We all want our kids to choose healthy foods. Who hasn’t dreamed that their five-year-old would ask for broccoli, or turn down soda for water? Sometimes our dreams come true.
Other times, we order the corndog and pray they don’t turn into a radioactive comic book character because of it. Kid’s smoothies can be filled with the veggies and fruits that little ones aren’t keen on grabbing from their dinner plates.
By following our healthy smoothie recipes for your kids, you may find that they come to love smoothies. Best of all, on a really tough day, you can whip out a chocolate smoothie or “ice cream” for breakfast and become the world’s coolest parent.
Kids are resilient creatures. They can bounce back in a snap from things that would keep us adults down for a week.
When we think of kids as resilient, though, we shouldn’t equate that with slacking on nutrition and wellness habits.
They won’t be kids forever. Your child is building the foundation for a long, healthy life.
We know that fruits, vegetables, and dairy-free foods are important parts of a healthy diet, but do you know why?
Eating a wide range of produce can provide:
Mixing up the kinds of fruits and vegetables we eat keeps our body guessing, which means it is scarfing down every nutrient it can get.
Vitamins and minerals power important functions, from preventing illness to building strong bodies – and supplements can’t always give kids what they need. Meanwhile, antioxidants and fiber scrub the body clean, from our intestines to our cells.
And don’t forget flavor! The more kids learn to enjoy the flavors in real-food smoothies, the more attuned their palates can become to real food in general.
In fact – enjoying mealtime is a key preventative for picky eating in general! Smoothies meet a picky eater where she is, helping her to learn what good food can really taste like and how fun it can be.
Suggested reading: Worst food ingredients for your immune system
Ready to get blending? The best thing about smoothies is that you get to play with the ingredients. The pickiest of eaters might not want to see what goes into them right away, but other kids will enjoy making their own concoctions (with your help).
Protein: You can use a protein powder, or start off with a handful of nuts ground in a dry blender before the other ingredients are added. Almonds, cashews, chia seeds, walnuts, and pecans all work well in just about anything.
Calcium: Not only does calcium help the muscle to move and for healthy nerves, it also helps blood vessels move the blood through our bodies. Calcium is available in a variety of food ingredients, not just dairy products and milk.
Liquid: Heavier smoothies with a creamy texture are usually best with dairy or dairy substitutes such as milk, almond milk, coconut milk, yogurt (plain yogurt to Greek yogurt), and kefir. Lighter smoothies are excellent with juice, coconut water, or plain water.
Texture: Put the smooth in a smoothie with a creamy fruit. Banana, mango, avocado. For an extra special treat, freeze them first.
Flavor: Here’s where it gets fun! Fresh fruit, frozen fruits, veggies, and nuts are a given. Add vanilla extracts or cocoa powder to rich smoothies and almond extract to lighter ones.
Color: Any color is good, but you really want to go for green. Baby spinach is the mildest, followed by kale. I’ve found that bananas or frozen banana can completely mask a mild green. Your kids will settle into the smoothie craze and even start to enjoy green smoothies!
Mix-ins: You remember making sundaes as a kid – let your kids have some fun with your smoothies, too. Cacao nibs, chocolate chips, frozen wild blueberries, dried fruit, pomegranate…some sprinkles now and then can make for a delicious smoothie.
Suggested Reading: Best sources of Beta Glucan Supplements
Protein: 1-3 tbsp almond butter
Liquid: 1-2 cups almond or coconut milk as needed
Texture: 1 cup sliced frozen banana*
Flavor: 1 tsp vanilla
Color: Handful baby spinach
Mix-ins: Chocolate chips, cocoa powder, coconut flakes
Pro Tip: Slice bananas and spread them onto a wax-papered cookie sheet. Set in the freezer overnight. Remove, place in a container, and return to the freezer.
Now they won’t stick together, and you’ll always have frozen banana slices ready for treats.
Protein: Handful of pecans, ground in a blender.
Liquid: 1-2 cups water as needed, a splash of orange juice
Texture: 1 cup of frozen mango
Flavor: 1 cup of berries of choice
Color: Baby greens of choice
Mix-ins: Drop frozen blueberries into this one after it is blended for added texture and flavor.
