Thursday, July 21, 2011

Recipe: Spinach in Fruit Smoothies

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, and health-conscious parents often fret over the difficulty of getting our kids to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Some kids love just about any kind of fresh fruit, but others do not. I must have offered my daughter strawberries two dozen times before she finally tried some, and even now she'll only eat certain fresh, whole fruits, and only when she's in the mood. Vegetables, being more bitter in flavor and usually requiring cooking, are generally the most difficult type of food to get kids to eat enough of on a daily basis. I've found that constantly offering a wide variety of veggies (broccoli, carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes, and potatoes are favorites), steamed and topped with a little butter and salt will usually do the trick. I end up having to eat most of it myself, but I'm satisfied that as long as I keep offering it at lunch and dinner time, at least a couple servings a day end up in my kid's stomach. And it's not like it hurts to get more vegetables into my diet, too.

Smoothies are a super easy way to add whole fruit and some vegetables to a diet. Smoothies are far superior to fruit juice in that they contain less sugar and retain the fiber that helps fill us up, among having other health benefits.

A few years ago a friend of mine passed on a recipe for a smoothie that had been developed specifically to get a child to eat raw spinach. It was a complicated recipe that involved tofu, mango juice, and sweeteners. I tried it for myself, and it did taste fantastic. I have since experimented with simpler smoothie recipes. I've found that raw spinach can be added to just about any fruit smoothie, and it will not ruin the flavor - no sweeteners or exotic juices are necessary. These days I just throw together a smoothie based on whatever I happen to have on hand, but it occurs to me that I should start a collection of the most successful attempts. So here I present a much simpler version of the smoothie that got me started. Again, the taste of the spinach is so mild that it really gets lost, and the only evidence of its presence is the green color, which as you can tell from the photo, my kid doesn't mind one bit:

Mango Banana Spinach Smoothie

Blend together:
3/4 cup frozen mango
1 banana
1 cup loose raw spinach
1 cup water

1 comment:

  1. Marf, I make this one quite a bit but without the mango....vanilla protein powder is a good addition as well, makes it quite smooth. Found the spinach banana smoothie recipe in a smoothie book in New Zealand. I quite like it, and I hate spinach. :P