjoy them yourself?

There are lots of ways to get your kids with you on the healthy bandwagon, just have a little patience and be inventive and you’ll soon make green smoothies a family affair.

 

being a CONSCIOUS plant eater

Yesterday, wow, I sort of mindlessly posted on my Facebook page (find me as Robyn Openshaw-Pay or GreenSmoothieGirl) a group called “No More Blood On My Plate.”

Wow.   The response that followed could only be described as a war.   I didn’t even participate in the discussion. (The whole conversation was just NOT. MY. STYLE.   But let’s just say that between those who did, it was . . . heated.)   This leads me to repeat something I learned in my 20’s, as I started trying to share my nutrition philosophies with some of my in-laws.   The point isn’t that they were my in-laws; the point is that I was sharing information they didn’t ask for.   Unsolicited ADVICE giving is probably how they saw it, regardless of whether I felt my motives were pure and didn’t feel I was telling anyone what to do–just sharing things I’d learned.   Wanted to help people I knew were suffering from modern degenerative diseases.

I learned something important.   NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, is more emotional for us than food.   Our opinions about food are sacred cows.   As deeply held as our religion and politics.   People come to the GreenSmoothieGirl.com program  only when they (a) were already primed for information about whole foods by their life experience, or (b) have come to a difficult or even desperate place, health-wise, and are frustrated by what’s available (read: NOT available) in modern medicine to help them.   As I’ve said in one of my books, when a student is ready, a teacher appears.

Anyway, I was dismayed at the Facebook war.   Fact is, as I am working to teach my 13-y.o. vegetarian daughter, we can’t bludgeon somebody to death about our dietary opinions and win a single convert.   (Some in the discussion were talking about “forcing” your food views on others, etc.)

Be a CONSCIOUS plant eater.   If you’re following 12 Steps to Whole Foods, you’re getting what you need.   If you’re a vegan eating Diet Coke and Twinkies, you’re in trouble.    Being gentle with the earth and avoiding killing animals is great, but let’s take it up a level and also eat what nourishes us best.   That’s what the Word of Wisdom is about.

some thoughts on young mothers

Thank you for all the emails, and I’m so sorry I haven’t had time to respond to them all.   I have returned rather somberly from my cousin’s funeral in Northern VA, where I grew up.   She got the stomach flu and we don’t know why she died.   We are all devastated by the loss of this young mother of three  young sons (plus another one who died), and watching them sobbing right before her casket was closed is very possibly the most tragic and devastating thing I have ever seen in my life.   Little boys’ hearts breaking and nothing we could do about it.

Shawnie  comes from a wonderful family, and her parents were my “other parents” growing up.   It was a sweet experience to celebrate the life of Shawnie Romney Tull and I am  privileged that  I knew her.

So I have been more reflective than ever on the power of a young mother, because very frankly that was a more tragic funeral than even the funerals of small children I have attended.   Because a young mother is SO DESPERATELY NEEDED.   Mothers change the world.   They control more than they realize.

It’s a conversation I have with my business partner over and over . . . we discuss the needs of everyone who reads GreenSmoothieGirl.com.   And we try to figure ways that everyone is included, because of course I care very much about the health of everyone–the single people, the teenagers, the elderly–I get emails from all these demographics and more.

But as I try to decide where to spend my time in content development, though, my soft spot is always for the  moms.   I very much want to support them.   If you are one, please take care of yourself first.   Remember that on the plane, you can’t put the oxygen mask on your kids until you have your own on.   Remember that you’re  not helping anyone by neglecting your own mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.   Remember that children learn more by example than anything else.

If you have young mothers in your life, not just this Sunday but today, too, give them a hug and tell them that the work they do is important.   That its rewards aren’t always obvious, but they are in fact extraordinary.   Give them  some extra  love.   A friend said to me yesterday, “Everyone should go to a funeral every six months.   That’s how you remember what’s important, and what kind of person you want to be.”

I totally agree.

How GreenSmoothieGirl.com was born–it’s a crazy story!

Welcome to GreenSmoothieGirl.com!

I put this site up in August, 2007 when I went on a reality show and ABC/Disney told me I’d better prepare for an onslaught of publicity and requests for information.

My family eats a rather unusual diet that has led to exceptionally good health.  People notice because we buck American trends, and it shows.

I frequently have people who know about our diet show up on my porch, call on my phone, and stop me in public.  People are sick, they are overweight, they lack the energy to get through the day . . . and they want help.  They have lots of questions.  My experience as a nutrition educator has led me to this conclusion: People want to eat right. They just don’t know how.

