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 the 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?