Have a blender? Love smoothies? Hate prepping separate meals and snacks for you and your baby? Smoothies for two may be the answer you’re looking for. No matter if your baby has no teeth or a mouthful of them, smoothies are easily enjoyed, even on the go.
What’s the key to a good, well-rounded smoothie that can be enjoyed by you and your kids? A balance of macro nutrients is a start. When throwing things in the blender, try and incorporate a protein, a fat, and multi-colored fruits and vegetables if possible.
For the protein, our family pediatrician advised us to stay away from processed add-ons like whey protein powder for the kids. Instead, yogurt (particularly greek yogurt) is a good protein option, and there are several non-dairy yogurt options available as well if you need. If you and your child can have soy, tofu (particularly silken tofu as it’s a softer consistency) is also a good option.
For fat, if you have used a full-fat protein like whole milk yogurt, you don’t need to add anything else. Other options are chia seeds, flax, unsweetened dried coconut, or coconut oil. Chia seeds have an added bonus of providing some electrolytes, making them a good choice for outings in hot weather.
Fruits and vegetables make up the bulk of most smoothies. I typically shop my frozen foods section for these, as they are as nutrient dense as fresh but are massively easy to store and grab. This is a good area to sneak in greens as well if you have a picky eater. Generally speaking, I will include up to a half cup of fruits in a smoothie meant for two or more, and perhaps a quarter cup of frozen spinach (you can partition spinach, carrots, etc into ice cube trays as well, much like making baby food purees, for easy to toss into the blender ingredients).
Finally, a good smoothie needs a liquid to make the consistency smooth and easy to blend and drink. I typically use water or green tea, but you can also use milk, nut milk, fruit juice (particularly if you are using less-sweet fruits and vegetables) or coconut water. Keep in mind the macro nutrient amounts of your liquid when deciding what other ingredients to add, as mliks can contribute protein and fat, coconut water contributes electrolytes, and fruit juice will add a good bit of sugar. Around 8 ounces of liquid is a good starting point for a smoothie for you and your baby. An important note, particularly if you don’t have a high-powered blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix, is to add the liquid in first, before anything else. This will improve blender efficiency and make sure you have a smooth smoothie.
As you get more comfortable trying out different combinations, you can add some spices as you see fit to add both flavor and nutrition to your smoothies. Popular add-ins are ginger (particularly fresh), turmeric and cinnamon. If these aren’t appealing to you, don’t worry. You don’t have to have them.
Here are two recipes to get you started:
1 cup water
½ cup whole milk greek yogurt
½ cup frozen mixed berries
¼ cup spinach
¼ teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
Mango Banana Hot Weather Smoothie
1 cup coconut water
1 tsp. Chia seeds
1 frozen banana
¼ c. frozen mango
¼ c. carrot (optional)
Meaghan Howard is a mom to three little boys, ages 0-8. Two of her three think smoothies are the bees knees, and the third is clearly mistaken on his smoothie opinions.