The reality television experience was just the impetus I needed to make information about my family’s lifestyle more accessible to more people.

Little did I know what GreenSmoothieGirl.com would become!

A year and a half later, I have a small group of people working on the site, have written two books, and we are getting 80,000+ visitors monthly.  I take my responsibility to teach people how and why to eat whole foods very seriously and am willing to do whatever it takes.

This newsletter is my first-line effort to educate a terrifyingly underinformed public about basic principles of good nutrition, as well as, very specifically, how to live a healthy lifestyle.

I’ve had a wide and varied career. But besides being a mom, I’ve never done anything I feel is as important as my role teaching, helping, and nurturing people towards good health.

Today, a woman stopped me at the grocery store.  She said, “I have been seeking answers to my health problems.  I saw your car and the web site burned into my mind.  I’ve spent three hours reading your site, so far, and trying some things you suggest, and I’m amazed how when I eat right, I don’t crave bad stuff!”

That’s the beautiful thing about whole foods.  They are what God put on the planet to nourish us.  When we eat them, we don’t need anything else.  We get off the roller coaster of craving bad food and succumbing to the temptation and then hating ourselves for our indulgences.  GreenSmoothieGirl.com is the summation of my 15 years of studying exactly how to implement good nutrition in a real American family’s diet.

When we eat whole foods instead of the Standard American Diet, we have the boundless energy to not just dream big, but also fulfill those dreams.

In future newsletters, I’m going to tell you a little more about my story and introduce you to some fun parts of my site.

Thanks for joining me—I’m thrilled to have you along.

To Your Health,

–Robyn Openshaw

 

Getting off meds on a GSG diet

The BEST kind of evangelizing there is, is the EXAMPLE kind.   Just do what you do, and people will ask–no lectures or persuasion needed.   I was just writing in my book about how Victoria Boutenko used to run people down in the Safeway and tell them they needed to eat a raw-food diet.   It’s a funny image.   That is Never. Gonna. Work.

But there is no shortage of miserable, ill people, and they are looking for a prophet–anyone who knows more than they do, anyone experiencing good health, anyone willing to help.   I know that a lot of you are helping others, many of you helping LOTS of others, and I want to hear about that in the questionnaire.   Because my new book challenges readers to not stop at just changing their own health, but at influencing others you care about (who in turn influence more people, and more people, and it never ends–it becomes quantum).   It’s RADICAL.   Not like the teenagers use the word, but like the original definition.

I got a call this morning from a man who has lost 80 lbs. and bought a Total Blender on GreenSmoothieGirl.com, asking the usual questions about how much to feed the kids, how long it keeps in the fridge, etc.   He said he got an email blast from his doctor, an M.D., saying,

“Here’s a link to something that will absolutely change your life, that has the power to help you lose 100 lbs. or more, with no other lifestyle change.   DO IT.”  

And what was that “something?”   It was a link to my goofy little 3-min. home-video green smoothie demo on YouTube that has now had 50,000 hits.   Green smoothies rock.

Kincade comes home from Scout camp, my best friend reminisces

I wrote last month about Emma coming home from girls’ camp.   Yesterday Kincade, who is one of my two children who is not always supportive of the “nutrition regime” around here, came home from camp.   Tonight at the dinner table this conversation ensued:

 

Emma:   “Mom, Cade thinks it’s stupid that we eat healthy.”

Cade (embarrassed):   “Emma!   I said that like a year ago!”

Me:   “I know that.   And I won’t lie: it hurts my feelings.   But I believe that someday, Cade’s going to thank me for the way I fed him.”

Cade:   “At Scout camp, where everybody was eating crap all the time, I really tried to eat healthy.   And even though it was better than everyone else, it was worse than how we eat at home.   I felt like crap the whole time.   Now that I’ve been home for a day eating like we usually do, I feel a lot better.”  

I’m in this for the long haul and I really believe that sticking it out, with our nutrition program that makes us different than most people, is so worth the sacrifices.   My best friend of almost 30 years (who makes “rainbow smoothies” for her own three children) wrote me today and said this:

“I thought the shout-out to  your mom  on your blog  on Mother’s Day was so cute.   Of course I remember when you were a teenager and you were so completely disparaging of those whole wheat cookies & carrot juice. . . but what teenager wouldn’t be?   And in the end it led you to where you are today.”

When they’re adults, our kids will have not only lots of nutritious plant food they’re used to and enjoy, and stronger bodies and minds—but they’ll also be smart enough to know why we did what we did, even if they don’t now.   I hope and believe they’ll be more likely to transfer that example to their own children.