You’ll read in this post about how I have to cheat just a little bit in order to make these smoothies for my kids. But at least these are still nourishing smoothies, and my kids all love them! Even my high schooler.
As you know, Matt and I drink our salads – loading our smoothies with a huge amount of greens, then blending in frozen fruit and milk. We don’t add any sweeteners, and we are good with that. The fruit sweetens these enough for us, and at the end of the day, we are simply trying to get as much nourishment as possible during these days that it’s very difficult to even find time to eat at all.
Our kids though? They aren’t huge fans. Who can blame them? They like their smoothies sweeter than we do. And the truth is the amount of greens that I put in “the adult smoothies” is pretty substantial. Spring mix in that amount does change the taste of the smoothie and indeed, green (greens) and red (fruit) make brown. So our smoothies aren’t pretty. :)
When there is this much sweetness going on at our house,
why would Matt and I need to add sweetener to our smoothies? Ok then.
How to Make Nourishing Smoothies that are Kid Friendly
Back when I “only had four kids” who weren’t all babies at the same time, I took the time to add separate ingredients to my smoothies. Goodness, somehow I even had a freezer full of fruits that we had picked, prepared, and frozen ourselves!! (How in the world did I ever have time to do all that work!?) I sweetened those smoothies with maple syrup or honey, and my kids guzzled them down.
I know it may sound silly, but as I’ve shared so many times lately, I’m often preparing food with just one hand as I am almost always holding one of our babies. So getting a bunch of different ingredients out of the fridge or freezer to add to the blender? Well, I’ve just found that I have to keep everything to a minimum.
The solution I’ve found is a bit of a cheater method. I buy frozen mixed fruit in bulk from Costco (which is totally not cheating – those good fruits are there to save us all, amen!). Bags of mixed fruit make it easier to give us a variety without pulling out several different bags. One bag. Two or seven fruits. Beautiful!
But here’s the cheat part: I use containers of Vanilla Yogurt. I add around 16 ounces to our blender, along with milk. This covers three ingredients with one grab from the fridge (vanilla, yogurt, and sweetener), so the vanilla yogurt sweetens the kids’ smoothies and flavors them too. Yes, it adds sugar to their smoothies. I’ve decided that I don’t actually care. THIS IS HOW I GET MY KIDS TO EAT SPINACH.
Oh yeah. Because I put fresh spinach into my Blendtec when I make these too. Not as much as I do when I make smoothies for Matt and me. But enough to be sure they all get a nice serving of fresh greens. Between the tasty fruits and the sweetened yogurt – every single one of my kids will drink a big cup full of smoothie and some of them ask for more.
They even know there’s spinach included and I think they are kind of proud. (And probably relieved that they aren’t being forced to eat a salad with dinner.)
These cups hide weird smoothie colors
If I add greens to the blender along with frozen blueberries and strawberries, the dark color of the berries hides the greens. But if I add greens to the blender along with bananas and peaches, the smoothies turn out…not pretty. No matter! All the kids drink their smoothies better from cups with lids and straws anyway. These cups make it fun (except for when they argue about who gets which cup, oy).
Nourishing Smoothies My Kids Actually Love
Here’s “the recipe” even though we all know that measuring ingredients into a smoothie isn’t a real thing. So add the words “give or take” to any of these as you make smoothies based on what you have and what you can put into your blender with one hand.
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 3 cups frozen fruit (any combination of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, peaches, pineapple, oranges, or grapes)
- 2 cups vanilla yogurt
- 2 cups milk
- Blend ingredients together in a high power blender until smooth.
My favorite smoothie trick is adding some raw oats. Yes, it’s one more container to grab, but it’s easy to sprinkle some in. (I never measure it.) It really helps add some bulk so that the smoothie fills you up more, and of course, it adds other good nutrients, too!
Bethany Lotulelei says
Ooh, I love this tip! I am going to try it, thanks!
-Bethany (Laura’s assistant)