Why Green Smoothies are Great for Kids
You know how much I love green smoothies for moms. But why not kids?! Growing kids need the same nutrients we do as adults, but in abundance (much like during pregnancy). They need macronutrients- carbohydrate and fats for energy and protein for growing healthy muscle and bones; as well as micronutrients like calcium (for those strong bones and teeth), iron for healthy blood (again, similar to pregnancy, when growing rapidly blood volume increases, increasing the need for iron), vitamins A, C and the ever important B- Vitamins. Kids need at least 3 solid meals a day, but if you have kids in the younger ages, like I do, they often don't want to (or can't!) sit still for a big meal. We want to encourage our kids to listen to their bodies, of course. So they rely on snacking, which can give them everything they need energy wise- but snacks are often lacking in protein, healthy fats and vital micronutrients. So how do you find that healthy balance between not force-feeding our kids healthy foods and allowing them to listen to their bodies and eat when it feels good to them?
Green smoothies are one of my absolute favorite ways to help kids meet their nutrient needs in a fun, easy-to-drink way; while allowing them freedom to choose what goes in them, and encourage them to try new flavors!
I make my smoothies with the same smoothie formula I use for grown-ups:
🥛 Liquid: milk or nut milk 🍓 Fruit: banana, berries, mango, pineapple and more!
🥬 Veggie: we usually use spinach, frozen cauliflower or zucchini 🥜 Fat: peanut or almond butter, hemp seeds (fat and protein), or avocado Protein: we love Kidz Shake for a kid-designed protein powder, but I'll also use hemp seeds and/or collagen peptides (Vital Proteins is our favorite brand) for them, as well.
Some of my three year old's favorite add-ins include berries, bananas, cauliflower, zucchini, peanut butter, raw cacao, coconut water, and always a big handful of spinach or kale. By letting her help me in the kitchen, she gets to choose what goes in her smoothie (within reason!) and she sees me making my daily smoothie, which means she's always up for trying new flavor combinations. We started Sage (update: now seven) on smoothies pretty much as soon as she was eating solid foods- we started simple, with fruit, spinach and milk, and now we follow the same super smoothie formula I use with my clients (and my clients' kids!). Now I know not every kid will jump at adding frozen cauliflower to their smoothie- mine didn't either, at first. We kept it simple and worked up to it, and the older she has gotten and the more she appreciates having the freedom to choose, the more adventurous she has become- and the same is true for most of the families I work with, as well.