Smoothies are such a simple and useful way to help your children reach their daily intake of fruit and vegetable targets. As an aside I believe that further to the current recommendations to eat 5 portions for fruit and vegetables a day, we need to be aiming for at least 7 portions a day and it seems the evidence base for this assertion is building. It’s very easy to jam-pack a smoothie with sweet fruits and not to think about vegetables, proteins, fats and added vitamins. That’s where vegetables and a smoothie booster can greatly increase the nutritional value of your smoothie. In fact I’ve created a 4 step formula to building a nutritionally balanced smoothie so that my children don’t end up with a smoothie comparable in sugar content to a can of cola!!
Step 1: Choose your greens – spinach, kale, or lettuce
Step 2: Add your fruit – apple, banana, mango, berries, citrus
Step 3: Add your ‘BOOSTER’ (see below)
Step 4: Top up with your choice of liquid – milk, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, rice milk, water
These are my top 5 child-friendly boosters and why I love them so much:
- Ground Flaxseeds/Linseeds – one of the richest plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids, a source of lignans that act as an anti-oxidant.
- Avocado – rich in fibre and a source of ‘good’ fats and more potassium than you’ll find in a banana
- Nuts or Nut Butters – cashew/almond/walnut – a source of minerals and vitamins as well as providing a boost to the immune system and some protein
- Pumpkin Seeds/Sunflower Seeds – A source of anti-oxidants, B vitamins and minerals. Also providing a little added protein.
- Natural Yogurt – Not only filled with good bacteria for your gut but also chock-full of protein, so it’ll help keep the kids satisfied for a while at least.