In this article, I’ll show you how to make green smoothies so yummy and delicious, even picky eaters won’t mind the extra vegetable intake.
Every now and then I have this slight feeling of panic creeping up as I observe my five-year-old removing every bit of cooked vegetables from her plate. The world is in love with one-pot pasta. But in our home, everything needs to be cooked separately.
Having a picky eater or two is no small challenge. Particularly now that healthy eating has become some sort of religion. I usually try to keep the occasional panic in check and remain calm.
But when it gets a little out of hand – I know it’s time for a green smoothie.
And it’s not actually just about the kids. Truth be told, I’m not nearly as much in the mood for a hearty nibble on carrots as might be good for me. So when I get a craving for something fresh and vitamin-laden, I love reaching for a smoothie. And add vegetables while I’m at it.
Can green smoothies taste good enough for picky eaters?
Now, if your kiddos don’t like smoothies at all, you’re going to have to wait for my article on using vegetable purees. But it seems that most kids love juice and icy drinks. That’s why smoothies are probably THE best way to up their nutrient intake.
If done right, they can become your secret weapon: Not only to get a few extra vitamins into them (and yourself!) naturally. You’re also preparing the way for their future taste.
How is that?
Well, kids might need to be exposed to a new taste for up to 20 times before they like it.
And that’s pretty hard to do with someone who will only eat pasta “with nothing”. Therefore, the subtle tastes in green smoothies can be a game changer.
By the way, it seems that “green smoothie” refers to the fact that they have vegetables added. And not necessarily to the actual color of the final result. So you could just as well offer a bright pink smoothie to a child who won’t touch green foods.
Subtle taste in green smoothies
Green smoothies are really easy to make but the key point is_ Be patient and start slowly.
That glass of green cucumber-based veggie goodness might look amazing on Pinterest. But if all you taste is cucumber mush, neither you nor your kids are likely to fall in love with it.
I threw an entire beetroot in the blender for my first vegetable smoothie. Not surprisingly, the result tasted much too earthy for me to drink it. So what good did the entire beetroot for my body? Zero.
Sweetness in green smoothies for children
The second rule is not to be afraid of sweetness. I’m a firm believer in intuitive eating, so I’m not buying into the whole sugar is the devil frenzy.
My recipes all come without classic sugar, but they are pretty sweet. They must taste good in order to convince skeptics. And how can that be achieved?
By using lots of fruit and even juice to make them yummy. A hardcore vegan spinach avocado water smoothie simply won’t do the trick until you’ve worked your way there.
Why you shouldn’t be stingy with sweetness
Therefore, I prefer to start on the sweeter side and use some fruit juice as a liquid. If my juice is tart, I might add a tablespoon of honey. You’ll be able to reduce sweetness over time. Just wait until you get used to the taste and your kids start loving it.
Another great source of natural sweetness are bananas. They’re a well-known smoothie staple and for beginners, you definitely shouldn’t skimp on bananas.
Not only do they add tons of valuable nutrients. They also help keep you full for much longer than most other fruit.
Tip to reduce food waste
Smoothies are the perfect way to use up those lonely bananas past their prime. Simply peel them and put them in the freezer. Yes, you can use whole frozen bananas without a problem. Just break them into chunks before adding them to the blender.
8 Tips for making tasty green smoothies
#1 Best liquids
Use fruit juices or blends of different juices. Grape juice is perfect for a pink smoothie with beetroot. White grape, pineapple or orange juice do well in yellow or green smoothies.
Coconut water is also great but may require extra honey. For a more filling and creamy smoothie, add coconut milk or kefir.
Note: When using pineapple in your smoothie, don’t add real milk, yogurt or kefir – it turns unpleasantly bitter. Plant-based substitutes would work with pineapple, though.
#2 Make them icy
I found that smoothies tend to taste much better when they’re really cold. Actually, my kids won’t touch their favorite smoothie once it’s been sitting out for a while.
