Are 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 because 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 a snack!
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 ½ 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 ½ lime or lemon (1 to 1 ½ tablespoons)
- Milk, juice, or water (optional)
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!
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 thinner, 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 because 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 yogurt 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!
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 the fridge overnight first and send with an ice pack. Or send frozen with a sturdy spoon for breaking up any still-frozen bits.