It can be really hard to get greens into kids, I know only too well as have battled with this problem for years with my son. Even after five and a half years he still won’t eat his greens insisting he prefers to drink his salad! It may not be an ideal way but at least I sleep at night knowing he is getting the nutrients he needs and instead of fighting a losing battle I have embraced and accepted what he likes and found easy ways to integrate this into his diet.
Many of my clients in Monaco tell me they don’t have time to make smoothies or they are too complicated and simply don’t know where to start. I was one of these people too. I didn’t just wake up and start making the perfect green smoothie, I did however know it was something that I needed to do for my son so used this as my motivating factor which led to a passion and career to teach and help others overcome the obvious resistances that I experienced too.
Green smoothies pack heaps of goodness into an easily digestible and energising drink. I find they are great in the morning for breakfast as your body is effectively breaking the overnight fast since your last meal the night before and smoothies are a gentle way to wake up your digestive system!
Once you master a few simple rules of smoothie-making you will have the confidence to start experimenting and trying out new and exciting combinations. I have put together my smoothie staple starter list below:
First of all start with a liquid base of water, coconut water or a non-dairy milk (coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, soya milk are all good examples). I avoid using a fruit juice due to extra fruit sugar content which I prefer to get from whole fruits instead. I usually add one cup of liquid per person, however if I am not using frozen fruit then I use 3/4 of liquid and 4-5 ice cubes which water down the smoothie.
Next add fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. I love sweet fruits like banana, mango and pineapple to sweeten and cut through the green-ness of leafy greens!! Greens are always my essential ingredient and I usually opt for spinach for a kiddie smoothie as it is practically tasteless. Ideally you want to be aiming towards just one piece of sweet fruit and the rest veggies and leafy greens but when you start to introduce smoothies to kids you might need to start with sweeter smoothies and gradually adjust the ratio. Try to use between 2 and 4 pieces per smoothie. Other fruits that are great to use are kiwis and berries as they are low in sugar and pack in so many important vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.
So base + fruit/veg = the perfectly simple nourishing smoothie, however we have a huge range of weird and wonderful superfoods which are becoming more popular in the Western world. Superfoods are widely available now and you should be able to find them in a health food store and even some supermarkets, you can check out my online shop to see my favourites. When adding superfoods don’t overdo it, using just one or two superfoods adding between 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon (check the packet or recipe for better guidance). You can also add in some almond butter, tahini or unsalted nuts as a source of additional plant protein. My favourite superfoods are: maca, for energy and balance, baobab for healthy gut and vitamin C, hemp seeds for protein, raw cacao for all my chocolate recipes and magnesium and lucuma for a natural sweetness that is internally healing.
Remember to keep it cool and add either frozen fruit or veg (my preferred source as it is quicker and easier) or ice – lets face it a warm green smoothie is not going to taste as good!! My favourite tip is to freeze your bananas when they are at the perfect ripeness stage, just remember to peel them first, you can keep them stored in a sealable plastic freezer bag.
You will need a high-speed blender to make your smoothies especially if you are using ice or frozen fruit. The nutribullet is a great space saving blender which is perfect for making smoothies and is super easy to use and clean. Otherwise a high speed blender such as a vitamix will make you a smoothie in less than 60 seconds plus be a kitchen staple for many other healthy recipes too.
Remember to rotate your ingredients and be adventurous with different combinations for variety of both nutrients and flavour. Involve your kids in the smoothie making too which is fun for them and educating at the same time. Disguise the colour of the green smoothie by adding it to a fun plastic cup as sometimes the colour will put them off!
Basic Kiddie Friendly Green Protein Smoothie
1 cup coconut water
1 small ripe banana – peeled
1 kiwi – peeled
1-2 cubes of frozen spinach or 1-2 cups of fresh
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder
2-3 ice cubes – more if you are using fresh spinach and want a colder smoothie
Simply add everything to a high speed blender and whizz until totally smooth
Drink with a big and beautiful smile
If you are not comfortable using a protein powder for children add in a heaped tbs of a good quality peanut butter, a few almonds or walnuts or hemp protein powder, personally I love the Sunwarrior and That protein and use only 1/2 a scoop. You can also swap out the coconut water for almond milk.
Nutritional Nuggets of Goodness
Coconut water – naturally low in fat and calories, super hydrating and contain more potassium than 4 bananas!
Spinach – rich in high-quality amino acids, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Banana – act as a prebiotic which work by stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut.
Kiwi – rich vitamin C, along with other immune boosting antioxidants.
Sunwarrior – plant based raw and vegan protein which is easy to digest.
Tell us below how you deal with fussy eaters? And, what are your favourite smoothie combinations? How do you sneak in those veggies?