Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kid Friendly "Green Smoothie - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

Vegan?  Check.
Pretty much no artificial colors or preservatives?  Check.
Lots of organics?  Check.

With all of that, you'd think we never had to worry about good nutrition at my house.  Unfortunately, that's just not true!

Luckily, we got the opportunity to revisit what a healthy diet should look like when the USDA revised their nutrition model from the Food Pyramid to the Dinner Plate.  Even better, though, for us is the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine's Power Plate.

With the start of summer break, we took a look at the Power Plate as a family and talked about how we can enjoy a healthy, balanced diet.  My kids needed a boost in the vegetables category.

So, we serve more carrot sticks (raw for Casey, steamed for Evan), bump up the veggies in our pastas and casseroles .... and worked out a way to add greens to our smoothies that the kids don't even notice!

Not only do they like these smoothies, but they ask for seconds.  Victory!!!

A couple of things are key to the success of these smoothies, I think.

1) Use a good dose of blueberries, because they will prevent the smoothie from becoming a yucky brown color (green plus yellow plus orange).  Blackberries could also do the trick, but they're too seedy for my kids' tastes.

2) Use a neutral tasting green.  Kale seems to work best for us here.  Little to no vegetable-y odor and the flavor adds a bit of freshness to the smoothie.

3) Blend those greens thoroughly!!!  If your smoothie is leafy, it's likely not to be a hit.  We use a standard kitchen blender, nothing fancy, so it works best if we blend the greens with a couple of the fruits and the apple juice to start, then add the rest of the ingredients and thoroughly blend.

4) Serve with a straw.  At least for my kids, this a key to smoothie success.

We buy lots of frozen fruit (organic whenever possible) at the grocery store.  It's a good value, and always ready to become a smoothie.  We also freeze any fresh fruit that seems like it's about to turn.  This saves it from going to the trash and gives us a chance to enjoy it on another day.

Kid-Friendly "Green" Smoothie
Makes one blender full

1 cup apple juice
1 cup frozen mango
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 cups fresh kale leaves, stems removed
1 cup frozen pineapple
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 cups rice milk

Blend apple juice, mango, strawberries and kale thoroughly.
Add remaining ingredients. 
Blend completely.

Store any extra smoothie in a sealed container to enjoy the next day.

We shared this recipe as part of Amy Green's Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Cybele Pascal's Allergy Friendly Fridays.  We also shared this recipe at Real Sustenance's Seasonal SundaysAllergy-Friendly Lunchbox Love and Allergy Free WednesdayPlease check out the other great recipes!

Happy Cooking!

Find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.

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  1. That sounds delicious! Glad for the tip on the best greens for the job, and I happen to love kale. I don't have any little ones to tempt with this, but I will definitely be telling friends and acquaintances about it!

    I'm strictly organic and always insist on organic dairy products, but I expect I'll be visiting your blog a lot when I finally get around to doing the month-long dairy-free/gluten-free experiment I've long had in mind to do.

  2. Thanks for coming to the party :) Can't wait to try this!

    Lisa @ Allergy Free Vintage Cookery

  3. Just found you through Circle of Moms & looking for ways to increase my 2 year old's veggies. These look great! Just has to warm up a bit. Thanks for the inspiration to keep going.

  4. Leah,
    I'm glad you found us! We just had green smoothies this morning. I love starting the day with a veggie. It seems to take some of the pressure off the rest of the day.

  5. This looks amazing I am looking forward to trying it! Have you tried it without using rice milk? Thanks for the recipe;)

  6. Chelsea,
    I have used a variety of non-dairy milks (rice, soy, coconut and hemp). You can also skip a non-dairy milk, but be sure to either increase the apple juice or sub a different liquid.

  7. This looks yummy! Have you ever tried using something like Neocate formula instead of a milk? My son is allergic to any milk product (including rice, almond and soy), so I'd be curious to know if that's a good alternative.

  8. Lori,
    I haven't. I think if I had an issue with the "milk," I'd add some more juice and maybe some oats for creaminess. Have you tried coconut milk drink, coconut milk or hemp or oat milk? We never used Neocate, so I'm not too sure how it would work. You could always give it a try, though. I hope whatever you try works out well!