FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — The smoothie craze has officially reached Gilles-Sweet Elementary School in Fairview Park.
“I had been making them in a small blender at the beginning of the year, seeing how the kids would like them and adding different things, like spinach and berries,” Fairview Park City Schools Food Service Coordinator Diana Hill said.
The breakfast smoothie offering really ramped up in November when the district received a grant from the American Dairy Association Mideast for a new $1,200 industrial immersion blender.
“It’s a high-powered, industrial stick blender that breaks up things that are frozen and blends pretty well,” Hill said. “These can make between 44 to 48 smoothies in a batch. We usually go through all of them for breakfast.
“They’re served with a graham cracker, so students get their meat alternative, their fruits in there and then we give a grain. They can get a milk if they want. We’re trying to do smoothies once a week on Tuesdays.”
As part of the grant, the Fairview Park elementary school agreed to become a pilot kitchen in developing ADA-approved smoothie recipes.
Students every week are able to choose from smoothies such as the Holly Jolly Berry with blueberries, grape juice and strawberry yogurt, as well as the Pink Flamingo containing strawberries, mango and vanilla yogurt.
“The next one I’m going to do is a cocoa one that has bananas, chocolate milk and yogurt,” Hill said.
So far, the smoothies have been a big hit with the students.
Second-grader Amber-Joy Okikiolu said, “I love tasting the fruity goodness as soon as I take a big gulp.”
Fifth-grader Avery Schneider added: “I love the flavors. It’s such a filling option for our breakfast.”
Next up for Hill is taking the immersion blender for smoothie offerings to the middle and high school buildings.
“We’ll probably start that in February,” Hill said.
“I feel like it gives the kids another option,” she said of offering smoothies for breakfast. “Also, it has all of the ingredients in there that they need, with the Vitamin D, the fruit and the grain.
“We do a lot of food that the kids are used to getting, like burrito boxes, which kind of reminds them of Chipotle where they can pick and choose. It’s the same thing with smoothies. They’re used to going with their families or friends and getting smoothies either at the mall or outside.”
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