It’s back to school time! Are you having a hard time feeding your children real and healthy after school snacks? It can be a challenge, no doubt. Let’s be honest, not even adults want to eat healthy all the time. I can certainly relate. If I’m not careful, the go to after school snack at my house is to eat prepackaged or frozen foods. I remind my kids to go for something fresh, first. And usually it’s fruit or a fruit smoothie. My 12 year old daugher loves making her own smoothies after school or sometimes for a weekend snack.
Why make smoothies for your children?
Whether the smoothies are part of a healthy breakfast or an after school snack, smoothies are one way to help ensure your children get the essential vitamins and nutrients they need. Smoothies can also help establish healthy eating habits while also teaching your children to acquire the taste for real and natural foods. Bonus, a smoothie takes only a few minutes to prepare!
What should you put in smoothies that your kids will like?
Let your kids help you decide! You can have fun by letting your child suggest the ingredients they want to use or as they get older, letting them explore the different flavors and make the smoothies on their own. You can also sneak in ingredients like spinach, cauliflower, or dates. Nutrient packed goodies most kids don’t like to eat alone.
What are the basic ingredients to include in kid friendly smoothies?
You’ll want to keep the fridge stocked with your smoothie basics like almond milk, coconut milk, or low or fat free milk. You can also use yogurts provided they are not loaded with sugar or fruit jelly. Keep bananas on hand as they add a rich and creamy flavor to smoothies. For green smoothies, keep healthy greens like spinach, kale, or avocados. Avocados give smoothies a rich and creamy taste. Lastly, I keep some coconut water on hand for smoothies that don’t have a milk base to them. Sometimes my green or berry smoothies.
Pro tip! When I have bananas that are on the verge of getting too ripe, I peel them then stick them in the freezer for later. Frozen bananas help give the smoothies a creamy taste.
I don’t add any sweeteners to my smoothies. No sugar, honey, agave, and especially no artificial sweeteners. Fruits have enough natural sweetness to them so there is no need to add more. Plus, sugar defeats the purpose of healthy. For a natural sweet taste, add dates, pineapples, peaches, or mangos to your smoothies.
Use real food that is fresh.
I find the most important thing to make a delicious and healthy smoothie is to use fresh and in season fruits. In season fruits are usually at their most flavorful. I like to buy my fruits and veggies at my local Earth Fare, an organic and natural foods grocery store. When the first Earth Fare opened near me, I was excited by their slogan, “Real food for everyone.” Earth Fare offers shoppers a broad selection of local and organic fruit and veggies. I love that I can bring fresh, local produce to my kitchen just by shopping there.
Now for the recipes! Both of these have been kid tested and are favorites in my home. Promise me you’ll try them out and comeback to comment when you do!
Recipe: Blueberry & Banana Smoothie With FlaxSeed
Blueberry smoothies are always a crowd pleaser with my kids. Summer is blueberry season. I often keep fresh blueberries in the fridge for a light and tart snack in the house. Blended in a smoothie, the blueberries have even more flavor and the banana balances out the tartness. Blueberries offer are high in fiber, vitamin C and K, and contain important antioxidants giving this after school snack an A+!
- 8 oz of Almond Milk
- One banana (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries
- Teaspoon of cinnamon
- Tablespoon of Flaxseed
- Coconut flakes and cinnamon for garnish (optional)
- 3 ice cubes (if your fruit is not frozen)
Directions: Blend all ingredients and then garnish with coconut flakes and cinnamon. A fun straw always helps too!
Creamy Avocado and Banana Smoothie
Avocados is a nutrient packed fruit that most children will not eat alone. Avocados are a good source of fiber, vitamin K, copper, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C and healthy fats. I like to add a half avocado to my green smoothies because it gives the smoothie a rich and creamy flavor. I also add a handful of spinach that the kids do not even notice, some cinnamon, and of course, almond milk. This smoothie is a favorite for myself and the kids and makes a good breakfast on-the-go since it is very filling.
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 8 oz of Almond milk
- handful of spinach
- medium size banana
- dash of cinnamon
- 3-4 cubes of ice
Blend all ingredients then serve!