Cool, creamy and healthy, to boot… It’s no wonder smoothies are such a popular pick for parents. Even the most discerning kiddos can’t seem to ignore the allure of these addictively delicious and—lucky for you, moms and dads—highly nutritious blended beverages.
Virtually any fruit or vegetable can be incorporated into a smoothie, making them ideal vessels for delivering the nutrients children need (think calcium, protein, potassium and the like). Plus, smoothies can be enjoyed at any time—in the morning, after school and even for dessert.
Encourage your child to take his or her love of smoothies to the next level by setting up a smoothie station right in your kitchen! Here’s how to make it happen:
Set aside space
Decide where you’d like to set up your smoothie station and clear the counter of all items that play no part in the smoothie-making process. Also, reserve a shelf in your refrigerator and/or freezer for smoothie ingredients. Keeping everything-smoothie in specific locations will save time and make it easier for your child to prepare his or her beverages independently.
Gather your essentials
The following are a must for any at-home smoothie station:
- Blender: Every successful smoothie begins with a decent blender. Although a high-end blender is best, any variety that is strong enough to completely pulverize all the ingredients will do. Your child probably won’t appreciate any lumps; after all, it’s called a “smoothie” for a reason!
- Mouthwatering recipes: Store a smoothie cookbook—or some printouts of basic smoothie recipes—in the space for easy access. A quick VitaVibes blog search will yield countless results. Hint: Be sure to include ingredients your child enjoys (e.g., strawberries, cacao nibs) in the search terms.
- Measuring cups and spoons: These will come in handy when following the recipes referenced above.
- Drinkware and straws: Familiar with the old adage “you eat with your eyes first?” Elevate the fun factor by investing in some child-friendly cups and decorative drinking straws. Your kiddo is sure to appreciate this special touch!
- Ingredients: Review your smoothie recipes ahead of time so you’ll have necessary ingredients on hand when setting up your smoothie station. Popular picks may include:
- Fresh and/or frozen fruit (e.g., bananas, blueberries, strawberries, mangoes)
- Fresh and/or frozen vegetables (e.g., leafy greens, including arugula, spinach and kale)
- Spices (e.g., cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice)
- Milk (e.g. almond, rice, soy)
- Yogurt (e.g., plain, Greek, frozen)
- Protein powder
- Greens powder
- Nuts and nut butters (e.g., almond, cashew)
- Seeds (e.g., chia, flax, pumpkin)
Remember, this is your chance to impress your child with nutrient-rich foods and beverages he or she might not otherwise consider!
Encourage experimentation and enthusiasm
After you set up your at-home smoothie station, prepare a few blended beverages while your son or daughter observes. Then remain close by to answer questions or make recommendations while he or she attempts to follow your example.
Once your kiddo gets the hang of it, encourage him or her to test out new recipes and even create original “signature smoothies.”
To get your child even more excited about smoothie making, host a smoothie party for his or her friends!