Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Routine of the Breakfast Smoothies

One of the things I have to do as an allergy/FPIES mom is make sure my kids get the vitamins they aren't getting from food.  I have found that hiding things in smoothies is usually the best way to get kids to ingest things they don't like.  Here's how we do it.

Punky's GI doctor prescribed her these calcium tablets.  They have no taste, which is fortunate for adults that might want to chew them, but they are not especially appetizing for a two year-old, even one who occasionally munches on a piece of sidewalk chalk.  

So I have to crush them.  This is incredibly time-consuming.  I've tried a few different methods and settled on using the back of a spoon to smack them inside a cupcake wrapper.  The inside of the tablet turns to powder, but there's a "skin" I have to pick off by hand.  Because it's such a pain, I crush two morning's worth of tablets at once.  

Then I make the smoothie "base" from bananas, frozen peaches, and calcium/vitamin D-fortified orange juice.

I'm going to be making two servings for each kid, so I split the batch in half.

To Punky's batch, in the blender, I add all the crushed calcium and two day's worth of Poly-Vi-Sol, which is the multivitamin her pediatrician wants us to give her.  This stuff tastes and smells horrible, so I'm glad we've finally found a strong enough smoothie concoction to cover the taste.  

Pictured is the regular Poly-Vi-Sol, but what we're really supposed to be using is Poly-Vi-Sol+Iron.  I accidentally got wrong one from the store last time.  

Punky loves green smoothies, so we add spinach.  Super!  More calcium!  I blend it all together and separate the smoothies into two cups.  The alphabet cup is for drinking right away and the disposable Zoo Pals cup goes in the freezer for the next day.  This means on a school day, when we're short on time, I can pull out a frozen cup and nuke it until it's soft enough to eat with a spoon or straw.  And when we go on vacation, to Chicago, say, I can mix and freeze eight or so smoothies to bring along in a cooler.  

While Punky drinks her green smoothie, I dump the other half of the base mixture into the blender with some frozen berries for Boo's pink smoothie.

His gets separated into two cups as well.  We've found a chewable children's vitamin that he likes, so he'll take that by itself.  

I wash out everything immediately--pureed fruit turns into cement if not rinsed out while still wet--and the kids run to the mirror to check out their "smoothie mustaches".  Usually Punky has it on her forehead and dribbled down her front as well.  

I asked our allergist (if you're not keeping track, that's the third doctor whose input has gone into our smoothies) if we should throw in some kind of protein.  Cows milk, soy milk, coconut milk and all nut milks are out, but I was wondering if we should consider hemp milk or powder.  His answer was that if the kids are getting protein from meat, fish, beans, etc. at other meals (they are) to not complicate things.  Yet, I feel like a little protein in the morning is a good idea.  The kids only want smoothies and toast for breakfast, and are usually hungry again an hour later.

This system isn't perfect.  I don't measure everything out exactly, so one day Punky might be getting a tiny bit more of her vitamins than others.  Also, we're not up to the full amount of calcium that the GI doctor wants us to give her.  She is supposed to be taking a total of six tablets, spread out over the entire day.  I've tried mixing the calcium powder into juices, mashed potatoes, and applesauce, and she knows immediately that something is wrong.  But she loves eating other calcium-rich foods like fish, black beans, broccoli, and spinach, so I think she's getting a lot of what she needs that way.

This is just another way food allergies have made a little more work for us, but we've come up with a solution we're all happy with.

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