Hi again! Karen here, Dr. Neil’s wife and mom of 4 kids who eat…a lot. Overall, our kids are pretty healthy eaters as we focus primarily on whole, real foods. However, not all of our kids are big vegetable eaters, and one in particular would only eat carrots if he could. Smoothies, therefore, are a great way to get them to eat some vegetables that they otherwise wouldn’t touch, as well as get lots of other good nutrients into them. It also makes a quick and easy breakfast addition to eggs and oatmeal, or a great after-school snack when they come home “starving”.
My typical smoothie includes (approximately because I never measure): a banana for sweetness and creaminess (frozen or fresh), 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup milk or water to thin it out a bit, 1 cup frozen berries, and any other add-ins I have on hand like kale, spinach or raw zucchini.
Wait…zucchini?? Yes, it’s my new favourite add-in that doesn’t change the ﬂavour much. Zucchini is high in water, ﬁbre, electrolytes, and other nutrients that are necessary for a healthy digestive system. Regular consumption of zucchini can also help prevent ulcers, IBS, and colon cancer.
Experiment with other ingredients and see what you and/or your kids like! Avocado adds creaminess to a smoothie, especially with cocoa powder to make a chocolate ﬂavoured one. It is a good source of Vitamin K which is believed to support the maintenance of strong bones, improve bone density, and decrease the risk of fractures. You can sneak a few other surprise ingredients in that won’t change the ﬂavour much such as a probiotic (great for your gut health), protein powder, vitamin D3 drops, or ground up ﬂax seeds. Flax seeds are a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. Plant-based ALA fatty acids are proven to have heart health beneﬁts and are linked to a lower risk of stroke.
Another fun thing to make is smoothie bowls. These are simply more frozen, and you (or kids) can add a variety of toppings. These can include nuts, granola, cacao nibs, coconut, seeds, more fresh fruit, and so much more. Grab a spoon and dig in! There are so many ideas online to try out. We’d love to hear more from you about how you like to make your smoothies! Please add your ideas on our Facebook page or Instagram!