It happened again yesterday. I was leading a workshop and a parent asked me: “Is it wrong to give my child smoothies with veggies in them? Is this considered hiding veggies?” Rarely a workshop goes by without a parent asking me about smoothies for their picky eater kids. They’re such a popular trend these days. While I touched on this in last week’s blog post; it’s such a common question that I get about healthy snacks for kids that I thought that it was worthwhile to expand on it today. And, share some ideas for smoothie ingredients.
I think that smoothies are a great way to provide vegetables, fruit, protein, and healthy fats for kids. BUT there are a couple of key points to follow to be using them to role model healthy eating and support your child to try new foods on their own:
- Don’t lie about the ingredients. This is when you start veering into the “hiding” territory. If you’re waking up at 2am to puree foods so that your child doesn’t know that they’re in a smoothie, then you’ve strayed in the wrong direction. This doesn’t mean that you have to read out to your child a list every last ingredient in a smoothie. But don’t deny a food’s existence. Having your child help make the smoothie (like I suggested last week) is a great way for them to know what’s in it.
- Continue to serve “obvious” vegetables (and eat them yourself). Yes, even if your child doesn’t eat them, you’re role modeling choosing to eat vegetables. You’re teaching an important life lesson that I promise is sinking in (even if the vegetables aren’t getting eaten currently).
As I mentioned above, smoothies are a great way to provide vegetables, fruit, protein and healthy fats in a way that many picky eaters will actually eat. Here are some ingredient ideas. Note that some of the ingredients (e.g. nuts) require a higher-powered blender. Mix and match the ingredients to find combinations that you love. And don’t’ be afraid to experiment to find new favs. My new favourite is pistachio-mint-banana, which I was introduced to while on vacation in California last month!
Smoothie Ingredients - Vegetables:
- Avocado (also helps a smoothie be creamy)
- Carrot (I find carrot that’s already grated to blend better than larger pieces)
Smoothie Ingredients - Fruit (choose fresh or frozen fruit instead of juice):
- Banana (also helps a smoothie be creamy)
- Berries of any kind
Smoothie Ingredients - Protein:
- Cashews (or cashew butter)
- Ground almonds (or almond butter)
- Peanut butter
- Pumpkin seeds (or pumpkin seed butter)
- Hemp hearts
Smoothie Ingredients - Healthy Fats:
- See all the nut and seed ideas above (including hemp hearts)
- Flax oil (or ground flax seeds)
- Hemp oil
- Fish oil
- Vitamin D drops
Other tasty ingredients (that pack more of a taste punch than a nutritional punch):
- Cocoa powder
Looking for more ideas? Check out the recipe for my Sunshine Smoothie (Orange-Pineapple-Fresh Turmeric) or these green smoothies.