Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lunch Box Smoothies

Lunch Box Smoothies

If it weren’t for smoothies….I don’t know how we would have survived the first months after my son was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease. I think he had a smoothie for breakfast everyday for 6 months! Thankfully I have learned a LOT since then and have more gluten-free recipes in my arsenal. :-)

Smoothies for breakfast continue to be a favorite however. Just not every day. But I never really thought about them for lunch (or dinner for that matter) because, well, that would just be impractical! Making a smoothie in the morning to send with my kids to school for lunch…that’s just bonkers!

Obviously I was not thinking outside the “lunch” box like Shaina at Food For My Family was! She began FREEZING smoothies to put in her kids’ lunch boxes. Brilliant. Not only do you have a delicious treat to eat that’s good for you, you have also eliminated the need for a separate freezer pack to keep the lunch cold. It’s built in to the smoothie! :-)

I loved this idea so much I immediately went to the freezer to see what I had on hand in the way of smoothie ingredients. I was in luck!!!

 

lunch box smoothies

I had 1/2 a bag of frozen strawberries, a couple of frozen bananas (I toss bananas that are on the verge of “unfreshness” into a plastic zip baggie that then goes in the freezer), and a BIG bag of frozen peaches from last falls’s peach jam-making project. (I bought WAY too many peaches at the time!) I’d been looking for a way to use these up before I buy MORE peaches very soon. (We simply MUST have Peach Freezer Jam in the deep freeze throughout the winter or all hell breaks loose! lol)

So I decided to blend up a big batch of Peach-Banana-Strawberry Smoothies! I don’t really have a “recipe” per se for my smoothies….but if forced to write it down (or type it up!) it goes something like this:

  • 1 cup peaches (frozen, canned, fresh…whatever)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana (again, frozen or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup milk (sometimes I substitute O.J.)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla or strawberry yogurt (if I have it on hand, if not, I skip it)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Optional: 1 – 2 packets of Stevia (I only use this if the fruit isn’t very sweet)

 

lunch box smoothies

 

BLEND!

 

lunch box smoothies

 

lunch box smoothies

I think after all was said and done I almost DOUBLED the recipe above. I ended up with a BIG batch of smoothies that I then put into these handy 8 ounce freezer jars. I ended up with 6 smoothies in all.

 

lunch box smoothies

And here they are after spending some time in the deep freeze. All ready to do double-duty as a delicious lunch box treat AND as a built-in freezer pack to keep things nice and cold.

 

lunch box smoothies

lunch box smoothies

Mmmm…mmm…mmm.…I am tempted to go grab one right now! It’s actually kind of nice to know you have a smoothie-at-the-ready when you have hankerin’ for one….even if you’re NOT packing a lunch to work or school.  A smoothie treat anytime!

(I might just have to take a lunch to the park today!)   :-)

 

 


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47 thoughts on “Lunch Box Smoothies

  1. melissa

    this sounds great, but i heard that milk doesnt freeze well. also, for those who are allergic to honey, like i am, switch out the honey for agave nectar, which is a natural sweetener from cactus plants, which is also good for those with diabetes.

    Reply
    1. andi

      Agave nectar is second only to white sugar as the worst sweetener to use if you re diabetic. Coconut nectar, however, has a very low glycemic index…great for diabetics. Agave nectar is “natural,” but it is highly refined.

      Reply
    2. Rachel

      Milk has always frozen oddly for me. It’s like the water in the milk freezes and the non-water doesn’t, so it’s a slushy kind of affair. I don’t really like it to drink this way, but in something else like a smoothie it would probably be fine. And when it melts, it’s regular milk again. No ill effects from the freezing in my experience.

      However, I don’t really like milk in my smoothies . I usually just use water in mine, but like Jillee said, orange juice would work fine. You can even get away with using the pulpy orange juice since you’re blending it with real fruit. I would imagine most any juice would work, but the flavor grape or cranberry might alter the flavor of the fruit you use.

      Reply
  2. Cindy C

    I am going to try this for the lunch I pack for work! I usually use greek yogurt in my smooties, so well see how the freezing/thawing for lunch works… but, if you think about it, IceCream has dairy in it, and it freezes ok :D

    Reply
  3. Susan H

    Melissa ppl freeze gallons of milk all the time….they just have to make sure it THOROUGHLY thaws in the fridge and shake it up once it is b/c the cream will seperate. If you try to drink it w/o the thorough thawing all your drinking is the cream.

    Reply
  4. Anna

    Jillee,
    I found your blog through Pintrest and have been following you for a few months now! You are so creative! I love the smoothie idea. I have to start packing my husband lunches and I’m sure he will love these. Where did you get the “freezer jars”?
    Thanks for all the great ideas.

