Sneaky Smoothies: How I Became a Blender-Wielding Vitamin Pusher

My kids think I’m the Best Mom Ever because I’ve been making them smoothies for breakfast.

I’m glad they think I’m wonderful. But really, I just want them to take their fish oil.

Their dentist said no more gummy anything, ever, so we traded our Omega-3 Gummies for icky-tasting liquid. I wanted to find a painless way to get my kids to take it.

Smoothies are the answer: the fruit masks the taste of the fish oil, and my kids are always excited to get smoothies.

But fish oil turned out to be my gateway supplement. Emboldened my success, I started getting creative: first I tried adding spinach, then kale. I experimented with almond butter and coconut oil. And now I’m researching parsley, kefir and vitamin D.

After a few weeks of smoothie-making, I started letting my kids help. Now they know they’re drinking kale and fish oil–they’re the ones dumping them in the blender pitcher. But they already know these smoothies taste good and they’re drinking them down anyway.

Here are a few tips I’ve picked up in my month of smoothie making:

Buy a good fish oil. It may not taste good enough to drink plain, but don’t put anything truly terrible in your smoothie. I’m happy with theĀ  lemon-flavored Carlson for Kids Fish Oil I ordered after reading the reviews on Vitacost.

Start small. When you’re starting with a new sneaky ingredient–like fish oil or spinach–just add a little bit, and use a little more each day until you’re where you want to be.

Blueberries and blackberries turn your smoothie purple, even if it’s loaded with greens.

Don’t pay too much attention to recipes. Use them for inspiration, and balance the frozen and liquid ingredients to get the consistency you want for your smoothie.

Water works. You don’t have to use juice or milk as your liquid. Water works just fine for many recipes.

Watch the glycemic index. If my kids only had a fruit and juice smoothie for breakfast, they’d have a mid-morning meltdown. I add fat and protein to our smoothies (or have them grab a hard-boiled egg) to avoid a blood sugar crash an hour later.

The order you add the ingredients in matters. Blend greens thoroughly with water or juice before adding other ingredients. Add fish oil after you’ve added an ingredient that gives the smoothie body (like frozen fruit or a banana), or it will end up at the bottom of your blender and not in your smoothie. If you have a Vitamix or Blendtec the order really doesn’t matter. (I use a $50 Braun PowerMax, which was recommended by Cooks Illustrated as a “Best Buy,” and I’d urge you to buy one immediately but they’re not available on Amazon right now.)

Here are some ideas for smoothie ingredients beyond frozen fruit and juice:

  • Fish oil
  • Nut butters
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut milk
  • Leafy greens, like spinach, kale, swiss chard, collards and parsley.
  • Shredded carrots
  • Protein powder
  • Extracts, like almond or vanilla

Here are some of our favorite combinations (all with fish oil):

  • coconut milk, frozen strawberries, frozen pineapple, banana, coconut oil
  • orange juice, kale, raspberries, banana, almond butter
  • water, spinach, mixed berries, banana, coconut oil

Do you make smoothies? Got any ideas for other supplements I should be sneaking into my family’s smoothies?

 

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Comments

    • Anne says

      I just looked up the Barleans Omega kids on Amazon–great price and solid reviews. Thanks for sharing!

  1. says

    I love smoothies! Spinach is the only thing I’ve snuck in so far. I’ll have to get some of that fish oil! Where do you get it?

    • Anne says

      I got mine from Vitacost, and Amazon has a nice selection too. My local Whole Foods has liquid fish oil, but my Kroger doesn’t carry it (at least not yet!).

  2. annette standrod says

    found that using frozen kale and spinach works well. Your blender probably chops fresh leaves well though.

    • Anne says

      That’s great to know. We always have baby spinach on hand, but not kale. I’ve bought the ready-to-cook bags of kale at Trader Joe’s and I’ve wondered how it would blend if I froze it for later instead of using it all at once.

