I love smoothies, especially for my kids, for a number of reasons. First, they're fun to drink, especially if you've got fun glasses or crazy straws. Secondly, it's an easy way to pack a lot of different kinds of nutrient-rich foods in a compact, easy-to-drink form. I also love them because can you can include foods that your child may otherwise not consume that are nutritionally essential for them.
My goal in feeding my children is to have fruits and vegetables with every meal and snack. Fruit is usually pretty easy. But to include a vegetable with every meal? How do you include a vegetable with breakfast? A smoothie solves this problem!
I also love to use smoothies in popsicle molds to change up snack time a bit and make it fun. What child doesn't love a pop? Please note: do not add ice to your smoothie if you plan to freeze them.
Below I have a "base" smoothie recipe to build from. Then, following that, I have my children's two favorite "flavor combinations" (Berry and Tropical). Get creative! After you have have the base, you can play around with flavors.
This smoothie does happen to be dairy free. If you like, you can sub dairy-based milks and yogurts where they are called for. But some of the nutritional benefits will be altered (I talk about that below).
So, why some of those crazy ingredients like coconut milk, flaxseed, and avocado? Coconut milk has many benefits. It is rich in middle chain fatty acids. It's thick, creamy texture is perfect for smoothies. It offers good fat that is not hydrogenated and can assist in a child's brain function.
Flax seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is high in fiber. It acts as a good "binder" for the smoothie, to hold everything together.
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