Robin lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has three children and loves to share her tips and tricks for staying healthy.
A Delicious and Vitamin-Rich Green Smoothie That Kids Will Love!
A smoothie is a great way to obtain your required vitamins and minerals for the day in a healthy and delicious way. By adding leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, which are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, you are easily getting those vitamins that aren't in fruits without changing the flavor of the smoothie. My kale, spinach, and fruit smoothie is a favorite in our house; all of our kids love it and beg for me to make it.
No Need to Hide the Greens!
I know that many parents hide the kale and spinach from their kids when making the smoothie, but I make a big deal out of it, and the kids love it. You cannot taste the kale and spinach at all in this smoothie.
The below fruit ingredients can either be frozen or fresh depending on the time of year. I recommend at least a few frozen items so that your smoothie is cold. If you don't want to use frozen fruit, be sure to add a cup of ice and less water.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
Five servings of eight ounces of smoothie
- 2 Cups Kale
- 2 Cups Spinach
- 1/4 Cup Blueberries
- 1/2 Cup Raspberries
- 1 Cup Strawberries, whole
- 1 Banana
- 1 Orange
- 1/2 Cup Pineapple, chopped
- 1/2 Cup Mango, chopped
- 1 Apple
- 1 Cup Blackberries or other Berry
- 2 Tablespoons Flax Seed Meal
- 1/2 Cup European Yogurt, I prefer creamy, not thick yogurt
- 1 Cup Juice, We use pineapple, mango, orange
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Any other fruit you would like to add!
Instructions for Leafy Green and Fruit Smoothie
- Pack kale and spinach at bottom of the blender.
- Add chopped fresh and frozen fruit.
- Add yogurt and flaxseed meal.
- Add juice and water. If your smoothie is too thick, you can add more water.
- Blend and pour! The Vitamix has a wand that pushes down the ingredients for easier blending. In our blender, I usually blend the smoothie for a minute. Less powerful blenders will require a longer blend time.
Quick Benefits of Kale and Spinach
- Low in calories and zero fat but packed with fiber
- High in Vitamin K, A, and C
- Have anti-inflammatory agents
- Help lower cholesterol
- High in calcium
- High in iron
- Great for detoxification (high in fiber and sulfur)
Nutritional Benefits of Kale and Spinach
Adding kale and spinach to your smoothie adds a little flavor but has mega benefits! Kale, also known as the Queen of Greens, is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, providing cancer protection and lowering cholesterol. Kale, a vegetable in the Brassica family like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, is known for being an excellent source of antioxidants—namely flavonoids and carotenoids (agents which may lower the risk of getting cancer). Kale also promotes eye health because it contains zeaxanthin and lutein.
Kale and spinach are also rich in Vitamin K as well as fiber. High-fiber diets help lower cholesterol and reduce the chance of developing heart disease. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that eating a diet high in Vitamin K can reduce your chance of developing cancer. Vitamin K is also a key factor in bone health and blood clotting functionality in the body.
As a precaution, kale can interfere with the absorption of calcium. It is advised to take precautions when eating kale and foods that are high in calcium.
How to Encourage Children to Eat Leafy Greens
The kale and spinach smoothie is a great way to introduce your child to leafy greens without too much fuss. The taste of the greens in the smoothie is almost nonexistent. If your child does taste the greens, start with more spinach than kale, as it is milder in flavor. Here are a few tips to encourage the eating of greens in your household:
- Allow your children to help make the smoothie, salad, side dish, etc. Ownership in making a dish goes a long way!
- Make a big deal about them eating grown-up food (something that many kids won't eat).
- Grow the food yourself in your garden and allow your child to plant the vegetable and harvest it.
- Always have something green on their dinner plate. Researchers have found that children need to see food up to 15 times before they will start to like it.
- Don't force the food, e.g., you cannot leave the table until you have eaten x,y and z. I still hate peas because of this tactic.
- Encourage kids to try everything, even if they don't finish it.
- Eat and enjoy the food yourself. You are the biggest influence in establishing healthy eating habits in your children; be a good example!
What do you think of this smoothie?
Our Favorite Blender: The Vitamix
We have a Vitamix that is an amazing blender, but any blender will do. The Vitamix blends the smoothie within a minute, even when almost all of the fruit is frozen. This blender is amazing and will spin at speeds that will eventually heat the food, making soup. Our Vitamix is about seven years old and still works amazingly. I highly recommend this appliance even though it is expensive. I think of it as a lifelong appliance similar to a Kitchen-Aid mixer.