Protein: Handful of almonds, ground in a blender
Liquid: 1-2 cups orange juice as needed, or coconut water and fresh oranges
Texture: 1 cup sliced frozen pineapple
Flavor: Frozen strawberries, optional: 1 tsp vanilla
Color: Greens of choice
Protein: Cashews ground in a blender, yogurt, or kid-dosed vanilla protein powder
Liquid: 1-2 cups milk of choice
Texture: 1/2 avocado, 1/2 cup sliced frozen banana
Flavor: Frozen mango, frozen green grapes, optional: 1 tsp vanilla
Color: Baby greens of choice
Protein: ¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
Liquid: 1 cup milk of choice
Texture: 1 banana, frozen
Flavor: 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
Mix-ins: Ice cubes (optional)
Protein: 1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
Liquid: 1⁄2 can water or coconut water
Texture: 1⁄2 overripe banana, peeled and sliced
Flavor: 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Mix-ins: 2 ice cubes
Protein: 2 tbsp porridge oats, 150ml natural yogurt
Liquid: 100ml milk
Texture: 2 apples, cored (we used Granny Smith)
Flavor: ½ lemon, juiced, 150g frozen raspberries
Protein: 1 cup strawberry yogurt
Liquid: 1 cup milk
Texture: 1 banana or other fruit
Mix-ins: 1/2 cup ice cubes
Protein: Carton of blueberry yogurt
Liquid: 1 Cup of milk
Texture: 1 Cup frozen or fresh blueberries, strawberries, or peaches
Mix-ins: ½ cup ice cubes
Protein: 1 Cup of strawberry yogurt
Texture: 5 to 6 strawberries
Liquid: 1 Cup of orange or apple juice
Protein: 1 carton of apple yogurt or plain yogurt
Liquid: 1 cup apple juice
Texture: 1 apple, cored and sliced
Mix-ins: 1/2 cup ice cubes
In addition to the smoothie recipes for kids, try to get creative with healthy food ingredients for your children. Here is a list of healthy ingredients you can use for kid’s snacks and kid’s meals:
Today more than 40% of Americans supplement with multivitamins and more than 50% use some sort of supplement on a daily basis.
In all, we spend a whopping $30 billion a year on supplements! But when it comes to kids, most multivitamins are a waste of money.
They are generally full of sugar, artificial flavorings, or color and are not balanced at all.
By regularly including a healthy smoothie in your kids’ menu, you can get plenty of vitamins and minerals in their diet. With antioxidants providing much of the color to deep-colored vegetables, going for the rainbow gets lots of phytonutrients into your kids, too.
The fruit provides energy-making carbohydrates and a protein source that helps to grow little bodies up strong.
While all these foods/smoothies are amazing - there are still some things like Beta Glucan that we need to supplement.
While foods like mushrooms and oats contain beta glucan, the body is not able to digest them in the same way unless they are highly purified. Only after the purification process are you able to get the Immune Boosting Benefits of Beta Glucan.
Beta glucan is a fiber found in some plants, bacteria, fungi, and yeast. Each source breaks down into a slightly different type of beta glucan, with arguably the most efficient type (beta-1,3d-glucan) coming from baker’s yeast. (1)
According to the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children who consumed Beta Glucan had fewer days missed of daycare due to Illness.
Dietary fibers have been strongly implicated in the prevention and treatment of various characteristics of the metabolic syndrome. Among soluble fibers, beta glucan is the most frequently consumed and is associated with reduced presence of insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and obesity. (2)
By helping the immune system to become more efficient, beta glucan has been shown to help kids maintain stable immune responses in the face of both physical and environmental stressors.
Read our comparison studies - Better Way Health Beta Glucan vs Douglas Laboratories®
While heavy physical activity and environmental pollutants often inhibit the immune system, beta glucan kept kids healthy and active, with immune response remaining stable and efficient.
They concluded that there were “strong effects of glucan supplementation on the overall health status of all children in this group.” (3, 4) The first line of defense for a healthy childhood is a healthy diet and lots of activity.
By powering your kids’ day with loads of fruits and veggies in a yummy smoothie, then supporting their growing bodies with beta glucan supplements, you can ditch the counter full of supplements and evenings full of picky eating dinner battles.
Maybe it is easy to raise whole foods kids, after all!
Our ACES Team is always there to help.