      • Andi says

        I almost always freeze my kale. Actually, I freeze pretty much everything. My usual go-to smoothie is: coconut water, peanut butter or almond butter, a bit of cocoa powder (not the sweetened stuff, just the powder), banana (I break them into pieces and then freeze them in baggies), kale or spinach (I also freeze the kale in baggies), handful of frozen blueberries and a handful of frozen strawberries. Occasionally, I’ll toss in some flax or chia seeds. Since most of my ingredients are frozen, it makes the whole thing super cold and creamy.

  3. Katie says

    You might still want to research out coconut oil. In my mom’s research she has found that olive and fish oil are the only ones that your body cannot use the others. That is great that you have found some great ways for your kids to take supplements. One thing that I have tried to put in my diet has been flax (ground into a meal). It has kind of a nutty flavor. My mom eats it on fruit and yogurt in the mornings.

  4. says

    Loved this today. My girls had a green smoothie for breakfast. I do 1 cup coconut milk, 2 scoops vegan protein powder, tbsp of flax seed, spinach and frozen fruit I have on hand. They are 5 and 6 and love them. We do Dr Mercola’s krill oil. You can get it at Vitamin Shoppe or from Mercola.com. They are tiny and my girls just swallow them down. They don’t like the liquid so that never worked for us. They take it with their other vitamins.

  5. DFrazzled says

    I love Buried Treasure’s line of liquid vitamins. Here’s a link to their children’s multi: http://lifelinefoods.com/pchild.htm

    I took their prenatals + DHA during my last pregnancy and loved them! Being in liquid form, this would be a great option for a smoothie. I mixed mine with a 1/2 c. of juice.

    My kids take a chewable multi-vitamin by Isagenix and ask for them every morning.

    Good luck.

  6. says

    Yes! We LOVE smoothies at our house. My 2yo veggie hater gobbles them up. I usually make ours with kefir, coconut milk, spinach/kale, berries, and whole ground flaxseed meal. Such a great way to get those extra nutrients into their bodies – and ours too! :)

  7. says

    Thought I’d drop back by to let you know that I read this post yesterday and we all had green smoothies for breakfast today. Delicious. Your tips were very helpful.

    I have a deep sense of triumph knowing that I got my whole family to eat spinach before 8:00 am without a struggle!

    Cheers!

  8. says

    I just got a vitamix last week and have been experimenting with green smoothies, but I hadn’t thought of adding coconut oil before! I’m definitely going to try this!

  9. says

    Love all the tips!! I will be linking up to you tomorrow because this made it onto HnB’s top 5 Healthy blog posts for this week. :) Thanks !!

  10. Jennifer says

    I had veggies in my smoothies all the time. In fact I added a bag of spinach to our Shamrock Smoothies just yesterday. I love sneaking in veggies – as much for me as for the kids.

    • Anne says

      Shamrock smoothies are such a good idea for this time of year–I hadn’t thought of that! And I know what you mean–I never used to make smoothies for me when my kids weren’t around, but today my liquid lunch was loaded up with protein powder, fish oil and kale.

  11. says

    My husband did the grocery shopping yesterday and he said the store was out of bananas (How often does that happen?) so he brought home plantains for our smoothies instead. You know what? I love it with a plantain! Much less sugary and still delicious. Just be sure to use a ripe one.

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  13. says

    I knew that fruit smoothies are great but blending with fish oil sounds a good idea. Maybe I will try smoothie with fish oil so that I could reach my omega 3 daily requirement. I could not purchase with amazon because of the shipping so I will check with other online stores for the fish oil.

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  15. Jenn says

    We also add uncooked oatmeal and wheat germ to our smoothies! Oh, and mango pulp from our local Indian market – it’s conveniently canned and lasts us an entire week. I suppose you could also freeze the leftover pulp in ice cube trays and use them later. My girls LOVE helping and watching – they get especially excited when we add spinach or kale, as it turns everything a delicious bright green. :). Thanks for your smoothie-making tips!

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  1. [...] Sneaky Smoothies: How I Became a Blender-Wielding Vitamin Pusher. I wanted to get my kids to take their fish oil, so I started sneaking it into a breakfast smoothie. That proved to be the best kind of slippery slope: I’ve been sneaking all kinds of healthy foods and supplements in their smoothies ever since. Here are some ideas to get started. [...]

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