Getting Children to Eat a Rainbow of Fruits and Veggies with BrainPower Smoothies
Most parents find it so hard to squeeze a variety of fruit and veggies into their kids' diet for various reasons - crying, whining, pickiness, time, money, effort, etc. Today we will discuss how to slowly add a variety of fruits and veggies in one meal and with little effort. Step 1 - The Blender
You need to have a Great Blender. I adore the Vitamix. 7 years ago my husband bought it for me for Mother's Day and he grumbled about it for days!!!!!! Why do we have to replace a perfectly good blender with an expensive blender, why?? And then he became a believer. We have used this blender for 7 years 2-3x a day EVERYDAY. It pulverizes everything so even the most discerning of tastebuds can be fooled. A thought to consider: we buy shoes and dresses for the holidays that easily total $500 and we wear them two to three times a year, maybe. But spending $500 on a blender that we will use every day seems ridiculous. Of note, this blender is at costo for $250-ish (Feb 2018)
Step 2 - Start Slow
My first attempts at smoothies involved:
- milk - organic whole full fat milk
- vanilla ice cream - 5 ingredient kind of ice cream
- frozen strawberries
It was a hit. Yes the kids got ice cream for breakfast. Best mom ever!!!
Then after 1 week I changed the ice cream to Stoneyfield Organic Vanilla Full Fat Yogurt - no one noticed
Step 3 - Add Brain Food
Once we got on a great path is Started Adding Brain Food - 1 Tsp at a time to make sure no taste buds were upset. I slowly added a bit more each week, 1 tsp at a time until I was pleased with the amounts:
- Chia seeds (you have to have a Vitamix for this or it will be snot) - 3Tbsp = Fiber 11gm, Protein 5gm, Iron, 4800 mg Omega 3
- Hemp Hearts (nutty flavor if any) - 3Tbsp = fiber 3gm, Protein 10gm, 3000mg Omega 3
- Flax Seed Powder (no taste) - 2 Tbsp= Fiber 4gm, Protein 3gm, 2800mg Omega 3
- Barleans Flax Seed Oil is another great alternative that is sweet and flavorful, comes in Berry and Banana Strawberry and adds 1000mg of Omega 3 per Tbsp if no one likes the flax seed powder ( I add it in addition to all the other stuff)
Step 4 - Get Crazy with Fruit
I added bananas to the smoothie and it was met with some dissatisfaction, thus removed. Blueberries and Raspberries were a hit and are still an addition to this day. Peaches get an average when I use a whole one, but no one notices them when I use only 1/2. Vitamix Plug: you put any fruits/veggies with skin into this blender and its pureed. Mangoes in small frozen bits no problem.
If you use Juice Plus, you can sprinkle 1 or 2 Capsule of the Orchard Blend/ or Vineyard Blend into the smoothie.
Step 5 - Become Adventurous with Veggies and Create the Rainbow
Did you know that powerful veggies such as Spinach, Kale, Shelled Edemame, Yellow Squash Have, Avocado have no Flavor? Start small. I started with 2 leaves of spinach, literally. I was so afraid the smoothie will turn green. Hey guess what, 2 leaves of spinach or kale do not turn the smoothie green. None of us can drink a green smoothie, we have tried. This color is our enemy in smoothies, but we love it as a nail polish color.
So over days/weeks I added a little more spinach each day until the smoothie was green, and then the next day I backed off. I did the same with kale and avocado. Yellow squash no problem. Avocado is great, makes the smoothie really creamy and I have to use less yogurt when I use avocado. Edamame can make the smoothie thick, has not taste, use more liquid.
If you have left over veggies from dinner, salads, lunches, cut them up in small pieces, freeze in baggies. Wash and freeze radish leaves. Amazing boost and no flavor. You can add 2 or 4 pieces of cucumber or carrots or red peppers and see if anyone notices. Bet you they won't.
If your are a fan of Juice Plus, but your kids are not, you can sprinkle one or two Garden Blend Capsules into this smoothie. Again, start with a sprinkle and increase as tolerated.
Step 6 - Add Local Honey
Instead of juice or sugar, try Local Raw Honey. It is sweet, it has great antioxidants, powers up our antibodies, and it helps decrease issues with seasonal allergies. This is called oral tolerance. If you are allergic to pollen, ragweed, grasses, trees, etc. local honey taken on a daily basis has been shown to reduce allergy symptoms and need for medication.
Step 7 - Add Protein
Since I use smoothies as Mine and My Kid's Breakfast, I want it to be packed with proteins so they are not starving in 1 hrs and they can be full until lunch.
- peanut butter (my husband is a huge fan, my kids love it in the smoothies he makes) - 2 TBSP = 9gms
- almond butter - 2Tbsp = 6 gas
- frozen shelled edamame - 1 cup = 16gms
- cooked white beans - 1 cup = 25 gms
- Tera's Whey Organic Protein - 1 scoop = 22gms (cleanest protein I found AND like)
- Greek Yogurt - 1 cup = 15gms
Step 8 - Gut Health
In light of the cold and flu season and because I adore Probiotics for so many reasons, I open one capsule in the smoothie in the AM. The VSL#3 Capsule - my favorite of all time, has no taste, no smell, no color. Apparently the VSL#3 powder packs taste gross (per my patients who have tried them).
THE FINAL BASIC RECIPE (for 4 people)
- 2 cups Homestyle Creamery Full Fat Milk (or almond milk)
- 1/2 cup Wallaby Organic Greek Vanilla Yogurt (other protein if dairy free)
- 2Tbsp Chia Seeds
- 1Tbsp Flax Seeds
- 2 Tbsp Hemp Hearts
- 2 squeezes of Barlean's Omega3 Flax Seed Oil
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 2 Scoops Tera's Whey Protein Powder
- 20-30 frozen strawberries
- 1 handful of frozen berries
- 1 full handful of frozen spinach
- other additions or substitutions for fruits and veggies as you wish
Money Saving Tips
Costco has Hemp Hearts, Chia Seeds, Flax Seed Powder, VSL3, Organic Frozen Strawberries, Organic Frozen Mixed Berries, Organic Fresh Spinach (that I freeze), Organic Milk
Thrive Market has Hemp Hearts, Chia Seeds, Flax Seed Powder, Acai Powder, Beet Root Powder, Peanut Butter
If I have left over veggies from dinner/lunches , I freeze them and then I chuck them into the smoothie in tiny quantities. Thus, no throwing away left over spinach, cucumbers, carrots, or zucchini. Keep them in freezer and add in tiny amounts so no one can tell, thus no waste, and MORE VEGGIES.
Time Saving Tips
Mix Chia Seeds, Hemp Hearts, Flax Seed, Protein Powder (if you choose to use it) in a container that stays next to your blender and scoop it out in the AM in one swoop.
I keep all dry ingredients in a box next to the blender.
Keep frozen ingredients on the same shelf so you can grab them at the same time.
I buy bulk pre-washed kale, spinach, cut up squash and freeze it.
This kind of smoothie in the morning as breakfast, or after school as snack, or after a workout will INCREASE:
- immune system
- muscles strength and endurance
This kind of smoothie will DECREASE:
- need for ADHD meds
- need for antibiotics
- school days missed
- abdominal issues