School Smoothies Promote More Dairy to Students

Smoothies are everywhere! From fast food restaurants and coffee houses to gas stations and grocery stores, smoothies are everywhere, and students want to see their favorite restaurant foods in their cafeterias. Plus, they are focused on eating healthier while still wanting the convenience of on-the-go and schools are jumping on board!

We all know it can be challenging to get kids to eat their recommended daily servings of dairy, fruits and vegetables – but smoothies are a trendy solution that is student-friendly and dietitian-approved. Made with yogurt, fruit, milk and sometimes other healthful add-ins, these delicious items offer a variety of health benefits for growing kids.

Dairy foods – such as yogurt and milk – provide protein, vitamins, calcium and other minerals. In fact, dairy is the number one source of calcium in the American diet, which is a nutrient of public health concern and is important for building strong bones and teeth. Yogurt, specifically, is also rich in probiotics, which can improve gut health and benefit the immune system.

Fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease-fighting phytochemicals. By late adolescence, the average fruit and vegetable consumption is about half of the recommended range of intake.1 Research says that smoothies can increase the number of students eating that serving of fruit by 40%.2

Smoothies are also a great way to sneak dark leafy greens into students’ diets! Spinach provides the mildest flavor and is a good source of vitamin C; kale can also be a good option for more developed taste buds as it is an excellent source of vitamin A, K and C. Nut and seed butters can also add a boost of protein and healthy fats, helping sustain energy throughout the day.

Students are often in a hurry as they are either running late or rushing to get to the table to chat with friends. Smoothies offer a convenient and healthy grab-and-go option. Plus, you won’t find many youngsters who dislike smoothies!

Easy Preparation

Smoothies are easy to make – just weigh, dump and blend! Schools can make large quantities by using an immersion blender and a 5-gallon container. However, you can do the job at home, too, with a normal blender. Click here for 6 recipes to simplify smoothies at home.


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By Sara Rose Foreman, RDN

Sara Rose has worked with school districts, food service and more in the Colorado Departments of Education and of Public Health and Environment. She oversaw the development of USDA’s Child Nutrition Programs, administered the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program across 145 schools, and even taught nutrition in a small village in Ghana, Africa. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Sara Rose also holds a Bachelor of Science in culinary nutrition and an Associate of Science in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University in Denver.

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