Whether your kids or your nieces and nephews are textbook picky eaters, or you’ve got the kind of kid who likes one vegetable—only one—and refuses every other, smoothies are a great way to pull a fast one and sneak them a vegetable without it being detected. More than that, making healthy smoothies for kids can be fun for the whole family, an activity where kids of all ages can squish bananas, pluck grapes, and help throw foods in the blender for the fun of watching them spin.
Below are some yummy smoothie recipes that can be shared with kids and adults, with care taken to identify common allergens and to make sure your smoothies are not only full of your kid’s favorite ingredients, but also fun for the whole family.
Healthy Smoothies for Kids with Allergies
Here are recipes that are nut- and dairy-free for those with nut allergies and/or lactose intolerance.
A great way to use those bananas you froze before they could go bad on your watch, and to get some avocado into your kid under the guise of cocoa powder and fresh berries. Use coconut milk for blending, and if the bananas are frozen, get them out a little early in prep to let them thaw for easier blending.
This imitation Orange Julius combines coconut milk, fun-size mandarin oranges that the kids can eat as finger foods while you fill the blender with ice cubes, orange juice, honey, vanilla, and the option of gelatin or matcha powder for the added benefits.
Replace almond milk for coconut milk in cases of nut allergies, and then combine banana, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and chia seeds. The chia seeds will swell up and take on a gel-like consistency with enough time to soak, giving your smoothies a richer texture and your kids a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Multiply the recipe by how many people are in your party, and mix it up!
Another smoothie that utilizes chia seeds, this time with black and blueberries, coconut milk, oats, and a dollop of maple syrup on top (you just know the littler kids will have fun squirting that in at the end). Delightfully purple, rich, and creamy, this high-fiber treat would also make a wonderful after-school snack for older kids, especially if they’re about to head to soccer practice or some other athletic pursuit.
One cup of beets, blueberries, a chopped banana, and some orange juice: that’s about all it takes to sneak beets into your kids. The fruits mask the taste, and the color can be attributed to the blueberries if they get suspicious, because somehow they always know just a little bit more today than they did yesterday, right? They’ll be picking locks soon at this rate.
Healthy Smoothies with Milk
Here are recipes that include milk or yogurt, which can always be subbed out for soy or coconut milk if you like the rest of the ingredients but cannot abide cow’s milk or other dairy products in your house.
How about a breakfast smoothie to send the kids off to school with? Combine old-fashioned oats, a banana, some Greek yogurt, frozen strawberries, and a cup of milk, and you’ve got a full, balanced breakfast in a cup! A great way to start the day for anyone.
Here’s another breakfast alternative, and nothing to be ashamed of. Hey: if you buy your kids fortified cereal and they’re willing to drink it rather than eat it.. let them drink cake! For a cake-like thick consistency, blend up some cereal along with the milk that normally accompanies it, a cup of yogurt, some honey if it makes it more tasty, and sprinkle a few Fruity Pebbles or Cheerios on top at the end for a silly, fun garnish.
Maybe for older kids who can handle the complexity, this sunshine-bright smoothie has mango, milk, turmeric, yogurt, saffron, cinnamon, and cumin. It’s also yellow as a school bus and packed full of healthy nutrients. A great smoothie for when when your kid or kids have a test, to keep them full, focused, and bright.
You read that right: quinoa. Combine the gluten-free grain quinoa, some frozen or fresh peaches, some peach or vanilla yogurt, and 1 cup of milk, and you’ve just snuck a grain and a superfood into your child like a magician. Make this a healthy breakfast on a Monday, and start the week off right by making sure your kid is full of nutrients that will keep them satisfied and focused on school until lunch.
Vegetable time: one raw carrot, some frozen bananas, milk, Greek yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup to sweeten it, and now you’ve got your kid eating carrots without watching them gag with all the theatrics of a future drama major. Success!
Healthy Smoothies with Nuts
These recipes contain nuts and nut butters (and sometimes milk too), so may not be appropriate for all families, but if you can utilize nut butters, you can make life very sweet.
Smoothie enough for two, combine peanut butter, banana, milk, cocoa powder, flaxseed, and some spinach for extra health. Use honey or maple syrup for super sweetness if desired, and share this smoothie with your kid, because it’s a good choice for all who can partake.
Go nuts with the sweetness of nut butter by combining the delicious hazelnut spread Nutella with milk, Greek yogurt, strawberries, and a banana, and then enjoy a really tasty treat for dessert. These kid-friendly ingredients will have them requesting this smoothie all the time!
With a pear, peaches, yogurt, almonds, cranberries, and maple syrup, this kid-friendly smoothie boasts health benefits like fiber, vitamin C, healthy fats, and traces of zinc, all of which are great for kids and for heart health specifically.
Though it seems decadent to combine almond butter, cocoa powder, a banana, and Greek yogurt together, the whole operation is redeemed by including some protein powder for an extra boost. If your kid’s a vegetarian this year, you can even show support and get them protein powders flavored like chocolate to make the whole thing so delicious you can hardly believe you’re eating responsibly, but you are!
It’s spinach time: if your kid doesn’t run screaming at green, make this monster-green smoothie that doesn’t taste like vegetables at all. Just let the sweet ingredients take over. Combine almond butter, spinach, almond milk, flax seeds, a ripe banana, and some frozen pineapple chunks to make a drink as green as Kryptonite. If your kids do balk at green that’s okay too, because you can make about the same recipe and turn it chocolate brown instead.
You’re a Smoothie Operator
Not only can utilizing smoothie technology help you combine foods in new variations and expose your kid to new flavors and access to hidden nutrients, but you can also turn it into a fun activity for younger kids to play with their food. Making smoothies together can also serve as a learning opportunity to teach older kids about healthy ingredients and how to prepare them.
So many of these recipes can be prepared with frozen ingredients or pantry fare, so you can have a smoothie party at whim if you choose the right recipe. If you’ve got fresh fruit, even better: never let it go to waste when there’s a blender and a bright idea waiting to turn it into something special.