These healthy green smoothies are super easy to make and can be enjoyed as a quick breakfast or snack. They are a great way to boost nutrition for babies, toddlers, and kids!
Green leafy vegetables for babies
Spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, lettuce, beet greens…so many varieties!
Green leafy vegetables contain a host of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They are particularly rich in vitamin K, folate, and some even contain calcium and iron. So of course, we want our children to eat them.
Except that bitter flavors are not those that they naturally gravitate towards, and oftentimes a ton of repeated exposures are needed before toddlers and kids learn to appreciate them.
And if you have a baby, research shows that early exposure to bitter flavors may help increase acceptance and shape food preferences that will carry into childhood and beyond.
So start early! Since introducing them to young babies can be a bit tricky, I show you exactly when and how to prepare them in my 3 month meal plan program. You will be able to incorporate so many different greens to your baby (and your entire family’s) diet with ease and confidence.
EASY Green Smoothies for babies and kids
Smoothies are a busy, tired mom’s dream because they are so easy to whip up and an awesome way to get a host of nutrients into our growing kids in one sitting.
They’re especially great when your child is sick, doesn’t have much of an appetite, or is on-the-go a lot of times.
I always aim to add some type of vegetable alongside the fruits. And since greens wilt quickly, adding them to smoothies helps reduce waste.
You can also freeze them, which is what I always do whenever I purchase a big container of spinach or baby kale. It’s SO convenient to have as you can easily add them to so many foods like, pancakes, muffins, cakes, and of course, these smoothies!
I do want to encourage you to continue offering the greens in their natural state. Otherwise, you may find yourself constantly having to “sneak” them into their foods, which can hurt their trust and make things harder for you.
Tips for Picky Eaters
- If your child is really reluctant when it comes to their greens, start by adding less than the amount listed in the recipe. Gradually add more over time.
- Start with baby spinach as it’s the mildest in flavor amongst the greens.
- Freeze leafy greens if you can. This will help reduce the bitterness and cut back on waste. Just add them straight to the blender. There’s no need to defrost as they will thaw quickly.
- Same goes for fruits. You will end up with a smoother, creamier smoothie. You can certainly purchase from the store, but they are super easy to freeze at home and cheaper too! Don’t waste those ripe fruits, like brown bananas. We all have them ;).
Related Post: How to Freeze vegetables and fruits
- Blend in the order listed. Otherwise you may get chunks of greens, and that’s not appealing.
- If your child won't eat anything that's green in color, try adding darker fruits, like blueberries, blackberries, and cherries.
- Involve your child in the process. The goal is not to hide or sneak veggies into your child’s meals. Allow them to see the ingredients, and interact with them by dumping into the blender. There are so many benefits to getting in the kitchen with your child, including increased willingness to try new/disliked foods. If your child only wants to add 1 measly piece of spinach (or none at all!) that’s ok! Pat yourself on the back for exposing your child to the food and try again next time!
- Add fat or protein, such as nuts, avocado, and yogurt. These help slow down the absorption of sugar and help keep your child fuller for longer.
Related Post: Nuts and Seeds
Three "Hulk" Smoothie Recipes
I've provided a basic formula for whipping up any delicious green smoothie in the recipe card below. I thought I'd share three ideas to help get you started! Be creative and have fun coming up with all kinds of variations with your child!
Pear Green Smoothie
My son loves ginger and gets so proud that he can handle "spicy." If your child isn't a fan, feel free to leave out or add cinnamon instead. This one is the thinnest in consistency. If you desire a thicker, sweeter smoothie, add some frozen banana.
Sweet potato spinach smoothie
This is my son's favorite out of the three. The color is darker than the others because of the sweet potato, so if your child won't eat anything green, you can add more. But not too much. They probably won't like a brown smoothie either (oh toddlers!).
You can also make this with butternut squash!
Tropical Green Smoothie
This one is the thickest in consistency, making it great to enjoy in a bowl with a spoon. Smoothie bowls are so fun for kids.
Frequently Asked Questions
I don't recommend serving them to babies under 9 months old. For older babies, I would mix in food with some texture, like oatmeal or lentils for a little more bite. This will also make it easier for them to self feed.
The reason being the first year is a critical time for them to learn to maneuver foods with their hands and inside the mouth, to chew and to swallow.
Therefore, it’s better to serve the fruit, making sure it’s the right size and texture for their age and development, rather than blended.
And as mentioned above, while smoothies are healthy from a nutritional standpoint, they don’t teach your baby to like the included foods in their whole forms. It’s SO important to expose them to a wide variety of foods during the first year.
Once toddlerhood hits, food neophobia (or fear of new foods) sets in and it becomes much more challenging to get them to accept new foods.
Unlike juicing, blending fruits and vegetables into a smoothie retains the whole food, with fiber intact. It's an easy and convenient way to get vitamins, minerals, protein, fat, and fiber into your child.
Most blenders are powerful enough that you should be able to make smoothies using frozen fruits and vegetables. However, I have found that high-powered blenders make smoother smoothies in a flash.
I absolutely LOVE my blender and use it for everything as I don't own a food processor. It is well worth the investment. I've had mine for 7+ years and it's still going strong.
You can but you'll end up with a more icy texture. It will also water down the flavor. Using frozen produce will help achieve the creamiest smoothies.
Both dairy and non-dairy will work fine. For toddlers, choose full-fat, unsweetened variety. Here are my top two non-dairy milk.
Yes, the overall fiber from the fruits and vegetables will help keep their digestive system healthy and running.
While it’s best to drink immediately, it can be stored for a day. Just be sure to give it a good shake before serving as separation will occur. If wanting to enjoy on another day, I would freeze them into popsicles!
Other Green Recipes for Kids
- Pizza Quesadilla
- Spinach Muffins
- Spinach Baby Pancakes
- Pumpkin Seed Spinach Hummus
- Chicken Spinach Quinoa Casserole
- Pizza Couscous Casserole
Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!
Green Smoothies for kids
- ¾-1 cup milk of choice
- 1 cup green leafy vegetable of choice
- (Choose one) 1-2 tablespoons nut/seed butter or seeds (ground flax seed, hemp, chia) OR ¼ cup yogurt OR ½ avocado
- 1 cup frozen fruit and/or sweet vegetable
- Put all the ingredients in a high-powered blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 day. You can also freeze into popsicles.
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk + 1 cup baby spinach + ½ avocado + ½ cup frozen mangoes + ½ cup frozen pineapple
- ¾ cup milk of choice + 1 cup baby spinach + ¼ cup plain yogurt + 1 cup frozen pear + ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup milk of choice + 1 cup baby spinach + 1 tablespoon hemp seeds + ½ cup cooked sweet potatoes (chilled) + ½ cup frozen banana + 1 teaspoon cinnamon