For just about the first decade of raising kids, I had a wonderful relationship with 100-calorie snack packs. Or, really, any portable food.
Who wouldn’t adore pre-packaged energy for hypoglycemic, grumpy toddlers and kids?
The right snack in those bright, little packages (Oreos come to mind), could bribe kids into their car seats, halt temper tantrums, or stave off hangry whiny sessions.
Just the right size for small fists, and filled with cheesy, buttery Ritz Bitz or Nilla wafers, 100-calorie snack packs have fueled our family for the past 9+ years.
But then I got sick and the doctors said it might help to eat more real food than all the chemical-laden stuff we were eating. Sorry, 100-calorie snack packs. They were talking about you.
I started reading about nutrition and started studying the labels on food. Unfortunately for me and my love affair with gluten and exotically-flavored corn syrup, the news was not good.
Seriously, the news could not have been worse. My relationship with junk food stretched back so much further than just my parenting years. How could all these foods I loved suddenly be off-limits?
More importantly, what in the world was I supposed to eat now?
Much more importantly, what was I supposed to feed my kids, who loved portable snack foods with a devotion of kids who have only really eaten 100-calorie packs as snacks?
With this kind of history, you can understand how handing them a nice banana and calling it a treat was going to take some getting used to (read: headaches for all of us). I needed convenient, kid-fun food that was also healthy.
Over the past year, we’ve solved this dilemma with some cheap, simple additions to our kitchen, one large expensive addition to our kitchen, and a steady stream of colorful, ripe fruit.
First, the large and expensive addition: a Vitamix.
I’m sure you’ve read the hype, or if you visit Costco with any regularity, you’ve seen the live demonstration, where the Vitamix evangelists grind up whole strawberries and pronounce it a snack. They puree oranges with all that white gunk that you usually peel off. They throw frozen bananas into the powerful Vitamix blades. And spinach. Because spinach doesn’t taste like spinach when you mix it with all this other stuff.
This is not just hype, this is our breakfasts nowadays. You can throw any food into one of these babies and it’ll produce a drinkable meal that would make anyone wonder what an ice chunk could possibly be. Yeah, it’s expensive. But after being disappointed by the Magic Bullet, the Ninja, and several Oster blenders, I’m here to tell you the Vitamix is where it is at.
So, if you’re following along at home, the news is that we’re drinking a lot of meals. But with six drinkers, washing the Vitamix can become a pain. Especially for a group who likes their smoothies at breakfast, after-school snack time, and dinner. And, really, they’re drinking all those fresh oranges and bananas, so why complain about the clean-up?
Because the clean-up is a pain, that’s why.
I found some old mason jars holding gummy bears (not kidding about the former love affair with junk food) in the pantry and used them as smoothie holders. Now I was only making one batch of smoothies for breakfast, and saving the leftovers in the mason jars for after-school snacks and dinner drinks. The beauty of the mason jars was the air-tight lids. Prior to serving, I only had to shake them to remix all the delicious fruits and yogurt goodness together.
Still, with six drinkers, several times a day, I was still washing lots of smoothie-encrusted cups. Which is when we made the investment in these mason jelly jars.
This development in our quest for the perfect kid snack is the part you’ll want to tell Pintrest about. The jelly jars are ready-to-go kid snacks. Four jelly jars full of smoothie in the fridge are as good as money in the bank around here. After school, I shake them up, take off the lids, and hand out the ready-to-go kid-sized cups.
What they don’t finish, I just put back in the fridge.
But the kids usually do finish these because they love the smoothies, they love having their own cute little glasses, which are the perfect size for a treat.
Actually, those little jelly jars are just about 100-calories each.
Which, like I think I mentioned, I really love.

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