There is nothing quite like the power-packed goodness of a smoothie for the littles in your household. If your child is one who likes veggies, fruits and such then this will be a no-brainer. If your child is the kind who gags when they even look at a spinach leaf, then these smoothies I will begin to post will hopefully be a segue into an easy fix for you and a nutritious answer for their bodies.
* Please remember that I'm not a physician or nutritional expert. I'm just a mama who loves to create delicious and healthy items for my own child and am happy to share what I do in hopes that it may inspire or help someone else. *
Here are a few suggestions I will make prior to you trying smoothies in your home as a way to get healthy things into your kiddos:
~ Do not over use the ingredients at first. There is no need to bomb them with spinach or any other veggie at first...especially if they already dislike them. The idea is to ease them into a new pattern that they will hopefully love.
~ Do not over sweeten the smoothies. A nearly, all-fruit smoothie isn't that jam-packed...other than with sugars. Yes, fruits have nutritional value, but adding more than a bit of two fruits to any smoothie for a child is unnecessary. You're trying to train their bodies to want what is in the smoothies...not just to want something sweet.
~ Think about what your child is truly lacking in their daily nutrition. Is it mostly greens? Is it orange veggies? Is it omega-3s and good fats? Is it probiotics?
Here is a little 411 on why I use the ingredients that I do:
~ Ground Flaxseed Meal
An excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acid which is essential and crucial in a child's brain development. It doesn't have a harsh taste and can actually thicken the smoothie a bit because it expands in liquid.
~ Fish Oil
The taste must be covered well obviously, but the benefits of the Omega-3 fatty acids that it provides it much better than even flaxseed. Super brain!!
~ Organic Pumpkin
Rich in carotenoids and antioxidants! The beta carotene is essential for maintaining healthy eyes, lungs, heart and circulation!
~ Organic Spinach (fresh)
First of all, please get organic or local when possible. You do not want spinach that has been sprayed with chemicals and pesticides! The health benefits of spinach are so numerous that it should be eaten daily...improving eyes, blood pressure, boosting growth in infants, strong muscles, neurological benefits, anti-cancerous benefits and more.
~ Raw Honey
Do not get store bought because it's heated and loses its nutrients from the process. Raw honey is anti-cancer! It contains carcinogen-preventing and anti-tumor properties! It is chocked full of antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties. It boost brain function, provides natural energy, is antimicrobial and just plain yummy! Why would you not use raw honey to sweeten a smoothie for your child if you needed to?
~ Organic Plain Kefir
Why plain? It doesn't contain the sugar that the flavored ones have and there's no need to add additional sugar. Kefir is an amazing probiotic drink that contain minerals, vitamins, amino acids, proteins, enzymes and more. Probiotics protect a child's intestinal flora to help them fight better when prescribed antibiotics. These probiotics also help develop a strong and healthy immune system while fighting off harmful bacterias and viruses. Probiotics are absolutely essential to a child's body and strengthen bones, teeth, gums and enhance metabolism. We use plain kefir for so much more in our home. I make ranch out of it, use it as a sour cream substitute on our potatoes and create avocado-kefir dipping sauces and desserts for my little one.
~ Raw Coconut Water
The benefits are absolutely incomparable! The coconut tree isn't called "The Tree of Life" for nothing! Raw coconut water is so incredibly nourishing that it is given to newborns intravenously in other countries to nourish and hydrate them when needed and has been a substitute for formulas. It was also used in WW2 for emergency transfusions. It has twice the potassium as a banana, super rich in electrolytes, anti-aging elements, boosts immunity with it's richness in lauric acid (the component present in breast milk), best summer drink and hydrator for kids, no allergic reactions with coconut water, remedy for vomiting as it hydrates and soothes the tummy and so many more! This is a no brainer on baby, tot and kids drinks as far as I'm concerned!
~ Unsweetened Homemade Almond Milk
While almond milk isn't a super blast of nutrition, it does vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, protein and other trace essentials of the super nut they come from. It does make a nice and neutral base to some smoothies though...especially if your kids can't do dairy! I make my own milk (find that post HERE) because I don't like the additives in store bought almond milk, its fresh when I make it and it's super easy!
~ Organic Coconut Milk (canned)
This is a nutritious amount of good fat! The saturated fatty acids it provides contain lauric acid which are converted in our bodies into an anti-viral, anti-bacterial compound! It is an immune booster, it rapidly metabolizes and should be used once to twice a week. It's highly rich in vitamin Bs, iron, selenium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous!
They are rich in healthy fats and contain vitamins, including vitamin K which is big for growing kids. It contains calcium, zinc, iron, and more to help develop strong bones, tissues and even help wounds heal faster. They are neutral in taste and can be used to thicken a smoothie easily!
~ Choice fruits
My favorite fruits to use are bananas because even using just half of one thickens and sweetens a whole smoothie! Peaches are delicious when in season and of course, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries when you can get them organic or without spray since they are some of the most sprayed fruits out there. Look for fruits that contain antioxidants or magnesium when possible since most children are magnesium deficient. It usually only takes half of a banana, one whole peach or a 1/4 cup of other fruits to sweeten and do their job credibly...especially if you're adding a little honey.
I will begin posting a smoothie recipe at a time. Your child may love it...they may hate it. If they hate it though...I encourage you to NOT GIVE UP. Everyone has a different flavor and perhaps we just haven't stumbled upon your child's yet. There will be at least one magic smoothie that they will like...and when they do...you can add little by little, the extra things and you will be happy and your child's body will be even happier!