SMOOTHIE RECIPES FOR KIDS
We’ve created some of the best smoothie recipes for kids using fruits, veggies, and “Superfoods” in these delicious blended drinks. When I think of smoothies; fruits, greens, seeds, nut butters, and other healthy ingredients are top of my mind. Consider adding a few of these ingredients for a breakfast, lunch, or a healthy snack smoothie.
This Fruit & Veggie Smoothie is what we made from several of the ingredients below.
WHAT IS A SMOOTHIE?
WIKIPEDIA – The healthfulness of a smoothie depends on its ingredients and their proportions. … As products typically using raw fruits or vegetables, smoothies include dietary fiber (e.g. pulp, also skin and seeds) and so are thicker than fruit juice, often with a consistency similar to a milkshake.
DICTIONARY – a thick, smooth drink of fresh fruit pureed with milk, yogurt, or ice cream.
BUSY LITTLE CHEFS – A healthy and delicious thick blended drink of whole fresh and frozen fruit, and vegetables, a yogurt or liquid (milk, dairy alternatives, water, coconut water, or fruit juice), and other ingredients added to give the smoothie a higher nutritional value.
HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT SMOOTHIE
In my opinion, to make a perfect smoothie you will need a balance of protein, healthy fats, fruits and veggies, along with the perfect creamy consistency. With so many great choices on the market, the varieties are endless.
- nuts, nut butter, or seeds
- sweetener if needed
When I create smoothie recipes for the kids, below are some of the ingredients I consider and use most often.
WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES OF PROTEIN FOR SMOOTHIES?
Yogurt, Nuts & Seeds (Healthy Fats)
Yogurt – A great source of protein, calcium, vitamins, and probiotics. I always consider Greek yogurt, or other yogurts in the smoothies for the kids, unless they have diet restrictions.
Yogurt is a great way to get those extra nutrients into their daily diets. Usually, I opt for plain yogurt to eliminate the extra sugar grams. I have more control over the amount of sugar that goes into the smoothies using plain yogurt.
Nuts – Nuts are packed with healthy nutrients, and great options to add to smoothies. There’s a couple things to consider when using nuts. Many kids have allergies, so definitely not an option.
Moreover, you may want to consider raw vs roasted. There are some health risks to eating raw almonds and other varieties, but the risks are low. You may want to research this more to see if you’re comfortable using them in smoothies for your kids.
Nut Butters – I like using whole nuts, but if you like the nuts already broken down and creamy then nut butters are the way to go. If you use the whole nuts, then sometimes there’s small pieces left over after blending that don’t always get broken down. If using the nut butters, this will eliminate those pesky little pieces.
- almond butter
- cashew butter
- peanut butter
Pumpkin Seeds – I feel pumpkin seeds got left behind when the super health craze took over with chia and hemp seeds. Don’t underestimate the power of the pumpkin seeds. They go great blended up in the smoothies, but also to snack on.
They’re loaded with health benefits as well, like Omega 3’s and 6, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and much more. But, the best part for me is the high levels of Tryptophan, which assists in producing serotonin that gets converted into melatonin to aid in better sleep.
Pumpkin seeds are my dream seeds for my kids and I! Who doesn’t want better sleep?
Chia Seeds – The “superfood” of modern times. Funny, but Chia seeds are the same seeds that grew on the popular ceramic pets, and they go way back to the 1980’s. Lol!
I love using these most of all in smoothies, but I also use them in banana chia seed pudding, and in our yummy frozen banana bites recipe. Since they’re packed with lots of important nutrients, I feel good about adding them to the kids diet.
Chia seeds are a complete protein containing Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium, and minerals.
Hemp Seeds – I like to rotate hulled hemp seeds with the other seeds in our smoothies. They have a nutty flavor, and blend up smoothly. These, like the Chia seeds are a complete protein, with omega-3’s, 6’s & 9’s, fiber, and a long list of vitamins and minerals.
I have to admit I was a bit confused by the name of this product when I first discovered it. But, with a little research I quickly found that it is safe for the kids to eat. Mot importantly, it’s healthy for them too.
Flax Seeds – I can remember flax seeds were around before chia and hemp seeds became the rage. They’re a great source of soluble fiber, and packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which benefits eye and brain health.
These little seeds have hard shells, a nutty flavor, and great healthy benefits. Not only do I use flax seed in smoothie recipes, but I use ground flax seed in other recipes like our Banana Breakfast Muffins. I’m sneaky with the greens, and any other nutritional boost I can add into my kids diet.
Wheat Germ – This little wheat kernel is a powerhouse for its size. It’s has a high fiber content, and loaded with protein, iron, and B vitamins such as folate. I love adding this to our Breakfast Smoothie for an extra boost to start our day.
WHAT KIND OF OATS DO YOU USE IN SMOOTHIES?
Oats can get a little complicated, so I’m going to do my best to simplify this for the love of smoothies.
It’s a whole grain food, and commonly eaten for breakfast as oatmeal. They will add thickness, and extra nutritional value to your smoothies. It’s high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
So all oats start off as oat groats, which is the whole unbroken grains. Before the groats are processed into any other variety of oat, they’re usually roasted at a very low temperature. What makes the oats different is how much the oat groat has been processed. This results in various textures and cooking times.
