Saturday, October 8, 2011

Low Sugar + Math = Yummy Success!

This months educational article written by Stephanie Pittman combines important math concepts with healthy eating.

3 Cheers for 1 Smoothie
by Stephanie Pittman
There are few things I can just whip up in the kitchen. I envy those who can make a meal by grabbing at random pantry contents. Luckily I have found success in a few things, well two I can actually think of, that I can simply prepare by winging it. The first is lasagna, the other fruit smoothies. Let’s focus on the power and ease of yogurt and fruit smoothies. They seem to be all the rage in the dairy aisle and more importantly, kid friendly. However, I do get annoyed at how even those with the best ingredients taste overly sweet. Even more disappointing is reading the label, so much added sugar. Is it really necessary? These drinks have become so popular with my kids that sometimes I wonder if they really like my homemade version or just think I’m cool for making them. How do we do it at our house? We start with plain yogurt, use fresh fruits, because they are less messy than frozen when handled, and add in unsweetened applesauce to balance the yogurt’s tartness. Then mix all the beneficial protein and fruit nutrients in a blender. No cane sugar added, but believe me there is Math! For my preschoolers, while preparing, they count, figure which of two fruits has more or less and by how many. I have them pick two fruits and lay out a visual ratio. If they want more strawberry, that comes first, and I explain, “we’ll put in 7 strawberries for every two banana chunks.” The terms ‘for each’ and ‘for every’ are ratio vocabulary. Ratios have a huge role in everyday Math skills. Fractions, decimals and percents are all forms of ratios. So you can see how very far this family kitchen activity can go, which is well into middle school. So to avoid added sugar at your next snack, bring the family together and throw some fruit and yogurt in a blender.

Whatever ingredients you choose to use, don’t add sugar, add math instead!

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