Moms of picky eaters unite. You know my struggle. I’m forever trying to come up with ways to get my almost 3-year old to eat vegetables. (Or anything other than pasta with butter, carbs, or massive quantities of fruit). My youngest, at 1-year old, is still game to eat pretty much whatever we put in front of her so I’ll ride that glorious phase out as long as it will last. I’ve taken the advice of several of my mom friends and have started getting creative with smoothies and packing them with nutrition while maintaining the yummy taste that will get said smoothie past my toddler’s lips.
There are a ton of ideas available on Instagram, Pinterest and even FCMB but lately I’ve been following a plug-and-play formula from yummytoddlerfood.com which has been working really well. She suggests the following components:
- Choose your milk. We typically use unsweetened almond milk. You can try half milk/half yogurt for a creamier texture.
- Add a ripe banana plus an extra fruit. My kids love berries so I will throw in a big handful of frozen mixed berries (or fresh, whatever I have on hand).
- Choose a veggie. Most of the time, I add fresh chopped spinach because I usually have some in the fridge, but I want to start branching out. I’ve seen recipes with steamed cauliflower, kale, beets, etc.
- Choose an optional add in to add more protein, fiber, or healthy fats. My kids love nut butters, and sometimes I’ll add some avocado if I have it on hand. Other add-ins include: hemp hearts, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, rolled oats, honey (not for babies under 1), or cocoa powder.
- Blend the smoothie really well. We use a Ninja.
- Serve. We use a straw cup for my oldest and a reusable pouch for my youngest.
I will also add that involving older toddlers in the process can be really fun for them and might make them more interested in sampling their “creation.” Though, I have tried this with mixed results in my house because my toddler currently loathes the sound of the blender (“too loud, mama!”). As with everything in parenting, another phase.
Here are some recent combos that we’ve come up with that the kids have liked; I’d love to hear about any of yours in the comments! I’m especially interested in suggestions for immunity boosters that can be added to smoothies as the cold winter months approach.
- Almond milk (unsweetened vanilla) / banana / spinach / pineapple / avocado
- Almond milk (plain) / banana / strawberries / peanut butter – tastes like a PB&J!
- Almond milk (unsweetened vanilla) / banana / blueberries (frozen) / avocado / cocoa powder