One fun way to get your kids their full servings of fruit and veg is through delicious baby-friendly smoothies. Smoothies aren’t just nutritious and easy to make but can also be a fun activity to share with your little ones. Children love being involved in the kitchen and set up is easy. All you need is a blender, juice plus fresh fruits and vegetables.
For very small children like toddlers who are new to self-feeding making a smoothie is a good opportunity to experience new tastes and food textures. They can experience small bites of fresh ingredients and then all together in a blended masterpiece. You can also use your ingredients to teach them about both color and nutrition, explaining that it’s important to eat different colored produce every day for a healthy body. Older kids can learn to associate different colors with different body parts (red helps our heart, orange helps our eyes and skin and green is healthy for our whole bodies for example).
Baby food smoothies offer wonderful benefits:
- Great way to introduce new foods to baby.
- Increased nutrient absorption and improved digestion.
- Healthy way to get vegetables into picky eaters.
- Smoothies are great on the go!
- Fun project to do with your child.
For new self-feeders, baby food smoothies are a yummy way to experience sipping and using a straw. A completely different technique than scooping purees, smoothies can help encourage proper sipping and sucking as they learn about timing, pressure and other refined eating skills.
To start, we suggest using a cup with a secure base to keep it in place as your child learns. This will prevent knock-over spills and your child spilling smoothie on their clothing. A lid will also prevent further mess. Soft silicone straws are preferred for babies and young children and stainless steel is a green alternative to plastic straws suitable for both adults and kids!We suggest our 1-2-3 Sip! Cup - perfect for smoothies.
Smoothies are also a great way to get nutritious fruit and vegetables into picky eaters. Who can resist a cold, sweet smoothie?
Baby food smoothies can be made with any ingredients you like, but if you need a starting place here’s how to get started:
- Choose a juice or milk. Apple is a good juice to start with and any type of milk will suffice, dairy, soy, almond, whatever your pleasure.
- Add some fruit. Nutritious fruits like mango, papaya, blueberries, avocado and bananas are healthy, kid-friendly choices. You can use fresh, frozen or a mix of the two.
- Select your veggies. If your child is new to smoothies, start with mild vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini, carrots or celery. Later you can introduce the good leafy greens that many kids don’t like on their own such as kale, spinach, swiss chard or beet greens.
- Blend! You can add more liquid if your child prefers a thinner smoothie or add some ice or frozen yogurt cubes for a thicker “milkshake” effect.
- Add the liquid first for the easiest blend.
- Start on the slowest setting and then increase the speed.
- Frozen greens offer the same great nutrients but taste less “green.” Wash and thoroughly dry your own greens and place in freezer bags if your child objects to the taste of fresh.
- Create your smoothie combinations in bulk then bag and freeze for simple one-step smoothies later.
- Use muffin tins or ice cube trays to freeze smoothie add-ins like yogurt or juice cubes to add to your prepared smoothie combos.