Smoothies are often touted as the magical panacea for picky-eating, but in order for them to be so, they need to have more good stuff than fluff. With the right balance of fruits, veggies, and superfood extras, they’re a great way to sneak necessary nutrients into a carb-loving toddler’s diet. Of course, few children will eagerly suck down a glass of frosty puréed greens (heck, most grown-ups won’t either) and sweet stuff like yogurt and fruit is a necessary evil — but it’s all about balance. So how do you build a superpower smoothie that your kids will actually crave? Follow these simple guidelines:
When selecting ingredients, watch out for hidden sugar — avoid using fruit juice as a base; instead, use unsweetened soy milk, yogurt, and protein powder. Low glycemic fruits like berries, pears, and apples won’t spike blood sugar like tropical fruits (although frozen bananas offer delicious creaminess). If your final product isn’t sweet enough, add a little agave, which is also low glycemic.
Use leafy greens like kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce, which are incredible sources of phytonutrients; minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium; and vitamins K, C, E, and many of the all-important Bs. Just a handful ups your smoothie’s nutrition significantly and will go undetected by little taste buds. Avocado, cucumber, and broccoli also offer lots of nutrients without conspicuous veggie taste.
The following extras blend easily and offer a number of the nutrients essential to toddler development, from Omega-3 fatty acids to protein: flax seeds, nut butter, spirulina, powdered probiotics, and alkaline greens powder. Try including a couple of them, especially if the rest of your concoction is lacking in substance.
What’d you come up with? Share your smoothie ideas here!