These hidden-veggie smoothies are simple to make and are even easier to customise for breakfast or as a snack when your child with cancer is struggling to eat but needs the nutrition to fight the cancer.
One of the best ways to help your child eat more fruit and vegetables is to pack them into smoothies. By starting with one master smoothie recipe and varying it based on what your child likes (and taking any food allergies into consideration), you can increase the likelihood that they will actually drink it.
Avoid going too overboard with veggies and things like chia seeds as this may have the opposite effect and you will not get your child to try these smoothies again…
It is best to stay away from any green smoothies in the beginning, as this may remind your child too much of the veggies they are trying to avoid – pink, orange, purple, or even white smoothies are often much less alarming than green ones. Once you have a smoothie fan you can try introducing a green smoothie.
Make Smoothies Step-by-Step
To help ensure a good texture and flavour in our veggie smoothies, we pick just a few ingredients each time and keep the flavours simple. We also don’t add things like bee pollen or collagen or protein powder because while I know that some swear by these types of smoothie boosts, I find them to be expensive and not very accessible for most people. (If you like them or want to try them, by all means, go for it!) Here’s a look at the process involved in making smoothies for kids.
- Choose your milk. (dairy, non-dairy, almond milk etc.)
- Choose a ripe banana plus an extra fruit.
- Choose a veggie.
- Choose an optional add in to add more protein, fibre, or healthy fats.
- Blend the smoothie really well to ensure that it has a very creamy texture.
How to Make the Best Hidden Veggie Smoothies
Here are some tips to consider when making fruit and veggie smoothies for your kids—even if your kids don’t usually like them!
- If you can store the greens in the freezer, the finished product will taste much less “green” but will have the same nutrition. Just make sure the greens are dry, then put them into a zip top freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Blend really (really!) well to get a very smooth consistency, adding a little more milk (or even water) as needed to thin.
- You can get a less thick texture which some kids prefer, by using fresh fruit rather than frozen – and this is also a good option for winter days when a frozen drink is less than ideal.
- You can use yoghurt in place of milk if you add a fruit with a lot of liquid like a clementine or orange.
- Try using half milk and half yoghurt for a creamier texture some children may prefer.
- Serve the smoothies in a in a cup/mug with a straw ot use a sippy-cup (whichever your child prefers)
- You can also offer small tastes with a spoon if you have a child who isn’t yet a fan. Consider even a small sampling a success!
- Sprinkle on some granola or a favorite cereal and serve as a smoothie bowl for a fun variation.
- And if nothing else works, freeze them into popsicles!
Smoothies for Children with Food Allergies
If your youngster has food allergies, it is easy to adjust a smoothie for them.
- If they are allergic to bananas, use 2 tablespoons avocado instead or try a teaspoon or two of nut butter.
- Use whichever type of milk they prefer—almond, flax, coconut, rice, dairy, or even kefir.
Avocado Base Smoothie
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1/2 small ripe banana
- 1/2 cup milk
- additional ingredients (optional – suggestions below )
Combine ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Optional additions – just blend right into your avocado smoothie base:
- 1/4 cup frozen or fresh blueberries or raspberries
- 2-3 whole strawberries
- 1/2 small peach
- small handful of fresh baby spinach or kale (frozen works too)
- 1 tbsp peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower butter
- 1 tbsp shredded coconut
- 1 tsp agave or honey
Smoothies for Children with Constipation
Constipation is often a side-effect of cancer treatment and this can make a child struggle to eat – a smoothie with hidden veggies can really help.
- Consider adding chia seeds or hemp seeds, and a small spoonful of coconut oil, flaxseed oil, or avocado.
- You can also use full-fat coconut milk as the base. The healthy fats can coat the digestive tract, making it easier for food waste to pass through.
- Since the foods in these smoothies are already blended, it’s much less work for their digestive systems, so they can get all the nutrition without the discomfort of eating!
Child-Approved Prune Juice Smoothie
- ½ cup coconut milk
- ½ cup prune juice
- 1 leaf kale
- ¼ cup mixed berries, frozen
- 1 tsp flax seed
- Simply throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth. Easy AND effective!
Smoothies to Gain Weight
Childhood Cancer and the treatments for it can also mean that your child can lose a lot of weight. If your doctor has told you that your child needs to gain weight, a smoothie can be a helpful mealtime tool.
- Consider adding nut butters, avocado, healthy oils (flax, fish), full fat yogurt, hemp seeds to the smoothies.
- Use the in between times to get in a little extra nutrition and calories by offering small servings of smoothie in between meals as a snack.
- Also offer a small smoothie as a bedtime snack.
Strawberry & Avocado Weight Gain Smoothie
- 1 ½ cup frozen strawberries
- 1 medium banana
- ¼ avocados
- ¾ cup plain yogurt
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pour the milk into the blender first, then add the yoghurt and then the rest of the ingredients.
- Blend until smooth.
- Add more milk if it is too thick