I’ve been drinking smoothies myself for a while now. I’ve probably averaged 4-6 smoothies per week for the last 5 years or so and I’m not sick of them yet! Once Tyson was starting to wean off breast milk, I started to incorporate smoothies as part of his diet – for so many reasons:
Smoothies are quick. Throw the ingredients into the magic bullet or blender, whiz, whiz, whiz and you’re done.
Smoothies are SO versatile and can be made light enough for a snack, or more nutrient dense as a complete meal.
I love the portability of a smoothie. I often make smoothies for Tyson and I in the morning with lots of ice, and then bring them on the road for a mid-morning snackaroo. I put Tyson’s smoothie in a sippy cup so I can easily pass it to him in the back seat when driving – and there are no crumbs to clean up afterwards.
Smoothies are extremely easy digest as all the food is already broken down, and their high protein and fibre content will keep kids full for a long time.
Smoothies are a great way to sneak in extra vitamins, nutrients and fibre into a child’s diet. I always include a handful of leafy greens or other veggies (cucumber, beets, carrots) into Tyson’s smoothie along with the usual fruit and milk (hence the name “green” smoothie), and I don’t stop there. You can also incorporate other supplements or super foods – lately I’ve added fish oil, chia, hemp or flax seeds or some spirulina. I emphasize the word extra here, because smoothies should not be the only way that your child is exposed to leafy greens and other veggies. They should be seeing them on a regular basis at meals throughout the day (even if they are not eating them – exposure if the key). The smoothies are just a bonus boost of nutrients for your child (and you!) as you really can’t get enough veggies in my opinion.
And finally, taste-wise smoothies are always a hit. For those of you who haven’t jumped on the green monster (a.k.a green smoothie) bandwagon, I promise, promise, promise that you can’t taste the greens. Okay, sometimes when I throw in beet greens I can taste the bitterness, but as long as you are using enough fruit, the taste of kale, spinach or romaine it is barely detectable. Kids will drink them right up.
Here is my basic green smoothie formula, which I modify based on what I feel like making and what I have in the fridge:
Green Smoothie Formula for Kids
1 cup of leafy greens (spinach, kale, romaine, swiss chard etc) or other veggies
1-2 cups of fruit* (frozen if possible)
1 cup liquid (milk, milk alternatives, water, coconut water or even yoghurt)
ice if required
- Hemp, chia, sunflower, flax seeds
- Fish oil, spirulina
- Raw oats (they add a surprising creaminess)
- Cinnamon, nutmeg or turmeric
- A scoop of nut butter, coconut oil or flax oil for some healthy fat
- Dates or a touch of honey for added sweetness
1. Put all ingredients into a magic bullet or high-speed blender and mix until well combined.
*I usually include at least 1/2 of a banana for the creaminess factor.
I will leave you with some tips for encouraging kids to drink green smoothies:
- Blend about 1/2 of the liquid with the greens/veggies first before adding in other ingredients. This helps to ensure well-blended greens.
- Start with less greens and gradually increase the amount as your child gets used to drinking smoothies.
- Make it fun – give the smoothies silly names like Green Monster, Witches Brew or Green Machine.
- Don’t make them green. Using a lot of berries or even beets will make the smoothie purple or red, which is less intimidating than green.
- Get your kids to help make their smoothie. Even though Tyson is pretty young, he loves to help with everything so he gets really excited about drinking a smoothie that he helped make (although this usually involves him shoving part of the banana into his mouth before it makes it into the blender)
- Serve the smoothie is a fun glass with a bendy or swirly straw and a paper umbrella, or put it in a bowl and serve it with a spoon.
- Lots of “cheers”-ing. We love a good round of cheers in our house. At every meal. Multiple times
- Drink smoothies yourself. If your kids see you doing it, they will see it as normal in no time.
And if you are looking to get creative, this site has some great green smoothie recipes to try.
Here’s to all kids jumping on the green smoothie bandwagon – CHEERS!
What is your favourite smoothie recipe?