    Reply
      1. Stacy

        You could use glass mason jars, pint size for little hands…those freeze really well if you do not put the fluid to the tippy top…and then you don’t have your smoothies in plastic. Make sure it doesn’t contain BPAs…

        Thank you for the suggestion of doing smoothies for lunch!!! I love the idea of not bothering with ice packs! YAH! :)

        Reply
  5. Judy

    Thanks for the great idea! I’d love to try this for myself. I’m not one to sit down and eat strawberries or a peach on their own, but mixed up in a ‘premade’ smoothie might do the trick for me.

    Reply
  6. Patsy

    sounds delish!
    @Anna ~ they sell freezer jars at Wal-mart or K-mart. not sure of price (it has been a couple of years since I bought them)

    thank you for the site!

    Reply
  7. April

    What a great idea!! I think it would also be great for road trip snacks. Freeze them the night before, and by the time snack time comes around (usually 10:00 am) the smoothies would be melted enough to eat but not too melted.

    Thanks! ~ April

    Reply
  8. Sarah Mc

    Melissa, milk freezes very well. Let it thaw slowly in the fridge, say, overnight. No problems. Especially for fat-free. Our local mommie group stalks the dairy aisles of different stores and we text clearance goods’ locations. We stock up and freeze to stretch our grocery $ which is pretty crucial to most of us being stay-with-our-kids moms ( we don’t stay at home much. That’s boring). We are okay with crumbly frozen cheese since its a salad topping mostly and separated sour cream is fine for baking and ranch dip. Our vow is that we will never pay more than $1.99 per gallon again! Those fancy creamers? Make a simple syrup to pour in a glass jar with a dash of flavoring or cocoa and you are both undercover frugal and swankily decanting…uh…well, mine is a Mason jar so maybe that last bit should be revised. Except we ARE in the South.

    Reply
    1. Karen

      Sarah, Any chance your mommie group has a blog with all of your money saving ideas? Would love to know more!

      I love this idea of frozen smoothies in kids’ lunches, but I don’t think glass is a great idea for my son. Is there a safe plastic that could be used for this?

      Reply
  9. Terri

    I have been using smoothies for lunch as a way to get more good veggies in my diet. I have found you can add carrots, any sweet peppers, etc. and they don’t change the taste at all. In mine I add kale or spinach. The kale gives it a crunch and you have to chew a bit, for that reason I wouldn’t use it for kids. The kale and the spinach also don’t change the taste.

    When I first started using smoothies for vegetable add-ins, I looked up the Top Ten Green Foods. Top of the list: Spinach! Then, in order, Broccoli (haven’t tried that yet), Kale, Dark Green Lettuce, Artichoke (okay maybe not in a smoothie!), Brussel Sprouts (ditto), Avocado (interesting idea), Green Peppers and Kiwi.

    I’ve put just about any fruit like you do. I’ve also done apples, especially when they’ve started getting over-done. I used windfall peaches and nectarines from our trees.

    Yummy, yummy!

    Reply
      1. Margaret Potter

        I use avocado with fruit in smoothies all the time. It thickens it a fair amount – almost like pudding. If you haven’t tried it, I would start with a quarter of a ripe avocado then move up to your liking. I find the riper the better – they just taste creamy to me. The slightly unripe ones can taste too green. And I like green :-)

        Reply
        1. Carol T

          The list did say ‘green foods’ rather than ‘green veggies’, so I think they can get away with putting kiwi fruit on it! (Have you ever tried the yellow kiwis though? Yummy!).

          Love the idea of putting avocados in smoothies – that’s going to happen here this weekend!

          Reply
  10. Becky B

    I am going to try this!! But I read in the article that you make freezer jam, can we get the instructions for this.
    I have always wanted to make it but never heard how. Love your blog, helps me get through the day. Thanks;}

    Reply
  11. Carissa

    Great idea! I’ve also seen these ice pop molds with lids that look like they would work great too. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0036B9KHO

    I love smoothies so this will be great when I’m on the go.
    My favorite recipe is:(I usually wing it too, so I’m just guessing)
    “Avocalada”
    1 avocado
    1 handful spinach
    1 banana
    1 cup pineapple
    1/2 cup coconut milk
    1/2 cup almond milk

    Reply
    1. Carol T

      Ooh, I’ve got some of those on order after reading another blog where the writer uses them to put frozen yoghurts and smoothies into her kids’ lunch boxes. I *LOVE* the look of your recipe – sounds delish!

      Reply
  12. Jaime

    I have been doing this for kids. I use 32 0z. vanilla yogurt, a big bag of great value frozen smoothie fruit, and a can of madarin oranges. I don’t use any sweetener. Every Sunday I make up a batch of 20 for my 4 munchkin’s lunches and stick them in the freezer. In the morning I stick them in their lunch box along with a straw and they are thawed by lunch! The kids love them and they are so healthy!

