How do I get my kids to eat well?
How do I get my kids to eat their green veggies?
How do I make a smoothie that my child will like?
As a parent, I know how challenging it can be to get kids to eat their veggies – especially the green ones. The answer for me came in a tasty cup of a fruit smoothie packed with fresh leafy greens, a green smoothie. Most kids love a sweet cold treat, so making this dessert-like beverage for breakfast has been the best healthy habit my family and I have made this year.
Making green smoothies is so much fun! Plus you get all these great benefits: lots of green veggies, plenty of fruits, an abundant amount of nature's vitamins, and you get what your body needs— like live enzymes and essential amino acids (protein).
10 Kid-friendly green smoothie tips
Here are 10 tips and tricks to transition your child to drink green smoothies every day that I have used with my own child.
1. Make a Transition Smoothie: Being bold and extra green on your first smoothie attempt will not win new green smoothie lovers. Baby steps are the key to making a smooth transition to developing a taste for greens in your child's smoothie. So make those first few smoothies creamy with a lot of fruit and just a hint of green veggies. Then with each smoothie you serve, add a little less fruit and a little more green leaves. Also a little less juice and milk and a lot more filtered water. Your goal is to pack in your child's daily needs for green vegetables.
Great smoothie starter: Strawberries and Cream Smoothie
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen mixed berries (the more berries you add, the more purple it looks)
1 cup almond milk or another non-dairy beverage
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup fresh baby spinach
Hint: Make yourself a more green smoothie, and they may wonder why their smoothie is not the same color as yours. It worked for me, but may not work for all kids.
2. Be a Model Smoothie Drinker: I was guilty of not getting my daily green veggies, so it's no surprise that greens were not in my child's daily eating habits. Now that I am drinking my green smoothie for breakfast everyday, I am leading by example for my child. Green smoothie drinking is no longer an option, but a routine and healthy lifestyle choice in our household.
3. Start a Smoothie Race: Kids love a challenge, and a smoothie race is a great way for you and your child to gulp those nutrient packed smoothies down super fast. This is the best fast food you could ever have. My daughter, husband or I say,”Smoothie Race!” and we all know the race is on. After a few sips, we put our cups together to see who is in the lead. This is actually a great motivator for adults to finish their smoothies quickly before they go off to work.
4. Name Your Smoothies: Got a favorite green or purple character? Why not name it after them? Our green smoothie is called The Green Hulk (My husband can't help but impart his love of comics with our daughter).
5. Add a Straw: Silly Straws are a hit in our house. Just make sure to rinse them right after, so the smoothie doesn't dry out in the straw.
6. Add Something Special on Top: Missed blending a smoothie for breakfast? Make a special after-school snack treat with a little whipped coconut cream or garnish it with a flower, sliced strawberries or a paper parasol. But make sure they know this is a very special treat.
7. Focus on the Easy Greens: Fresh baby spinach and kale seem to be the mildest of the greens, and they are easy to find at your local grocery store.
8. Prep Together: Let your child participate in the whole smoothie preparation from the grocery store to blending. Have your child help pick out which fruits and veggies to buy, wash the fruits and veggies in a colander, and measure and pour the water into the blender.
9. Serve It with Style: Present the smoothie in a pretty dessert glass and serve it with a spoon.
10. Encourage Healthy Choices: Add the term “growing food” to their vocabulary. Set a routine and boundaries for healthy eating. When your child is looking to indulge in a not-so-healthy snack, ask them, “Did you finish your smoothie today (answer: no). That's so sad; I give treats, to kids who finish their growing food and drinks. Are you ready to finish your smoothie? (answer: yes). Great, that's a healthy choice you made!”
When you blend leafy green vegetables, they are a lot easier to digest. The fibers are liquified making the nutrients absorb super easy. Studies have shown that children and adults alike generally accept a new food by the eleventh try. So join our free Simple 7 Challenge and make a healthy habit last a lifetime!
And once your child is ready for a little more green, go ahead and try this recipe: Banana Berry Spinach Smoothie.
Adorable photos by Sayoko Lynn Photography