via Yummy Toddler Food: These hidden-veggie toddler smoothies are simple to blend up and are even easier to customize for breakfast or snack time. They’re a perfect way to serve smoothies for kids since they’re naturally sweet so they kids will love them, and loaded with nutrition to please the parents!
One of the best ways to help your toddler and older kids eat more fruits and vegetables is to pack them into smoothies. By starting with one master smoothie recipe and varying it based on what your kids like (and for any food allergy concerns), you can increase the likelihood that they will actually drink it!
HEALTHY TODDLER SMOOTHIES
To be completely honest, my oldest has never been a fan of smoothies. Because of that, I tried very hard to get my second to like them right from the start. I make her toddler smoothies a few times a week so they are familiar and I’m happy to report that she’s a total fan. (If you have a little one who doesn’t like smoothies, see my tips below!) We love smoothies for healthy breakfasts and snacks. And it’s nice that you can keep almost all of the ingredients in the freezer or pantry!
SMOOTHIES FOR KIDS
One of the biggest reasons that she likes them is that I don’t pack them too full of extras—because if you go overboard on veggies and things like chia seeds, a kid smoothie can taste like sludge really fast. But thankfully, you can still make a healthy smoothie that’s packed with nutrition if you know how to balance the ingredients. If your toddler regularly fills up on milk at breakfast, try switching to smoothies some days. This has the benefit of allowing you to fill their bellies with a range of nutrition they need, instead of just milk.
SMOOTHIES FOR TODDLERS WHO WON’T EAT VEGETABLES
If you have a kid who won’t eat many vegetables, smoothies can be a great option since the veggies are served in a slightly sweet drink that tastes like a milkshake. Don’t add more of any vegetable than my recipe below—that could lend an off flavor. And try some of the combinations below that aren’t green first, since pink, orange, purple, or even white smoothies are often much less alarming than green ones. Then, once you have a smoothie fan, try offering a green one!
HOW TO MAKE KID SMOOTHIES STEP-BY-STEP
To help ensure a good texture and flavor in our hidden-veggie toddler smoothies, we pick just a few ingredients each time and keep the flavors simple. I try to mix things up so that she doesn’t just want one type of smoothie and I let her help turn on the blender, which she loves!
(We also don’t add things like bee pollen or collagen or protein powder because while I know that some swear by these types of smoothie boosts, I find them to be expensive and not very accessible for most people. If you like them or want to try them, by all means, go for it!)
- Choose your milk. (We prefer nondairy milks since they seem to have a slightly better consistency and less of a tendency to separate after blending.)
- Choose a ripe banana plus an extra fruit.
- Choose a veggie.
- Choose an optional add in to add more protein, fiber, or healthy fats.
- Blend the smoothie really well to ensure that it has a very creamy texture.
- Serve it in a reusable pouch, a small open cup, or in a sippy cup depending on what your kid likes best.
SMOOTHIES FOR TODDLERS WITH FOOD ALLERGIES
If your toddler has food allergies, it’s easy to adjust a smoothie for them. If they are allergic to bananas, use 2 tablespoons avocado instead or try a teaspoon or two of nut butter. Use whichever type of milk you prefer—almond, flax, coconut, rice, dairy, or even kefir. We tend to use Silk Protein Nut Milk, Ripple Milk, or New Karma Flaxmilk in our smoothies.
HOW TO HIDE VEGGIES IN SMOOTHIES
- If you can store the greens in the freezer, the finished product will taste much less “green” but will have the same nutrition. Just make sure the greens are dry, then put them into a zip top freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Blend really (really!) well to get a very smooth consistency, adding a little more milk (or even water) as needed to thin.
- You can get a less thick texture in toddler smoothies, which some kids prefer by using fresh fruit rather than frozen—and this is also a good option for winter days when a frozen drink is less than ideal.
- You can use yogurt in place of milk if you add a fruit with a lot of liquid like a clementine or orange.
- Try using half milk and half yogurt for a creamier texture some toddlers may prefer.
- Serve toddler smoothies in a reusable pouch (we like Squeasy Gear!) or in a cup with a straw.
- You can also offer small tastes with a spoon if you have a child who isn’t yet a fan. Consider even a small sampling a success!
- Sprinkle on some granola or a favorite cereal and serve as a smoothie bowl for a fun variation.
- And if nothing else works, freeze them into popsicles!
SMOOTHIES FOR KIDS WITH CONSTIPATION
If your toddler has frequent constipation or a sudden bout, a smoothie with hidden veggies can help move things along. Consider adding extra fiber from chia seeds or hemp seeds, or even a small spoonful of coconut oil, flaxseed oil, or avocado. You can also use full-fat coconut milk as the base. The healthy fats can coat the digestive tract, making it easier for food waste to pass through. And, since the foods in toddler smoothies are already blended, it’s much less work for their digestive systems!
SMOOTHIES FOR TODDLERS TO GAIN WEIGHT
If your doctor has told you that your toddler needs to gain weight, a smoothie can be a helpful mealtime tool. Consider adding nut butters, avocado, healthy oils (flax, fish), full fat yogurt, hemp seeds, and offering a serving of a toddler smoothie at snack time, mealtime, or as a bedtime snack. Use those in between times to get in a little extra nutrition and calories! (Also, be sure to ask your doctor if your toddler is on her own growth curve—she may actually be progressing at a normal rate for her own body!)