Since there are different types of oats, which is best to use in your smoothie?
Rolled Oats, Old-Fashioned or Whole Oats – They’re flat, and slightly oval shaped and still retain a lot of texture. Since it has been processed, the cooking time has been cut down from the original groat. In this form it will be harder to break down in the blender, and result in a heavier texture.
Instant Oatmeal – They are pre-cooked, dried, and then rolled and pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats. They also have less texture as rolled oats. This type has the quickest cooking time. Since this has less texture and thinner, it will be easier to blend in the smoothie.
Any if these can be cooked first, but should be cooled before adding it into your smoothie. If you don’t want to have the extra cooking step, then grinding up the oats to make a finer texture is a great way to go. Do this by grinding the oats in a blender, or you can use a coffee grinder.
When I grind up the oats, I will usually fill a jar and store in the refrigerator. This way I will have some ready to go when I make the smoothies.
WHAT VEGGIES CAN YOU PUT IN SMOOTHIES?
Vegetables also come in a long list of options you can add to smoothies. We will list some of the most popular choices that we use, and other great choices as well. Since I use kale and spinach the most, I will give a few more details on these.
Kale – Kale is a “Superfood” in the veggie world. It’s one of the the most nutrient dense foods, and loaded with healthy ingredients our bodies need. It is considered a member of the cruciferous family with other vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussel sprouts.
A single cup of raw kale (about 67 grams or 2.4 ounces), contains vitamin A, C, K, B1,2,3,6, manganese, iron, phosphorus, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, protein, and fiber.
Fun fact: One cup of raw kale contains even more vitamin C than a whole orange. Yay!!
Using kale can turn your smoothies very green. I would suggest adding s few leaves at a time, then gradually work up to the very green smoothies. This will give the kids a chance to get use to the color, and taste.
Spinach – This veggie is similar to kale in that it is a “Superfood,”, and packed with a long list of health benefits and loaded with vitamins, and minerals. It’s a dark leafy green vegetable that is important for skin, hair, and bone health. It also provide protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals.
I’m guilty of using the old Popeye tail of you’ll get big strong muscles (biceps) if you eat your spinach. It worked for my older boy, but my younger one wasn’t having it. Persistence paid off, and now they both eat spinach. Lucky mommy!
Other veggies great for smoothies are zucchini, romaine lettuce, cauliflower, and carrots. Try our Tropical Green Smoothie with romaine lettuce. Super delicious!
WHAT IS THE BEST LIQUID TO USE IN SMOOTHIES?
The best liquid for a smoothie is whatever you like. Adding a liquid can be anything from a dairy product to no-dairy milk alternatives, coconut water, flavored waters, or even plain water. Using any of these can either improve the nutritional content, or enhance the flavor of your smoothie.
I have a friend who uses water in her children’s smoothies to cut calories, and any extra sugar grams. Since smoothies are so flavorful with fruit, water doesn’t change the flavor. Add a little at a time until you reach desired consistency.
Milk – They really pushed milk in 1980’s ad campaigns like this one “Milk it does a body good“. Too funny, and corny to us now. Lol! There’s definitely mixed views on the subject of drinking milk. I use dairy products like cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt, among other dairy products, but haven’t bought cow’s milk in years.
When my kids were about 3 and 5 years old (now 7-9), I stopped giving them milk by way of an experiment. Both of them were coughing and were very congested all the time. So I decided to trade milk in for goat’s milk. This was a hard transition for me, because I didn’t like the thought of goat’s milk.
The transition was easy for the kids and they didn’t even notice a difference, but I did. A couple weeks later, no more coughing, and congestion in their chests. I couldn’t believe it. I’m so happy that I made the change, and I’ve never looked back.
Goat milk – It’s considered a type of dairy like cow milk, because it’s produced from a mammal. Goat milk is easier to digest, and less inflammatory than cow milk. This explains why my kids congestion cleared up.
- coconut milk
Fruit Juice – With so many flavors of juice on the market, you can create just about any flavor you and your kids like. Using juice in your smoothies is a great source of liquid to include, especially if fresh (fresh squeezed orange juice). If store bought, always check the labels for sugar grams. The sugars can be high in fruit juices.
Coconut water, flavored waters, and plain water are a few other great choices to use in your smoothies.
HOW DO YOU SWEETEN A SMOOTHIE?
There are several ways to sweeten a smoothie. You can use a sweetener if needed, but smoothies don’t typically need a sweetener if you’re using fruit that is ripe and sweet, or if adding a fruit juice or puree. If adding a cocao powder, then you may need to add a sweetener since the cacao is bitter.
- pure maple syrup
- Truvia or Stevia (if you want to really cut down the sugar)
I loved writing this post, because we’re huge fans of smoothies and smoothie bowls. I feel making smoothie recipes for the kids is a great way to include healthy vitamins, minerals, and sneak in the greens and ingredients you can’t get them to eat. Sneaky greens, or sneaky mommy’s? The best part is they’re healthy, easy, and I can whip them up for breakfast, or an anytime snack.
I’m not a nutritionist or expert, but I have an understanding of nutrition. I like to choose healthier alternatives when considering the ingredients, so I’ve written about it to share with you. I’ve linked to important articles that can give you more in depth information about different ingredients.