#3 Start with small quantities of vegetables
In my recipes, the vegetables can hardly be tasted. The quantities are only rough indications, though. So feel free experiment as long as you remember to be patient and start slowly. Otherwise, you might end up with an experience like my first pink beetroot smoothie.
#4 Use fruit powders for extra zing
For an extra vitamin-rich fruit kick I recommend the use of 100% fruit powders. They allow you to add an even bigger variety of nutrients.
#5 Use cute pouches to serve them
Presentation can make or break the success of a meal. And the same applies to smoothies. If your kids are reluctant to try green food, try serving your smoothie in a fun refillable squeeze pouch. Or start with the pink smoothie.
#6 Market them properly
I’m not a fan of betraying your kids’ trust by sneaking food in that they hate. Besides, how are they supposed to know what taste they start getting used to if they never hear what’s in this smoothie?
Having said that, I don’t usually lead with the ingredient list when I serve vegetable smoothies.
Kids love cool names so why not call it “Princess Smoothie” or “Dinosaur Juice”. Once they liked something, I always mention what was in it but as casually as possible.
I try to treat vegetable ingredients with the same nonchalance as any other part of it. It’s just one of the many foods that we put into the blender to make a delicious smoothie. No big deal.
#7 Make them pretty
Of course, as with any kind of smoothie, there are no limits to your imagination. Top your smoothies with wheat germ, oat flakes, seeds and the like. Why not turn a smoothie into “breakfast soup” with yummy toppings?
Watch out, though: Adding these ingredients will change the texture to a more grainy feel. That’s something kids might not like.
#8 Be prepared for rejection
I know it’s hard when you go out of your way to try something new. You gather all the ingredients, maybe even prepped the night before. And then they take one sip or, better yet, won’t even try.
They may just need to watch you enjoying that brightly colored smoothie a few times before they’re ready to try. Maybe they never will, and that’s okay, too. But you can’t blame a mom for trying… 😉
I’m sure that these tips will help you add more vegetables to your life. And in a tasty fashion. So do some experimenting and tell me: Were you able to get extra nutrients into a picky eater? Or yourself?
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Friday 5th of April 2019
Hi Heidi, I am like you; I like my smoothies delicious nut healthy. I have them almost everyday and I am a fan of mesquite powder. I normally add frozen banana; and quite often, I use my home made non diary milks for smoothies. Hemp milk is one of my favourites as it's so easy to make and creamy. Your readers may like to try my easy recipe here: https://thehealthfulkitchen.com/how-to-make-hemp-seed-milk/
Sunday 9th of June 2019
Hi Inn, Thank you so much for leaving this thoughtful comment! I'll be glad to check out your recipe :) Heidi
Thursday 27th of September 2018
Love the idea of using squeeze pouches! I’ve got a picky eater who’s probably around the same age as yours and she oooks at most new things with suspicion but she loooves anything in a pouch! Definitely gonna give it a try!
Sunday 9th of June 2019
Hi Lee Ann, I dropped off the radar for a while but still wanted to thank you for your lovely comment :) Picky eaters are quite the challenge, aren't they? But we'll get through this! Heidi
Tuesday 25th of September 2018
I have been making smoothies in the morning for a long time now, and I started with small ammounts of veggies just like you said. It was a lot easier to start that way. Now I'm much more used to them and really enjoy them! It can be hard to incorporate greens in your diet sometimes, but smoothies always helped. One thing I didn't know was that if you combine pineapple with yogurt or kefir or milk it makes it bitter. Thanks for the tip, definitely not gonna try that !
Sunday 9th of June 2019
Hi Maria, I had been off the grit for a bit but still wanted to thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! I'm so glad this was helpful and that you had the same experience with green smoothies! Heidi
Sunday 23rd of September 2018
I haven't tried vegetable powders before but great tips on all the rest of these. Our kids think it's so funny to show up at school with a green smoothie and make everyone wonder what's actually in it. And their friends are usually surprised that it tastes so good!
Sunday 9th of June 2019
It IS surprising that something so green can taste so good! Glad your kids are having a blast with green smoothies at school!