My motto when working to improve the health of kids is to make ‘every mouthful count’ nutritionally. Here’s how.
No matter what I’m cooking, I’m always thinking in terms of how I can inject more nourishment, especially when feeding my kids. Because children are growing so rapidly, they have a much greater nutritional requirements, yet a smaller capacity to be nourished (smaller stomachs). Now I know a lot of kids like smoothies and adding fruit is great, but I’d encourage you to also consider the addition of some vegetables for a real nutrient boost. When adding vegetables, start with a small amount and increase the quantity over time. Whilst I am a huge fan of boosting nutrition, I’m not a fan of always having to ‘hide’ vegetables for fussy eaters (in the long term, at least). Kids have to learn to love veggies in their whole form at some stage and I have lots of tips for raising whole food loving kids over at www.wellnourished.com.au. Having said that, I do generally choose to boost my kids’ smoothies with veggies they generally don’t enjoy eating in their whole form, just to increase their nutritional variety. I figure if they can’t taste it, why not add it?
5 vegies that Disappear in a Smoothie
1. AVOCADO: Okay, technically a fruit, but seeing as it doesn’t add any sweetness, I’m adding it to my list of nutrient boosters. WHY? Avocado is a rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and one extremely nutrient dense fruit containing a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Its potassium content makes is great to add to a smoothie before kids’ sport. HOW? Avocado adds a lovely creamy, mousse-like texture to smoothies so add it to your favourite combo. It sits well in a cacao (chocolate) based smoothie or with frozen berries and bananas. 2. CAULIFLOWER: Raw cauliflower is pretty much undetectable in a smoothie. You will just need a good, high-powered blender to process it smooth. WHY? Cauliflower contains a rich supply of healthpromoting phytochemicals, especially protective antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It supports digestion and liver detoxification and is a rich source of vitamin C. HOW? Break it up into florets, wash and keep in a container to add to your morning smoothie. Because it is white it won’t effect the colour of the smoothie. 3. ZUCCHINI: Zucchini is one of my kids’ least favourite vegetables. But adding it raw into their smoothie, they are none the wiser. WHY? Zucchini is extremely low in calories and loaded with fibre. It is also a great source of potassium and vitamin C. HOW? Zucchini is very tasteless and also doesn’t effect the colour of a smoothie much so is perfect to add a fibre and nutrient boost to your favourite smoothie. 4. BABY SPINACH: Baby spinach is also rather tasteless but it does turn smoothies green. So for kids that aren’t keen on ‘green’ – it’s best to blend it with a chocolate smoothie so the colour is disguised. WHY? Spinach is host to a huge variety of vitamins, minerals, fibre and protective plant compounds. It’s just good! HOW? I love to blend it with pineapple, coconut water, lime juice and fresh mint. 5. SWEET POTATO: Sweet potato can be added to smoothies either raw or cooked. For raw sweet potato you’ll need a powerful blender to ensure it is able to be processed smooth. WHY? Sweet potato is a fibre and beta carotene-rich veggie. It is host to good amounts of vitamin C, B vitamins and essential minerals. HOW? I love raw sweet potato combined with orange and ginger.