April has arrived, and life around us is stretching its legs. The air is buzzing with sleepy insects and birds waking up to a warm sun, and gardens are a riot of blossoms. Flocks of baby Canada geese peck at the grass with fluffiness to spare and adorable tiny honks. And with daylight hours stretching longer, kids, too, have the sudden urge to stretch their little legs and explore the new life materializing like magic around them.
That happy, innocent wonder is so precious. It inspires me to stop and (literally) smell the roses, and to make a mindful celebration of welcoming spring with my little ones. Our ritual starts with digging in the dirt to plant flowers and veggies, a process that captivates my 3-year-old, Theo. He checks every morning for tiny specks of green to peep out of the soil he waters diligently. Meanwhile, I bring him and his little brother along to eagerly haunt the farmer’s market waiting for the first stalks of asparagus and ruby rhubarb to appear.
Juicy local fruits are still a couple of months away, but with the bright new season, we are already craving freshness and colour. So together, we’ve been making these beautiful, vibrant smoothie bowls to usher in spring and satisfy our cravings until the farm-stand strawberries and apricots appear.
Our smoothies start with frozen berries, which are an excellent stand-in for fresh as they are picked and preserved at peak ripeness. Theo pours a container of Bio-K into the blender, and I top it up with milk. Bio-K is an excellent smoothie upgrade, and may be especially wise when the trees and flowers are exploding into bloom outside: A recent systematic review in the American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy showed probiotics to significantly improve quality of life and nasal symptoms for sufferers of allergies.1 Healthy bacteria could be very good news for anyone with spring sneezes.
After a thorough blending, the smoothie is divided among two bowls, and we go to work with toppings. I like a good mix of textures, flavours and nutritional add-ins – today it was chewy raw buckwheat (which is actually a fruit seed – its raw texture is like chopped walnuts), crunchy cacao nibs (which are bitter on their own, but with the sweetness of the smoothie they’re teensy chocolate-y treasures), and crisp freeze-dried berries. Just for fun, and to Theo’s delight, we sprinkled on some edible rose petals – since we were welcoming spring, they seemed fitting.
As the world wakes up, see if you can slow down and recapture the youthful magic of the season, if only by being fully present. Revel in a flower-perfumed breeze filling your lungs, the warmth of the spring sunshine on your face, or the graceful unfurling of a thousand new petals. Tiny miracles worthy of celebration, don’t you think?
How do you welcome spring with your kids?
Nutrition-boosting toppings with a variety of textures and flavours turn a smoothie into a satisfying meal.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2 people
Ingredients: For smoothie:
1 cup milk
1 3.5 oz/104 mL container Bio-K Plus (Original or Strawberry)
1 ½ frozen chopped bananas
1 cup frozen strawberries
Raw buckwheat groats
Dried edible rose petals
(Other suggestions, not pictured)
Chopped dried apricots, dates or figs
Toasted coconut flakes
Ground flax seeds
Sliced fresh fruit
Add all smoothie ingredients to a blender container in the order listed and process on high speed until very smooth. Pour equally into two bowls and add desired toppings.
Find the more unique toppings in bulk bins, natural food stores, the health food section of a regular grocery store, or online.
If using rose petals, be sure to use only food grade (find them in Middle Eastern markets, loose tea bins, or online).