Homemade Fruit Pouches / Smoothies for School Lunches

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DIY Smoothie Pouches 2Are you tired of spending money on little squeezable fruit pouches for school lunches?

Those little pouches of squeezable fruit or smoothies are all the rage lately, but it’s hard to justify the expense.

Most have added sugar or other ingredients you might not want your kids to eat (like high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and artificial colors).

Lucky for us, you can now purchase reusable pouches! Finally! A way to make homemade fruit puree appealing again! Bonus: this is a great way to sneak some veggies into their smoothies!

My preschooler loves my smoothies so much, she chooses them for dessert! When the ice cream truck rolls around, she asks for a smoothie frozen in an ice pop mold instead.

I am happy to give her one since my smoothies are made with fruit, unsweetened yogurt or non-dairy milk, and vegetables. With my reusable pouches, I’m the best mom ever when I send a “dessert” smoothie to school with her lunch or for snack!

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Below is my recipe. Of course, you can fill the smoothie pouches with your favorite smoothie, apple sauce or puree. At the bottom, you’ll find links to all the pouches in this post.

Sneaky Strawberry-Banana Smoothies
Makes 8 servings (4 to 5 ounces each)

  • 2-2.5 cups Plain Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 bananas
  • 1-2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen) [2-3 cups fruit total]
  • 4 cups torn kale leaves, stems removed (or 2-3 cups fresh spinach leaves, lightly packed)
  • Juice from 1/2 lime or lemon (1 to 1.5 Tbsp)
  • Milk, juice, or water (optional)

you-select-the-ingredients

Toss everything into a blender and blend until well mixed. I get best results if I start with the kale (or spinach) and lime juice, then add in the fruits, and add the yogurt a dollop at a time until I’m happy with the consistency. Feel free to taste-test as you go to make sure it’s just right!

MOM tips: If you have browning bananas (or abandoned half-bananas!) cut them into chunks into a freezer bag and freeze until you need them for smoothies (or MOMables “Ice Cream” Sandwiches!)

Red (purple) cabbage or kale look more like berry bits in a smoothie, for those kids who refuse to eat green.

The citrus juice helps to reduce the “green” flavor from the kale or spinach. Orange juice works as well, and can add a little sweetness instead of using sweetened yogurt.

If you aren’t making your smoothies in advance and storing them in the fridge to chill, use frozen fruit. That way you don’t have to water them down with ice cubes. Or save the drained water used from boiling vegetables for dinner and freeze that in ice cube trays for some added nutrients in your smoothie ice!

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You can adjust the thickness by adding more Greek yogurt to make it thicker, or milk (or non-dairy equivalent,) no-sugar-added juice, or water to make it runnier, or use half regular yogurt and half Greek. The thicker smoothies are fairly easy to extrude by squeezing while sucking on the pouches, but if you’re using a cup or jar, they’re harder to suck through a straw. The pouches are also messier to fill with a thicker smoothie, since you need to do it with a spoon or pouch-filling device. It’s too thick for a funnel!

If you have pickier kids, you can start off using sweetened honey, vanilla, or strawberry flavored yogurt to make it sweeter and get your kids used to enjoying these, then slowly reduce the amount of sweetened and increase the plain over time. (Another option is to add more fruit. It should have all the sweetening you need!) Eventually you’ll have no sugar added, and your kids will still love them!

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You can freeze the smoothie pouches – they’ll act as their own ice pack, and should thaw by lunch! If you use a freezer jam jar, thaw in fridge overnight first and send with an ice pack. Or send frozen with a sturdy spoon for breaking up any still-frozen bits.

 

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Comments

  1. Jack says

    Hi,

    Love the frozen pouch idea, how long can i leave in the freezer for? do they last up to 6months/ 1 year?

    Also should preservatives be added to the pouch? how long does the child have to drink from the pouch?

    I take it you cant re freeze once out?

    Thanks jack

    • says

      Pouches can be frozen as is for up to 2-3 months. I don’t add anything to mine to preserve. I just freeze. Make sure you leave room for expansion as well. Once thawed it must be consumed.

  2. Chrystal says

    Hi — great article! Can you please tell me where you got the heart and star shaped plastic fruit-skewers? They look so pretty, and fun! Thank you!

    • says

      Hi! Thanks! I got them from a bake shop that sells cupcake toppers and such. They’re also available on Amazon – search for “pearlized cupcake picks” – they have hearts and stars and butterflies and some cute ones with phrases like “yum” and “so sweet.” They’re the ones with the longer looking picks, since you get some other ones with those search results.

    • says

      Oh! Also they’re available at allthingsforsale.com – I like them for stuff like bento picks, because instead of having to purchase a single style or set by the dozen, they group one or two of each from different sets together to give you a larger variety in one “lot.”

  3. says

    Thank you for including my product Squishy Snak Pak in this article. They really are great for children of all ages. I love that I can add some greens to my children’s smoothies and they don’t even know :)

    Thanks again,
    Michelle

  4. Leticia says

    Hi! I´m from Argentina. I want to tell you that I follow you since my kids have lunch at school, a few months ago, that´s when i found your page. I just love all your tips and recipes! they´re just GREAT! I´ve incorporated all of them!! thanks for sharing!!!! :) you´re amazing! Leticia

    • says

      Tracy, it depends on the brand. some are easier than others. When the kids get home from school and dump their lunch bag contents in the sink, I fill them with warm soapy water and let them soak. After dinner, when I’m cleaning up and emptying the sink-of-doom, I do a final rinse. they aren’t that hard. If you don’t wash within a day, the stuff dries and can cake-on. then… well, you can imagine. :)

    • says

      Depends on the brand, but the four shown here are all dishwasher-safe. I keep my old baby bottle brushes in a mug near the sink to swab them out if needed. I’m not exactly known for my speed at getting dishes rinsed and in the dishwasher! I kept that basket thing that is used to wash the bottle nipples and rings in the dishwasher, and put small things in them, like the pouch caps (and bento skewers, silicone cups, etc.)

  5. says

    Hi Momables!

    Thanks so much for featuring our Squooshi pouches in your article. What a great post!

    We love our pouches for smoothies and they are perfect to go from freezer to the lunchbox…glad you agree!

    We’ll have new designs coming out soon for kids of all ages. Please check back in with us for new designs!

    Thanks again.
    Shannon

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