Most parents probably can relate to the challenge of getting the suggested serving of fruits and vegetables into your Little Foodies each day. That applies to even the best of eaters. It is even more challenging if you enjoy dining out and stick to ordering off a children’s menu, as veggie options are frankly abysmal (no, french fries do not count!) And we are typically relegated to under-ripe, hard-as-a-rock honeydew and cantaloupe when ordering fresh fruit. Therefore, we drink a lot of smoothies these days to pack in all the wonderful nutrients that come with eating fruits and veggies. Whether for breakfast, a snack, or dessert, we’ve gotten very creative in our house. While smoothies have always been a staple for me (my mother’s only successful way to get me to eat breakfast before an exam in high school), I have taken it to a whole new level with My Little Foodies. It’s fun, easy, creative, and rarely can you mess up!! Here are few tips to get your started:
1. A basic blender is all you need for fruit smoothies. Something higher-powered like a Vitamix will be able to puree leafy greens and the harder fruits and vegetables more effectively with less liquid.
2.Raid your grocery store for a variety of frozen fruits that you can keep in the freezer year round. You will avoid the high costs of out of season fruits (like berries in the winter) that are fantastic for smoothie-making. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have a great selection of frozen organics.
3. Buy additional in-season fruits and veggies at your local Farmer’s Market.
4. Freeze any fruit that is getting overripe to avoid waste.
5. Always freeze bananas. They are the perfect, creamy addition to any smoothie.
6. Cut up all of your fruit and veggies ahead of time and store in fridge/freezer for easy smoothie preparation throughout the week.
7. Consider adding just a touch of agave nectar in lieu of sugar for sweetness.
8. Consider using coconut water instead of juice, and unsweetened almond milk instead cow’s milk to minimize sugar.
9. Always try to include some frozen fruits in your smoothie in lieu of ice. This prevents your smoothies from becoming watery. If your smoothie is too watery, add more frozen fruits. If it is too thick, simply add more liquid.
10. Pour your smoothie in a popsicle mold to mix things up.
Get your Little Foodies involved: growing or shopping for fruits and veggies, creating their own recipes, and chopping up the produce with a kid-friendly knife. Don’t forget to bookmark this page and share with friends, as I will be adding one new smoothie (and maybe the occasional shake) recipe each week!