Step Up Your Smoothie Game

Smoothies are parenting magic. For many parents, myself included, smoothies have come to represent a nearly foolproof method for delivering vitamins, protein, and nutrients into kids. All this goodness contained within a drink that kids are actually excited to ingest, and you have a parenting win you can pull out daily.

You can’t go wrong with most combinations in a blender, but it’s pretty common to find yourself in a smoothie rut using the same old ingredients. So here are some ideas for additions that can amp up the nutritional value on those delicious little drinks.

 

  • Silken Tofu

 

My go to to pack a protein punch. It’s inexpensive, has an excellent shelf-life, is virtually tasteless, and the silken version blends perfectly.

Try it:

⅓ cup silken tofu

⅓ cup frozen blueberries

½ banana

½ cup water

1 tsp syrup or honey as optional sweetener

 

  • Beans

 

Is there anything beans can’t do? Fiber, protein, iron, antioxidants…not high on many kid’s favorite food list, but blend them up and they’ll happily sip down all the benefits.

Try it:

¼ cup canned white beans, rinsed

1 cup milk of choice

½ cup frozen peaches or mango

1 tsp syrup or honey as optional sweetener

 

  • Plain Greek Yogurt

 

The protein in yogurt is great, but so are the probiotics. Not to mention it’s a super source of calcium for bone strength and vitamin B12 for healthy brain function.

Try It:

½ cup plain greek yogurt

½ cup juice squeezed from an orange

½ cup frozen peaches

½ tsp vanilla extract

 

  • Coconut Milk

 

This thick, flavorful ingredient is easy to keep on hand in its canned form so it’s ready to go. Coconut milk has loads of vitamins and can be a great source of energy for kids who are constantly on the go – keeping in mind that it is not a low-calorie or low-fat food, so adjust portions according to your family’s specific needs.

Try It:

⅓ cup unsweetened coconut milk

½ cup spinach (fresh or frozen)

½ frozen banana (add 2 ice cubes if banana is fresh)

¼ avocado

1 tsp syrup or honey as optional sweetener

 

  • Steamed Carrots

 

Carrots have a sweetness to them that lends perfectly to smoothies, and can be steamed easily in a bowl of water in the microwave. A great way to get those nutritious veggies in.

Try It:

½ cup steamed carrots (approx. 1 small carrot cut in pieces)

½ cup frozen mango

½ cup water

1 tsp syrup or honey as optional sweetener

 

  • Ground Flax Seed

 

Protein. Vitamin B6. Folate. Iron. Magnesium. Omegas. Name a health buzz word and it’s probably found in flax seeds. Make sure you buy them ground for smoothies; they should be the consistency of ground coffee.

Try It:

1 tbsp ground flax seed

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 frozen banana (add 2 ice cubes if banana is fresh)

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp syrup or honey as optional sweetener

 

  • Cottage Cheese

 

The signature texture of cottage cheese is the opposite of “smooth.” But blended, it brings a delicious creaminess to your smoothie. Not to mention, it helps the body by strengthening muscles, bones, and the immune system.

Try It:

½ cup cottage cheese

½ cup frozen raspberries

½ cup milk of choice

1 tsp syrup or honey as optional sweetener

 

  • Cauliflower

 

All vegetables are fair game for smoothies, but cauliflower is a favorite because of it’s maskable flavor and color. We like to use the frozen riced cauliflower since it can be cooked easily in the microwave with a little water and blends well.

Try It:

½ cup cooked riced cauliflower

3-4 strawberries (fresh or frozen)

½ cup milk of choice

½ frozen banana (add 2 ice cubes if banana is fresh)

1 tsp syrup or honey as optional sweetener

 

Resources:

https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20886500,00.html

https://www.yogurtinnutrition.com/8-ways-greek-yogurt-benefits-health/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-milk#nutrition

https://foodrevolution.org/blog/health-benefits-flaxseed/

https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/9-benefits-cottage-cheese/