A good smoothie is a great breakfast option for the whole family. Cold, creamy, and sweet, they are hard to resist by even the pickiest eaters. Smoothies for breakfast can feel like a treat, but secretly provide plenty of nutritious fruits and vegetables, which make them a hit with parents too. They are a way for young kids to get the fruits and veggies they might otherwise refuse to eat, and are easy to take on the go, so you can be sure that you or your high schooler are never too busy for a good breakfast. They also make the recommended 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables daily seem much more attainable. However, it is very easy to take a smoothie from nutritious to sugar bomb, so read on to learn my tips for keeping smoothies healthy and for some of my favorite smoothie recipes.
Smoothies have two basic components, liquid and produce, but you can add many extra ingredients that boost the color, flavor, or fiber content, which make smoothies easy to customize to your dietary needs and preferences. It is the ingredients that you choose that determine whether your smoothie is a healthy and wholesome breakfast or if it is better suited for dessert. You can use the chart of ingredients below to help you get started creating your own unique smoothie blends. Your kids may even get excited about trying new fruits and vegetables if they get to choose the ingredients and a fun name for their smoothie.
Things to remember!
• Some fruits that do not blend very well due to their texture, such as apples and oranges, can be added in the form of juice, but remember that using juice can increase the sugar content very quickly, so use it sparingly. Always look for 100% juice whenever possible.
• While you can use many types of leafy greens, I prefer to use spinach due to its bright color and mild flavor which makes it easy to cover up with fruits.
• Use avocados, bananas, and yogurt to make smoothies extra creamy.
• Using chocolate milk mix can add delicious flavor plus vitamins and minerals. Try to look for one without added sugar.
• Using frozen fruit means you can have a thick smoothie without adding ice. Just make sure your fruit is washed and cut into small pieces before freezing.
• Ingredients such as flaxseed, oatmeal, and chia are great ingredients to bulk up your smoothies and help keep your child fuller longer. If their textures are not too popular with your child, try first pulsing oatmeal or flaxseed by itself in the blender to create a powder that blends more easily. It is recommended that you presoak chia to allow it to puff up before being added to smoothies. You might find that your child likes the idea of little “bubbles” in their drink.
Each of these recipes is for one smoothie, or you can freeze them in popsicle molds for a tasty summer treat!
Cake Batter Surprise Smoothie
The surprise here is that there is a lot of spinach in this smoothie, but it tastes like a slice of cake!
¾ cup milk of choice
1 handful spinach
1 frozen banana
1 Tbs. chocolate milk mix
Pinch of cinnamon
Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. You can add extra milk if it is too thick.
The Full Elvis
A breakfast fit for a king! This smoothie will be sure to keep your kids full and focused all morning long!
¾ cup milk of choice
1 frozen banana
1 Tbs. peanut butter
¼ cup uncooked oatmeal
Pulse oatmeal into a powder in your blender before adding the rest of your ingredients. Blend until smooth, adding more milk if it is too thick.
“Orange You Glad” Smoothie
No bananas here! Carrots and orange are one of my favorite flavor combinations, and cantaloupe adds even more vitamin C to this orange creamsicle flavored drink!
½ cup orange juice
½ cup grated carrot
¾ cup cantaloupe chunks
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt
Blend all ingredients, adding a little water or juice if smoothie is too thick.
Bonus: A friend of mine shared this easy trick. Kids love Dinosaur Smoothies, which can be any green smoothie! Have fun creating your own!
What nutritious smoothie recipes have you tried with your family?