It’s a time-honoured tradition for parents: scheming up ways to trick your kids into eating veggies. I vividly remember my Mom attempting to put mushrooms in my pancakes when I was 6 - I still haven’t forgiven her. The kid in the picture above doesn't exist... for even the most well-adjusted kids, this is war.
Savvy parents know that smoothies are an easy win. They’re easy to prepare, taste great, and they don’t look like veggies (this is important for lots of kids). But! You’re walking a delicate line. If you nail the healthy smoothie, you’ve won the kitchen’s biggest battle. If you mess a couple up, your kid may lose faith in your smoothie-making skills and you’ll be back to Fruit Loops for breakfast.
So how can you hit that perfect balance of healthy and kid-friendly? I’ve got a few secrets:
1. They don't have to be green
Most kids have been conditioned by years of steamed broccoli to equate “green” with “yuck”. If you want to win them over, start with healthy smoothies that look more like dessert than lunch. That doesn’t mean they can’t be packed full of veggies - you just need to take a page out of their colouring book.
When it comes to smoothie ingredients, there are dominant and nondominant colours. You can put in certain ingredients that will have a dominating effect, taking over the colour of the smoothie and displacing the others. On the other hand, there are some ingredients that won’t have any effect on the colour. Here’s a quick guide to hiding #thegoodstuff in your kids’ smoothies:
Passive Colour Ingredients: Kale, beets, spinach, yams, banana, oats, most seeds, most herbs
Active Colour Ingredients:
Red: Raspberries, Goji berries, carrots
Dark: Cacao nibs, blackberries
Use one active ingredient with a combination of passive ones to control your colour.
BONUS: Name your smoothies to make your kids love them. Blue=Captain America, Red=Spiderman, Dark=Batman. Booyeah.
2. Sweeten the deal
When it comes to the solid ingredients, focus on the good stuff and aim to have slightly more veggies than fruits. But don’t be afraid to treat them with the liquid base. There are plenty of options for sweet liquids that have great health benefits:
- 100% pure fruit juice
- Coconut water
- Milk (or Almond milk)
These will maximize kid-friendliness, which allows you to maximize veggie-ness.
3. Supersize it
One large smoothie can be enough for 3-4 people. Not only is this extra-convenient, it also has a great social effect. If you start by drinking the smoothie yourself, then get your oldest (or most responsible) sibling to drink it, soon you can have the whole family eating great every morning. This works great with roommates too.
Of course, if you don’t have time to make your own amazing smoothies every morning, you may want to try The Good Stuff's Kid-Friendly Bundle ;).