    P.S. I also use the ball 80z. Jars. I think I have a bajillion. Yep. That’s a word.

    Reply
    1. Jackie

      do you ever have a problem with them spelling into the lunchbag once thawed, this happened to my daughter…..I was so excited when I saw this I went out and bought the containers and made smoothies but the very first time the speelage happened so I haven’t tried again.

      Reply
  13. Amanda Tempel

    Such a great idea, and it just looks absolutely delicious! One thing I always hate is that my smoothies aren’t as hard or thick as I like (They always seem to water down) somehow, I had never even though of freezing them after.

    Reply
  14. Karina

    I never add sweetner just whatever fruit I have on hand. Sometimes I’ll use a bit of almond extract or orange juice concentrate. Nearly anything is great in smoothie form. Putting frozen banana makes it extra good if consuming right away.

    Reply
  15. Martha

    Love the lunch box smoothie idea. A trick I use for bananas on the verge of “unfreshness”. I cut them up into bite size pieces and put them into the freezer bag also. When the bag is full (gallon size) I heat 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream over medium low heat until hot and add 1 cup chocolate chips until melted. I line a baking sheet that will fit into my freezer with waxed paper. Dip the banana chunks into the chocolate mixture and lay on the baking sheet. Let freeze and them dump them back into the freezer bag. Yummy!

    Reply
  16. HEATHER

    I just bought the handy freezer jars today. I am so going to do this for my daughter’s lunch. She isn’t a big breakfast eater, but I think she would LUV to find a smoothie in her lunch….like a lil hidden surprise. ThanX Jillee!! I luv luv your blog…my next project is your Mom’s Eng. muffin bread!

    Reply
  17. Karen

    I just happened to find the freezer jars today at Target. They are plastic, but BPA-free. I had assumed that since they were “jars” they had to be glass — and couldn’t see sending glass in my son’s lunch. He drinks smoothies with breakfast and eats hardly any lunch (ADHD and very picky) — so will give this a try! Has anyone tried this in an insulated lunch bag? Does it thaw enough by lunch-time?

    Reply
  18. jd wolfe

    i, too, make a smoothie almost every day! those containers look really cool but the reviews on amazon.com are AWFUL. do you like them? i’d love to be able to make a batch of smoothies ahead of time and store in the freezer.
    jd in st louis

    Reply
  19. chandra

    I tried this but it was very thin… i ended up ouring them into ice trays and popsicle molds and freezing them that way. The kids loved it, but i would have prefferdd the correct consistency. I used milk, strawberry yogurt, peaches and Mandarjn oranges. No honey on hand so skipped that.

    Reply
  20. L Stone

    Hey Jillee
    Did you know you can use a wide mouth mason jar on your cuisinart mixer
    for mixing smaller things?
    I just made your smoothie recipe but cut the ingredients in half to make one smoothie for my son using
    a wide mouth quart size mason jar attached to my Breville Mixer
    It was great!

    Thanks for your blog!

    Lois (California girl of 40 years transplanted to Colorado 3 months ago)

    Reply
  21. Meg

    I really love this idea and wanted it to work for me for me because I’m always running late in the mornings and usually skip breakfast or put off making breakfast for myself when I’m at home since I take care of the kids first and never get around to fixing something for myself. Anywho…this was the answer to my problems or so I thought. I make my smoothies with frozen spinach to kick up the nutritional factor. I made a double batch yesterday morning and froze half. Unfortunately frozen spinach doesn’t like to be blended and then refrozen, It’s very, very bitter. So, just a word of warning to anyone else who likes making green smoothies. They don’t re-freeze well! I’m going to have to figure out another solution. This is a great idea if you’re just using fruit and yogurt though!

    Reply
  22. Ms. Bedelia

    I’m a grad student who has class right after yoga this semester. This will be a great way to get my usual post-workout smoothie without having to buy one! Thanks a bundle!

    Reply
  23. Back to Work YAYA

    I am going to make up a batch of these and use my vacuum sealer to make individual pops like the GoGurt ones they sell. That way I will not have the issue of leaks or spills and they can be eaten frozen or thawed~ Thanks for the great idea!

    Reply
    1. Dani

      I can make little “gogurt” pops with a vacuum sealer? Where have I been and why have I not in vested in one of these? Do you have a favorite brand of sealer? Is there a tutorial somewhere? I’m intrigued:)

      My five kids are just a list of food allergies. I’m always looking for easy solutions for traveling with them. I love all things reusable, but sometimes it’s just not possible.

      Reply
  24. Hailie

    Omg! You are amazing my friend has Celiac disease and she has found many different foods that help her and it is so much healthier I have not seen anyone does with the same disease

    Reply

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