Are you looking for any possible mode of transport for getting more green foods into your children’s diets? Try making a delicious green smoothie for kids!
Green smoothies for kids can actually be quite delicious as a snack or meal that they look forward to.
Let’s take a look at where green smoothies rank on the health scale, tips for making them kid-friendly, and a simple formula to create your own.
Make sure you read to the end for the Banana Pineapple Green Smoothie recipe that my kids love!
Are green smoothies good for kids?
Green smoothies are great for kids on so many levels.
They are fabulous for teaching kids about nutrition, boosting veggie intake, and engaging kids to in the fun of making a healthy meal or snack.
Getting kids to eat more veggies
It’s hard to argue that eating nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables is necessary for good health, but very few kids (or adults) meet their daily needs — and the standards are already low.
The processed food industry and poor agricultural practices have caused highly palatable nutrient-void products to win out over fresh produce.
But, there are many ways we can overcome this battle — including making real food for kids a fun family activity and incorporating veggies right into the beloved smoothie! Green smoothies boost vegetable intake and increase kids’ interest in beautifully colored wholesome foods.
The nutrients kids need
Fruits and veggies (especially veggies!) contain key vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber that are vital to a child’s health.
Sure, these nutritional components can be found in a chewy multivitamin, but there’s a magic in real food that can’t be replaced by a pill. Kids need to eat the actual foods for true benefit.
Smoothies for a balanced diet
Green smoothies aren’t a token to health by themselves, however, they can be a beneficial part of a balanced diet.
Smoothies can quickly become a sugar bomb in a healthy disguise. But, with these few tips in mind, they can be just the ticket to round out a meal.
- Always add leafy greens and healthy fats like nut butter, avocado, or full-fat coconut milk.
- Serve smoothies with a side of meat, nuts and seeds, or hard-boiled eggs for additional protein.
- Use whole fruits, rather than fruit juice, to increase fiber and decrease sugar for a healthy gut.
Tips for making kid-friendly green smoothies
There are helpful techniques for making green smoothies fun and more palatable for young tastebuds. Flavors, colors, consistency, and convenience all play a role.
Play with flavors
Adding a delicious pop of flavor can bring a smoothie to life, and keep sugar on the down-low.
Try a variety of frozen fruit combinations, a small handful of fresh herbs, or cacao and cinnamon to change up the flavor of your go-to smoothies.
Color code (friend or foe of green)
Some kids love the vibrant color of a bright green smoothie, while others will lock their mouth at the site of the color alone. If you want the green to shine, add fruits that are white, yellow, or green themselves:
- Green (or peeled) apples
If green foods send your kids running for the hills, add deeply colored fruits to highlight a purple hue:
A creamy consistency can be both texturally pleasing and nutritionally satisfying.
Avocados, yogurt, nut butter, and coconut milk are examples of awesomely delicious creamy additions, full of healthy fats for longer lasting nourishment.
Kids can help!
Not only is it fun for kids to help add ingredients and safely press the power button on the blender, but it also gives them a sense of autonomy. Kids love learning to safely use kitchen appliances and choosing the foods that go in.
Selecting produce they helped grow in a garden, or greens, herbs, and fruits from a local farmer’s market can increase their excitement over making and enjoying a green smoothie for kids.
DIY smoothie freezer packs
Making your own smoothie freezer packs as part of your weekly meal prep makes real food more convenient, and encourages kids to opt for a healthy snack.
Simply add the greens and prepared fruits to a quart-sized freezer safe mason jar with a lid, or a quart-sized freezer bag, and store in the freezer. When it’s time to make a smoothie, you or your kids can pull out the freezer pack, add the liquid, and any other additions to a blender for an easy snack!
DIY smoothie packs are even fun for kids to put together. When they are a part of the process, they are much more likely to enjoy the end result.
How to make kid-friendly green smoothies
When you have a simple formula to guide you and your kids on a path to healthy foods, it opens the door to creativity. This is the five-step process we use in our house to build delicious green smoothies for kids.
1. Choose your liquid
The liquid in a smoothie helps you reach a consistency you love, and it can also add a dose of nutrition. I like to start with one cup and add more at the end if thinning is necessary.
- Cow or goat milk (whole)
- Almond milk (unsweetened)
- Macadamia milk (unsweetened)
- Coconut milk (unsweetened)
- Oat milk (unsweetened)
- Coconut water
2. Pick your greens
Having something green as a part of each meal is one of my favorite rules, and it fits perfectly into a healthy green smoothie for kids!
Ideally, I like to add about two cups of packed greens, but you can start small and slowly increase the amount as your kids get used to the taste.
Baby spinach, baby kale, and chard are great mild greens to play with. And, don’t forget the power of herbs — add a pinch of fresh chopped parsley, mint, basil, or cilantro for a little pizzazz.
3. Select your fruit
The sky’s the limit when it comes to fruit! Two cups is a good rule of thumb, but you can mix and match, and opt for fresh or frozen.
- Lemon or lime
4. Add a thickener
Some kiddos like their smoothies thin and some like them thick, but we always aim for some sort of “thickener” for added nutrition, texture, and excitement. Here are some of our favorites:
- Full-fat yogurt (can be dairy-free) – ¼ cup
- Nut butter – 2 Tbsp
- Avocado – ¼ to ½
- Hemp seeds – 2 Tbsp
- Chia seeds (soaked) – 2 Tbsp
- Flax seeds (ground) – 2 Tbsp
- Coconut oil – 2 Tbsp
- Oats – ¼ cup
- Ice – ½ cup
5. Boost the flavor
Most green smoothies don’t need any added sweetener if they also include fruit. If a little extra sweetness helps your kids drink it, I recommend natural options, such as local honey or pitted dates.
Other flavor boosters include fresh herbs, vanilla, cinnamon, ground ginger, or cacao! Have fun exploring within this category.
Make this Banana Pineapple Green Smoothie with your kids
The recipe for a green smoothie for kids shared below celebrates the “green” in a green smoothie. It has a thick consistency for those who love a cold and creamy treat. You can certainly adjust the amounts of liquid, or play with flavor additions to suit your family’s tastes.
Try these other delicious smoothie ideas with your kids as well:Print
- 1 cup macadamia milk (plus more to thin if desired)
- 2 cups packed baby spinach
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup pineapple, frozen
- ¼ to ½ avocado
- 2 Tbsp almond butter (or other nut butter)
- 1 Tbsp honey (optional)
- ½ tsp pure vanilla
- Add all ingredients to a high powered blender. Blend on high until well mixed and smooth.
- Serve in two cups.