One of the biggest problems parents face is making sure that their children are getting enough nutrition. Additionally, planning meals is hard enough with our busy schedules! Thankfully, recipes for hidden vegetable smoothies make delicious and nutritious in-between meal snacks that are great for kids!
Smoothies are a fantastic way to get veggies into picky eaters because of their ease of creation. Toss clean ingredients into a blender, fill a spill-proof cup, and hand it off to a kid on the go. This way, the child has nutrition readily available, and mom has minimal clean up. Not to mention, the health benefits of smoothies are plentiful. Additionally, smoothies can also be made to fit individual tastes. Leafy greens, carrots, and herbs can be disguised with sweet and colorful fruit. This custom drink leaves kids feeling like they’ve been given a treat! Also, moms are relieved knowing that their kids have received their daily dose of fresh vitamins.
Hidden Vegetable Smoothie Recipes: Bananas & Nut Butters
After some research, two ingredients appear to be key for smoothies. In several recipes, many moms of picky eaters turned to nut butters and bananas. Pagan parenting author Janet Callahan uses smoothie blends to help feed her children when on feeding tubes. She shares the benefits of certain ingredients to hide flavors: “With enough banana and almond butter (and a really good blender) you can cover the taste of anything…peas…eggs…chicken…” Here’s an easy recipe below:
Chunky Monkey Smoothie Recipe
- 1 medium, ripe banana (this is a great way to use up bananas with brown spots that picky eaters frown upon)
- 2 tablespoons nut or seed butter of choice
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup milk of choice
- A pinch of nutmeg and/or cinnamon
- Consider tossing in some carob nips or a little cacao for a chocolate treat!
Mild Tasting Vegetables Are Easier to Disguise
In addition, busy mom Valesa Linnean recommends using greens that are lighter in taste such as chard, beet greens, or baby spinach. “Tossing in parsley or Kale makes it too green for them,” she explains, referring to her two children. When smoothies are too green, it helps to add a strong flavor to transform the taste of a smoothie. Tropical flavors like pineapple, banana, and coconut are strong enough to hide most green herbal flavors like spinach. Here’s a great recipe to try:
Tropical Jungle-Green Smoothie
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 medium banana, peeled
- 1 medium mango or 4 oz mango puree
- coconut shavings as an optional topping
- dehydrated banana slices as an optional topping
While some green smoothie recipes turn kids off just on flavor alone, other moms can get away with naming them something fun. Consequently, names like Superhero Power Juice or Shrek Goo don’t always win over the picky eater. Thankfully, the green is as easy to hide as the taste of the veggies inside. “Throwing in blueberries and/or a chunk of beet also helps because it becomes a red or purple smoothie instead of green, which the kiddos prefer,” says Valesa.
Hidden Vegetable Smoothie Recipes: Smoothie Pop
Luckily, you don’t just have to drink a smoothie! Using a basic popsicle mold, parents can turn any smoothie recipe into a frozen treat. In addition, kids love them as a snack on a hot day or healthier dessert option. Mother Jillian Malone shares, “I make all kinds of smoothies, mixing whatever I have. My smoothie popsicles are a real hit. Thankfully, they are a great way to sneak in a yam.”
In addition, I am also a fan of these smoothie pops for a healthy dessert. The whole family can enjoy most of these recipes for taste and health benefits!
No Blender, No Problem
In addition, many smoothie blends work without a blender! Turn fruit and veggie baby food purees from the jar into frozen smoothie treats. By hand, mix the fruit and vegetable puree in a little bit of yogurt or kefir for a creamy texture kids often associate with ice cream. My son’s favorite is apple and pumpkin puree with yogurt and a hint of cinnamon – it tastes similar to pumpkin pie!
Also, many parents don’t even use recipes! Therefore, most moms prefer to use what is in season or on hand. “We never follow a smoothie recipe at my house. I throw in whatever we have in the fridge, freezer, or counter top: it usually includes some combination of yogurt, milk, banana, frozen berries, and other fruit. Also, I sometimes add peanut butter, avocado, or spinach for an extra boost. My kids love to get involved and make it their own, which I find makes them more likely to enjoy it!” – Jasmine Almeida at Happiest Mama. Another fun tip: go green with reusable produce bags to help carry your fruits & veggies in style.
Do your kids enjoy smoothies? Which vegetables do you like to hide inside?