As much as I enjoy eating healthy, local foods, I also love my junk food. If you don't believe me, ask my husband and he'll tell you about The Great Pop-Tart Debate of 1993. My position was that I didn't want too many pop-tarts around, because then I would eat them. Wouldn't you?
Because it's all about balance and finding ways to enjoy the unhealthy foods in moderation, simultaneously making sure to keep piling those fresh fruits and veggies onto your plate. I have often had class parties where there is a lovely balance of sweets, veggies and dip and fresh fruits. And most kids seem to take a balanced plate full of foods when given the opportunity.
The hardest part about having this kind of a party is that it falls on parents to send in the snacks. Times are tight and unfortunately, sending fresh produce in to school for a party is often more expensive than many families can manage. Which is why our holiday party in December was integrated with our U.S. Geography unit and we cooked our entire feast in the classroom.
Today I wanted to sponsor a class party again, but was also working with the lovely reality of a morning field trip to the Flynn Theater in Burlington. So whatever we made had to be a quick project.
Enter the smoothie. Toss fruit, yogurt and a splash of sweetener in a blender and you've got a quick, yummy, healthy treat.
Yesterday we made yogurt, which we also did in the fall. This time I heated the milk up at lunch time and did most of the mixing myself. At science time we reviewed the process for making yogurt and made the connection to chemistry: the bacteria in the yogurt starter consume sugars in the milk and create a chemical reaction. We briefly touched on the fact that yeast is also a living organism that creates chemical change in food products, in contrast to the baking powder that can quickly leaven baked products.
Today we used the yogurt, along with leftover milk, bananas, frozen berries, and leftover caramel sauce to make made-to-order smoothies. I called over two kids at a time to choose their ingredients while the rest of the class watched a Valentine's Day edition of Cupcake Wars. No one complained that we weren't eating piles upon piles of sugar, and most kids rated the smoothies 3 or 4 out of 5.
I sent them home with all the little candies that come with the pre-fab valentines (which I can't stand, but that's a different issue). Balance. A healthy snack at school and some sweets to take home at the end of the day. Mission accomplished.