A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about my understanding that it’s critical to get more nutrient dense food into kids, and that as a parent, I must be vigilant when it comes to helping our kids make good choices. That said, I understand that most kids don’t like their food to be any shade of green.
My kids are professional green eaters. They eat hearty green salads almost daily, and have greens in nearly all their smoothies. Over the years they’ve figured out what they like, and don’t like. I now mostly leave their food choices up to them, and asked my daughter if she wanted to make a video to help kids, and parents, decide what may be the best choice when adding greens to a smoothie.
Watch the Video
Following my latest blog on Green Smoothies, I had several requests for the ‘kid friendly’ recipes that I referenced. I’ve found a few simple things to make smoothies more drinkable.
- A high powered blender, or Vitamix. This is an essential tool as nothing else will give a smoothie the velvety smooth texture that feels like ice cream in your mouth. Kids are all about texture and a Vitamix is one of the best tools to make smoothies that kids will drink.
- Acid – a smoothie with flavour has a bit (or a lot) of acid. Lemon is the best choice, and in addition to tasting great, it’s a tremendously healthy way to start your day. Being ‘Alkaline’ is an arguable point but I believe in creating an environment in our bodies that limits inflammation – especially in children who’s bodies are growing at such a rapid pace.
- A bit of sweet – I usually put a date per person in a smoothie. This ads a nice deep, rich sweetness and is a whole food.
- Berries – loads of berries. Endless benefits to eating berries.
- Banana – which gives it a thick texture, and adds nutrients and a bit of sweet, depending upon how ripe it is.
Above are the items to guarantee a great tasting smoothie. Now – here’s how to make it nutrient dense
- Greens – My choices are Broccoli and kale, which are cruciferous vegetables, and spinach. which is packed full of chlorophyll. I understand that adding greens can be a show stopper to making smoothies your kids will drink, but try this recipe and see how it goes:
1 Cup of Nut Milk
½ Cup of Berries
1 oz lemon juice
1/2 cup of greens (Spinach is the best to start – proven by my kids to be the tastiest)
1 Banana (best to be frozen)
1 tbsp of Nut Butter
This will end up looking like a berry smoothie and I guarantee most kids will eat this
- Omega Oil – I specifically use the Flora Brand – Omega Sport. Why? It contains medium chain triglycerides which can be easily absorbed through the body. It also contains fatty acids that are an anti-inflammatory to relieve joint and muscle pain, Vitamin D, and contains Omega-3 and – 6 essential fatty acids to stimulate fat metabolism, for energy!
- Almond butter – A good source of healthy fats, antioxidant action from Vitamin E, and helps lower cholesterol. Even a small serving contains generous amounts of magnesium, promoting blood flow, plus nutrients and potassium. It also adds a really yummy flavour.
- Hemp hearts – Incredibly nutritious with a mild nutty flavor, they contain over 30% fat. They’re a great source of high-quality protein. They are also a great source of vitamin E and minerals.
- Protein powder – I use Sun Warrior brown rice protein powder (like we do at Culture Lab), which is a hypoallergenic vegan plant source for protein & fiber. It’s easily digestible and contains all the essential amino acids your body requires. Best of all, it’s not chalky and doesn’t taste like artificial sweetener. The downside is that it’s the most expensive protein powder you can buy. A high quality and less expensive alternative is the Garden of Life brand.
- Flaxseed meal – Flax seeds are loaded with nutrients and offer omega-3 fats, lignans and fiber and protein. Additionally they are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. This will also ensure that you are adding more fiber to each smoothie.
- Spices – Turmeric, Lemon, Ginger, Garlic. These are some powerful foods which help fight inflammation and ward off infection. Garlic is a tough one to add to a kids smoothie but Turmeric, Lemon and Ginger …oh yeah! Made the right way these can be super tasty.
- Maca – A highly nutritious Peruvian plant that boosts energy endurance and reduces blood pressure and menopause symptoms. It contains flavonoids which improves mood and reduces anxiety. It’s also from the cruciferous vegetables family
- Spirulina (Blue Green Algae) – Possibly the most nutritious food on the planet, even a small amount is packed with nutrients including protein, vitamin B1,2,3, Iron and magnesium and potassium. It also has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Probiotic powder– The powder I use contains 20 billion probiotics per serving and 6 strains, it contains 20% of my daily fiber needs. It supports optimal digestive health, peak immune function, mood balance, hair and skin health. Sometimes it goes in the smoothie and sometimes in pill form.
There are many more things you can put into a smoothie but these are my go to ingredients that I use everyday. I make sure to use small amounts of each ingredient to not overwhelm the smoothie and make sure it still tastes as good as it can. As trained as my kids are, they do not like a yucky smoothie which means that it can’t be too thick, or bitter.
I make a variation of the same smoothie on most school mornings which is:
- Protein Powder
- Hemp Hearts
- Flora Oil
- Almond or Peanut Butter
- Almond Milk or Water
- Berries, and there are always Ruby Red Blueberries
- Then I change up the greens between Kale, Spinach or Broccoli
I’m not worried about portions of each, and adjust to taste. I know that if I use lots of Kale (like a bunch per 1 liter) I should add some extra Nut Butter to combat the strong taste of the Greens.
I then blend in my Vitamix 3500 and in 45 seconds we have a perfect, action packed, smoothie that has a lot of what my family needs to start their day.
More Action Packed Smoothies
Here are a few more action packed smoothies that we’ve developed in Culture Lab, specifically with kids in mind
The Brain Booster
- 1 Banana
- ½ Cup Blueberries
- 1 Small handful Spinach
- 2 Stalks Kale
- 1 Thumb Ginger
- 1 Tbsp Protein Powder
- 1 Cup Nut milk – or whatever nut mylk you prefer
Add all in the Vitamix, and blend.
- 1 Tbsp Almond butter
- 1.5 Banana
- 1 Thumb Turmeric
- 1 Thumb Ginger
- ¼ Lemon
- 1 Tsp Vanilla
- ½ Tsp Cinnamon
- ½ Tsp Maca
- 1 Cup Almond mylk – or whatever nut mylk you prefer
Add all in the Vitamix, and blend.
Buy The Ultimate Smoothie Maker – The Vitamix Ascent Series
My machine is the Vitamix 3500
As I mentioned above; you need a high powered blender to make a great smoothie that kids love. There’s no getting around this and when it comes to the most dependable, hardworking unit on the market; nothing compares to Vitamix.
We’ve sold a few thousand Vitamix machines and every single customer is happy with theirs. How do I know this? Because people tend to return $700 items when they’re not satisfied, and we have never had a return on a Vitamix. Actually, I speak with people all the time that love their machines and are very eager to learn how to make more creations. Hopefully the recipes above will help you make a wide range of smoothies.
And only from Cook Culture, we will include an added bonus of a $25.00 Cook Culture gift card to be used towards anything we sell. This is the best deal going, and only from Cook Culture.