Who says a nutritious meal or snack is something you need to eat? Smoothies for kids are easy and fun to make, and if done right, they can deliver simple-to-sip essential nutrients too.
Smoothies vs. Juices vs. Shakes
Let’s first break down the differences between popular beverage options for kids:
Smoothies are great nutritious snacks for kids because they take whole foods, like fruits and vegetables with all their natural fiber and nutrients and blend them up into something that’s easy to drink. They’re one simple strategy for folding important nutrition into your child’s day.
Juices are different from smoothies, because the liquid is drained from the fibrous pulp and other solids. This preserves a lot of the vitamins and minerals but not the fiber.
Shakes tend to be based on milk, ice cream or non-dairy alternatives. There is less of a fine line between shakes and smoothies, since smoothies can use dairy or dairy alternatives as the liquid base. But what sets smoothies apart is their use of fruits and vegetables.
Smoothies Can Deliver Nutrients Kids Need
Smoothies are a clever way to have kids get fruits and vegetables. They can also be a terrific vehicle for protein, a critical nutrient for growth and building muscle. The key is to make the smoothie both nutritious (using whole/unsweetened fruits, vegetables, high-quality protein and/or dairy) and delicious (incorporating ingredients that kids like, such as strawberries, peanut butter, or vanilla).
Smoothies Are So Forgiving
The great thing about smoothies is that virtually anything goes! Whatever ingredients you have on hand are probably good enough to mix together a tasty, nutritious drink. The downside is that without an ingredient list or specific measurements, it can be hard to replicate a mixed-on-the-fly masterpiece.
6 Smoothie Recipe Inspirations
Whether you’re new to blending, or you need some fresh ideas, here are some recipes to try:
Blue Banana Smoothie. This recipe has it all – fruits, vegetables, fiber, calcium and more. Pour 1 cup of milk into a blender and add ½ cup each of frozen banana slices and frozen blueberries. Add 1 cup (or one handful) of baby spinach. Blend and pour (serves one).
Green Smoothie. Really lean into the green by using spinach and pear, plus banana. The liquid base for this smoothie is a mix of milk and Classic French Vanilla Flavored Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Original Powder Drink Mix. The vanilla flavor adds great taste without taking away from the kid-appealing green color, and by using Carnation Breakfast Essentials® drink mix, you’ll get high-quality protein plus essential vitamins and minerals (makes two servings)
Tropical Fruit Yogurt Smoothie. For a trip to the tropics in the comfort of your kitchen, try this yogurt-based smoothie. The yogurt and oats can make this a thick drink, so either serve it in a bowl to eat with a spoon, or water it down before pouring into glasses. All it takes is one 6-oz cup of low-fat tropical fruit-flavored yogurt, like guava, passion fruit or pineapple. Mix in mango chunks and banana slices, 1/3 cup uncooked oats, ½ cup 100% juice and ½ cup milk. Add ginger for a fun flavor. Mix and pour (makes two servings).
Peanut Butter Smoothie. This tasty treat also packs a protein punch. Mix Rich Milk Chocolate Flavored Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Original Powder Drink Mix with peanut butter, milk and frozen banana. Add some ice cubes to get the right texture and temperature. It makes two servings – one for your child and one for you!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Smoothie. Greens don’t need to be the only vegetable used in a smoothie! Canned pumpkin is a terrific source of fiber and vitamin A. This nutritious smoothie is made with vanilla yogurt, fat-free milk, canned pumpkin and spices for delicious flavor that will make you think you’re indulging in a decadent dessert.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie. Sometimes the most traditional flavors are the best. Power up a strawberry-banana smoothie by using a triple-threat of protein: milk, yogurt and Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Original Powder Drink Mix with banana and strawberries. Just blend and enjoy – simple and delicious!
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