Smoothies are a refreshing win-win for both parents and kids in the summer. They taste great and they’re packed with vitamins, fiber, antioxidants and protein. While many stores carry pre-made smoothies, making them at home saves money and adds nutrition. It also presents the perfect opportunity for kids to get involved in making healthy food.
Smoothies are a “pack-and-blend” food. Just pack the blender with nutritious and delicious ingredients, press the button and they’re done! As kids become more independent, they can easily make this healthful snack for themselves. Here are four easy ways to make them more nutritious:
• Lower the sugar content by leaving out juice. Use water or nutrient-dense coconut water instead.
• Increase the protein content by blending whole raw almonds, unsweetened almond butter or hemp seeds into the smoothie. Hemp seeds can be found at health-food stores. They’re high in healthful omega oils, protein and fiber, and they blend in easily.
• Go green. A handful or two of spinach, or any other mild greens, blends easily in to a fruit smoothie. A half-cup of blueberries blended in will mask the green color, if desired.
• Omit dairy. Give smoothies a creamy texture using bananas, hemp seeds or almond butter instead. Peel ripe bananas and place them in the freezer beforehand so they’re ready as needed.
Smoothies can be easily customized to suit individual tastes and dietary needs. Here are two easy and delicious recipes to start with.
½ cup blueberries
½ cup strawberries
½ cup frozen or fresh mango
1 cup baby spinach
1 to 1 1/2 cups of water (depending on preferred consistency)
Blend and enjoy!
Nina Manolson, M.A., C.H.C., L.M.T., is a certified health coach, family wellness expert and author of the upcoming book Feed Your Kids Well in a World That Doesn’t. To learn more about her programs for moms, kids and families, visit SmokinHotMom.com.