My Kids Eat Kale Breakfast! Green Smoothies

Ok, I’ll admit it… I get a kind of sick pleasure saying that I send my children to school with a stomach full of raw kale and spinach. I think I’m a master at deception as I watch them enjoying their green smoothies. Parents want more green vegetables in the diet of their children. My 7 year old daughter shudders at the idea that she will eat a salad at dinner. But, I find her happily enjoying her blueberry smoothies each morning, completely unaware that she is eating raw spinach. It’s fine as long she doesn’t see any green leaves entering the blender. Her favorite fruits are blueberries and darkberries, which cover up the green color. But as far taste is concerned, almost any fruit can be used. My eleven-year-old son is more adventurous and will try any of my concoctions, regardless of its color or texture.

If you want to increase your intake of green vegetables, then green smoothies can be a good place to start. They are a treat for kids because they taste delicious. Adults enjoy that they taste good and are quick and simple to make. Quick and easy are crucial in today’s busy world if we want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The blender stays on the center island counter in my kitchen. The blender can be rinsed once again. Breakfast is as easy as blending a couple of frozen bananas, some frozen blueberries, and two handfuls (or more) of greens. Experimentation is encouraged and there aren’t complicated recipes. My favorite smoothies are ones I’ve improvised and not taken from a cookbook. I have the potential to create a recipe collection if I get into a habit of writing down the smoothies that I like best.

My three children and I each have enough to drink a full pot. If it is a very popular flavor, I will give my half to the kids and make a second one for myself. I make sure to add all kinds of supplements to my batch. I share the smoothie with the children, as many of the ingredients alter the flavor and make it more difficult to consume. The thought of wasting precious organic produce is what irritates me the most. Ground flax seed can be added to their diet without any noticeable flavor change.

The green smoothies are great for my kids. Although I am not able to control their eating habits and cannot force them to consume certain foods, they have a lot of fun. They are loved and appreciated by my children. As they get older, the greener vegetables they eat will make it less appealing to them to eat the junk food, sugary and processed, that they are constantly exposed too at school, in their friends’ homes, and at restaurants. I try to be patient in helping them transition to healthier eating habits. As I have experienced a number of difficult transitions to a healthier life, it is no surprise that this has been an ongoing journey. I’ve had many moments where I just wanted to quit (actually, that was a few times). But I am now more optimistic after the introduction and success of green smoothies in our household.

Here are some useful tips to make green smoothies.

o Use 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice instead of 1 cup water to make the flavor more palatable. This will give your smoothie a sweeter taste.
o Get bananas from the supermarket that are very ripe, with some brown spots. You can peel them and store them in a Ziploc container in the freezer.
o Freeze your fruit by cutting it up.
Ask your grocer for fruit seconds; you may be eligible to save some cash.
Buy frozen organic fruit bags from your local supermarket or health food shop. I’ve found strawberries that are too sweet, so make sure to try all brands.
Raw cacao (raw chocolat) is a favorite supplement for my kids. Mixing it with agave honey gives the smoothie a rich, chocolaty taste. Don’t go crazy with raw cacao. It does contain caffeine. Carob powder is another alternative that doesn’t contain caffeine.
o Store extra batches in the refrigerator, wrapped with saran foil. Smoothies, grapes and milk are much better options than cookies or milk.
Getting children involved in the fruit choice process will make it more likely that they eat something they helped create.
Adding more ice can make a smoothie thicker. If you want it to be thinner, add water, nutmilk, or orange juice (depending on the recipe).
o Add two Tablespoons of raw sugar or raw honey to sweeten your smoothie.

You may feel more at ease following a recipe. Here are a few different variations. Please experiment with these after you have made the originals. You can also let me know if something else comes up! (Feel free to use the greens interchangeably…you really can’t taste them).

Blueberry Kale
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 frozen bananas
2 handfuls chopped Kale
2 cups water, or 1 cup water and 1 Cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Plenty of Ice
Optional: 1T ground flax seed

Grape Fig Cleanser
3 cups (purple or Green) grapes
3-4 black missions figs
2 handfuls chopped spinach
2 T agave nectar
2 cups water
1 cup ice
Optional: 1T ground flax seed

Smoothie of Peach Almond:
1 cup frozen Peaches
2 frozen bananas
2 handfuls chopped Swiss Chard
2 T raw almond oil
2 cups of water
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla
Optional: 1T ground flax seed


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