How I Make My Lemonade Pink (and Encourage Better Snacks for the Kids)
Every spring, when Little League games begin, three little words strike terror into the hearts of health-conscious parents all over the country: post game snacks. When I hear the phrase, visions of neon colored sugar water and Costco valu-paks brimming with sodium and artificial colors fill my head.
I try to advocate balance as my son’s chief dietician. As my mom says, one bag of junk won’t ruin your body. As a result, I don’t forbid Thor from taking a bag of Doritos or a bottle of Gatorade but instead let him decide for himself. Fortunately, he usually politely declines knowing that healthier and tastier alternatives await at home (Greater Than coconut water and Tia tortilla chips are delicious natural alternatives to these chemically enhanced treats).
This year, however, is different. My husband, our team’s coach, and I paid for Purple Asparagus to sponsor the team. Forgoing the folksy tone, I’d adopted for past emails as snack mom, I drove straight to the heart of the matter. From my email:
“Some of you may have seen a recent article in the Trib suggesting that kids who play organized sports eat more junk food because of the treat culture pervasive in youth leagues. I’d like us not to be that team. To encourage that, I want to give a few guidelines.
- The post game nosh is a snack, not a treat. If our team track record persists, they’ll be plenty of time for those (both of the kid and adult variety) towards the end of the season – the White Sox like a good party. But after a game, the kids need something to replenish their energy, not send them into sugar shock.
- Please be conscious of allergy concerns. If any of your kids has a food allergy, please let me know. I know we all want our kids to be safe and will accommodate any food allergies.
- Let’s try to avoid foods with artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, and lots of loaded sugar and salt. I promise I won’t bring your kid kale chips if you don’t bring mine Cheetos.”
You know what? Thus far, we’ve had awesome snacks ranging from a banana and a bottle of water to homemade pumpkin whoopie pies.We’ve got a winning record not only on the field but also in the snack realm. Do I attribute this to my well-crafted email? I wouldn’t flatter myself. I think we lucked into a great group of parents. And, perhaps, sometimes folks just need a little encouragement to pass up the potato chips in favor of the apple chips.
Recently, I made my lemonade pink from a mushy blood orange I had around, but generally this time of year, I make it pink from our wonderful local strawberries.
For three years running, we’ve served Pink Lemonade as the beverage portion of my snack rotation, using strawberries to create the hue.
1/2 pint strawberries
3 lemons, approximately
2 tablespoons of sugar syrup
Hull the strawberries. Puree them in a blender or food processor. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a 4-cup measuring cup. Add enough lemon juice to the strawberry puree to make 1/3 cup of juice. Fill water into the cup to measure 3 cups total of liquid. Stir in sugar syrup. If the lemonade is too tart to your taste, add more sugar syrup gradually.