A refreshing, vibrant-green smoothie affectionately named ‘Dinosaur Juice’ in our home. Full of vitamin C for an immune boost & pineapple is rich in enzymes, helpful for digestion.
A large handful of spinach
1 medium or large mango
190ml apple juice (ideally not from concentrate)
A squeeze of lemon juice
Thumb-sized piece of ginger
And here at Cooking them Healthy we are equally crazy about the smoothie. It is something that features regularly on the menu in our homes – our kids love them, as do we. However, are smoothies really worthy of their current cult-like status?
Here, we give you the low-down on the slightly overwhelming world of smoothies and juices, providing top tips for getting the most out of your smoothie, as well as some brilliant recipes for the most delicious and nutritious.
All About Smoothies
A smoothie is a thick and smooth blended drink combining fruit and/or vegetables, sometimes yoghurt and milk (or you can use a milk alternative). Smoothies are a great way to combine nutritious ingredients, and they can also be a useful tool for younger family members, as the blending process is ideal for disguising some wonderful nutrient-dense foods.
Jo and I would always advocate a decent protein-based breakfast, but a balanced and well-combined smoothie could work as a good replacement if you are a little pushed for time in the morning.
Offering exciting, colourful smoothie options alongside a light meal can also work well as an appealing, filling and nutritient-boosting accompaniment. And they are of course perfectly portable to drink on the go.
How To Make Nutrient-rich Smoothies
Breakfast Banana Booster
This is an ideal smoothie to whiz up for a breakfast on the go, is wonderfully creamy and satisfying, and has a sumptious velvety texture. Oats contain beta-glucans, a type of soluble fibre that slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream and balances out blood sugar levels.
Makes 1 large glass or 2 small servings
1 banana | 15g oats | 1 date | 1 tsp cinnamon
65g live natural yoghurt or kefir
100ml coconut milk or almond milk
Children adore berries & they will never know there is spinach hidden in there. Spinach is one of the best sources of Vitamin K which is important for maintaining bone health and Berries are packed full of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, which are key for immune health.
Makes 1 large glass or 2 small servings.
1 small banana | 120g frozen berries
A generous handful of spinach
170ml coconut milk, almond milk or coconut water
• Add a handful of spinach to a berry-based smoothie for an unidentifiable vitamin C and iron-rich boost.
• Use a couple of dates to sweeten smoothies. You can soak them first in hot water to soften if required, although larger medjool dates are usually soft enough to use as they are.
• If you are sensitive to dairy or fancy trying something different, experiment with milk alternatives like unsweetened almond, rice or coconut milk. Coconut water can be a refreshing and electrolyte-rich addition, too.
• Protein powders are not just for bodybuilders. Adding a scoop of whey, rice or pea protein can transform a smoothie into a well-balanced meal replacement. Find quality protein powders in good health food shops.
• Use frozen fruit – smoothies can become a rather expensive business. We fill our freezers with frozen fruit (either shop bought or frozen when in season).
• Keep it seasonal. If you are using fresh fruit and vegetables, try to focus on what is currently in season as it will taste sweeter and hold more nutrients.
• Don’t be scared to experiment. Avocado, for example, adds a rich and silky texture to a smoothie and is full of with vitamin E and nutritious fats.
• Think beyond fruit and vegetables. Try adding small handfuls of soaked nuts or seeds to boost the protein content and add creaminess.
• Add spices, like turmeric and cinnamon. Turmeric is packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar levels and adds sweetness
Hungry for more? Georgie and Jo take a look at digestion and the idea recipes for keeping your little ones fighting fit here.
For more smoothie ideas, and plenty of other easy and delicious recipes focused on the nutritional needs of your child, visit cookingthemhealthy.com