Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and kids need it even more than adults. Their growing bodies and developing brains rely heavily on the regular intake of food. When kids skip breakfast, they can end up going for long periods of time without food and this period of semistarvation can create a lot of physical, intellectual, and behavioral problems for them. That being said, morning isn't always the ideal time to get them packed with proper nutrition, however. Especially if you have a picky eater, healthy eating can get lost in the morning rush. This is where smoothies come in. I first started my smoothie exploration with Finn. He hated eating anything green and only liked grapes. Not exactly the most nutritional fruit on the planet. I needed a way to get him to eat some greens and fruit with very little push back, so I started trying different smoothies.
They didn't all go down well, literally and figuratively, and it takes some tweaking sometimes to come up with the perfect recipe for your kiddo, but here are some tried and tested ideas that have been successful for me, along with some of my favorite kid approved smoothie recipes. They are fast, easy, and best of all packed with healthy stuff that will keep kids powered till lunch and beyond.
First up, the milk. We skip cow's milk and soy milk in our house and instead I use flax milk, coconut milk or almond milk (you can find all three of these at Healthy Living Market and usually can find coconut or almond milk at most supermarkets). The flax and coconut milk come in different varieties of sweetened and you can easily substitute the plain for less sugar or calories. My kids love the vanilla flax milk and I love that it has the extra nutrition of the omega 3s from flax already in it. The chocolate almond milk is Levy's favorite and often I simply just mix in a banana, some avocado, and some green powder into a cup of that for a super quick smoothie for her.
Next up, pick a green powder to add a powerful (and easy) nutritional boost to any smoothie. We really like the Honest Company's Baby and Toddler multi-powder. It comes in individual packets that you just snip open and add in, nice and simple. It has 22 essential vitamins & minerals from 31 organic fruit & veggies, in addition to key antioxidants, superfoods, amino acids and more, plus an optimal balance of Vitamin D, Vitamin A, folic acid & iron to support brain function & promote healthy growth & development. It's free of commonly found binders, fillers, allergens, synthetic additives, pesticides & contaminants so you feel safe giving it to your little one, and Jack absolutely loves this one.
For the older kids, we throw in a scoop or two of Amazing Grass Kidz Superfood powder with a wild berry flavor. Just one 6 gram serving has the antioxidant equivalent to 3 servings of fruits and vegetables, and it's made with organic green foods. The kids have no idea that I add this powder, and if you blend it up well you there is no chalkiness or grittiness at all.
The fun part is when you can start adding stuff in to experiment. We use a little bullet blender similar to this one, and the best part is that I can make three different smoothies for three different kids with very little fuss or muss (which is necessary since no one EVER likes the same smoothie in this house). I just switch the cups up and rinse the blade off in between smoothies and it blends them all up nice and smooth. I'll throw in a handful of kale and half an avocado for Finn, bananas and berries for Levy, and some flax for all three kids (buy it pre-ground to make it easier to blend in). Avocado makes it nice and creamy, and you can balance out the kale with the sweetness of some berries. It's easy with the bullet style blender to take a sip and try it out before you serve it, and I also like to add some local honey to sweeten up a particularly "green" smoothie to satisfy a picky child. I like to use fresh fruits and veggies (spinach is another great one to throw in there) but you can also use frozen too. Add in some Greek yogurt for a protein boost too.
I have peace of mind knowing I've gotten at least some nutrition into the kids, and the kids get a satisfying and filling breakfast, it's a win win. Need more inspiration? Check out some of the links below for some great recipes! xoxo