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. While the world is in love with one-pot pasta, everything needs to be cooked separately in our home or else my pasta lover won’t touch her food.
Having a picky eater or two is no small challenge, especially 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 I start seeing visions of my kids suffering from every nutrient deficiency in the book only because I didn’t force them to eat vegetables – I know it’s time for a green smoothie.
But 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 adding 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 as cooking ingredients. But it seems that most kids love juice and icy drinks, which is why smoothies are probably one of the best ways to up the nutrient intake of their little bodies. If done right, they can become your secret weapon – not only to get a few extra vitamins into them (and yourself!) naturally but 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. But that’s pretty hard to do with someone who will only eat pasta “with nothing” or plain rice. Therefore, the subtle tastes in green smoothies can be a game changer. By the way, it seems that the term “green smoothie” refers to fact that they have vegetables added and not necessarily to the actual color of the final result. So even your very green-averse child might get some extra vegetables with a bright pink smoothie.
Subtle taste in green smoothies
Green smoothies with are really easy to make but the key point is to be patient and start slowly. And by slowly I don’t mean the setting on your blender but the one on your ambition. 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.
Trying to prove to myself how tough and healthy I was, I threw an entire beetroot into the blender for my first vegetable smoothie. The result tasted much too earthy for me so I didn’t drink it. So what good did the entire beetroot for my body? Zero. I had one unpleasant sip and therefore much less beetroot goodness than if I had finished a delicious breakfast smoothie with only half a beetroot.
(My youngest had no reservations and gobbled it down – which also looked great when he waved the straw and scattered pink splashes in the freshly painted dining area…)
Sweetness in green smoothies for children
The second commandment is not to be afraid of sweetness. Being a firm believer in intuitive eating, I’m not buying into the whole sugar is the devil frenzy that’s spread everywhere. Although my recipes all do without classic sugar, they are pretty sweet. Because they need to taste good in order to convince skeptics that vegetables do not wreck a good smoothie. And how can that be achieved? By using lots of fruit and even juice to make them palatable. A hardcore vegan spinach avocado water smoothie simply won’t do the trick until you’ve worked your way there.
That doesn’t mean everything has to taste sweet for kids to eat it. But when I experiment with vegetables in smoothies, I prefer to start on the sweeter side and use some fruit juice as a liquid. If the chosen juice is more on the sour end, I do sometimes add anywhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of honey. Over time, as you get used to the taste and your kids start loving it, you’ll be able to slowly reduce the sweetness.
Another great natural source of sweetness is banana. You probably know it as a smoothie staple and for beginners, you shouldn’t be stingy. Not only do bananas add tons of valuable nutrients, they also help keep you full for much longer than most other fruit. Furthermore, this is the perfect way to use up those lonely bananas left in your fruit bowl because they’re past their prime. Simply peel them and put them in the freezer – yes, even whole bananas can be frozen and used without problem. If your blender is too small or doesn’t do well with whole bananas, you can still break it into chunks while they’re frozen.
8 Tips for making tasty green smoothies
#1 Best liquids
Feel free to experiment, both with the kind of liquid and the amount. Great for skeptics, kids and beginners are fruit juices or even blends of different juices. Grape juice is perfect for a pink smoothie with beetroot while white grape, pineapple or orange juice do well in yellow or green smoothies.
Coconut water is a great smoothie liquid, too, but may require extra honey if your chosen fruits aren’t that sweet. 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.
If you like your smoothie to be very thick and creamy, add just enough liquid to blend. If you prefer it a little thinner, simply double the amount of liquid.
#2 Make them icy
I found that smoothies tend to taste much better when they are really cold. Actually, my kids won’t touch their favorite smoothie once it’s been sitting out for a while. If you don’t like it icy, you can certainly leave out the ice cubes, especially if some of the ingredients are already frozen. But I encourage you to first try and make those smoothies icy.
#3 Start with small quantities of vegetables
In the recipes I supply, the vegetables can hardly be tasted. The quantities are only rough indications and can easily be varied as long as care is taken that the ratio of fruit and vegetables is not reversed. Otherwise, you might end up with an experience like my first beetroot experiment.
#4 Use fruit powders for extra zing
For an extra vitamin-rich fruit kick I recommend the use of 100% fruit powders. This allows you to make the taste spectrum even more interesting and versatile.
#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 continuously sneaking food in that they hate. Besides, how are they supposed to know what taste it is that 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 and you can add wheat germ, oat flakes, seeds and the like to your heart’s content. Either add them straight to the blender or turn them into smoothie bowls and use as toppings. Beware, though, how adding these ingredients can change the texture to a more grainy feel which could be an issues with kids.
#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 prepped some of it the night before to make sure you’re ready for your kids’ new favorite breakfast. And then they take one sip or, better yet, won’t even try. They may just need to see you enjoying that brightly colored smoothie with gusto 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 hope that with these tips and tricks around green smoothies, you’ll be able to add more vegetables to your everyday life in a tasty fashion. So do some experimenting and tell me if you were able to get extra nutrients into a picky eater – or yourself!
To make your life even easier, grab my freezer cheat sheet infographic from the VIP download area. It gives you lots of practical and easy shortcuts to help you have ingredients on hand whenever the mood for a green smoothie strikes. Simply sign up for my newsletter to gain free access to my VIP area.
If you’d love to get more tips that make life easier and more enjoyable, simply sign up for my newsletter This will also give you free access to my VIP area. Within the next few weeks, you’ll see more resources added so be sure to join my list. In addition, I’ll send you simple balancing tips straight to your inbox about 2 times per month – for a little extra encouragement that I don’t share on here.To hear about new posts and find out more about me, follow me on Social Media: