These veggie-loaded healthy toddler smoothies are easy, delicious and perfect for kids (and adults) of all ages! They are quick to blend up and make for a perfect healthy breakfast or quick snack!
Published 8/2015. Updated 8/2019
Oh, how my Alice loves her smoothies. I could give them to her for three meals a day and she would be as happy as a clam. She guzzles them down without blinking an eye, despite them being full of super healthy raw fruits and veggies that she often turns her pretty little nose up to if I just put them on the plate in front of her (I suppose a 3-year-old has to explore the little power that a 3-year-old has in her life…in the form of rejecting a beautiful baby spinach salad, but I digress). So how did Alice come to love smoothies as deeply and passionately as she does? By starting her young and taking smoothie baby steps.
The other afternoon, I was on the playground with Alice and some of our neighbors. My friend, Morganne, was talking about how her 1-year-old had not warmed to the idea of eating most fruits and vegetables.
“I don’t know how to get him to eat them,” she said as we simultaneously pushed our kiddos on the swings. As a teacher, I’ve heard so many parents struggle with getting their children to eat any fruit or vegetable. It’s a common issue that requires patience, persistence, a bit of sneakiness, and a blender.
“Have you tried smoothies?” I asked her. Her eyes got wide as she paused pushing her son on the swing for a moment.
“No! That’s a good idea!” she replied. We went on to talk about how to ease fruit and veggie rich smoothies into her son’s diet without overwhelming his little taste buds.
“I’m going to try that!” Morganne enthusiastically stated, as we parted ways for dinnertime. And sure enough, the next day, I received a gleeful text from her, sharing that she had gotten her son to drink a strawberry apple smoothie. The first step in her little guy embracing my two favorite food groups into his diet. An absolute victory.
So, how do you get your child into the smoothie habit? What do you put in a smoothie that will taste good? Where do you even start? First things first, my friends. Go get the blender and read about my tips for introducing your child to smoothies.
How to introduce toddlers and kids to smoothies
Step 1. Start with the familiar .
Chances are, if your child has never eaten a green veggie and you throw a kale smoothie in front of her, she is going to reject it. Start making smoothies with things that your kiddo is already madly in love with so that they can warm up to the idea of smoothies. Make it a fun thing to create together and enjoy it together. If you want your kiddo to drink it, make sure you are drinking it too. Those little eyes are noticing everything that you do and eat.
Step 2. Now start adding in some new items.
Great, Junior is loving his banana strawberry smoothie every morning! Now is the time to try throwing in a small handful of spinach to the blender with the other usual ingredients. Will he notice the change in color? Sure, but chances are he will be much more likely to give this new green drink a chance because he remembers how much he liked the other smoothies.
If he totally rejects it, maybe try adding a carrot or half of an avocado to the smoothie instead of the spinach (for now). I’m a big believer in putting veggies in smoothies. The natural sweetness of fruit helps to make the flavors of vegetables that children often reject much more palatable, so smoothies are an excellent way of making sure your child is getting part of his/her daily veggie serving. It is also a great way to start getting them used to those “hidden” flavors. Kale on it’s own won’t seem like such a bizarre flavor to your child once he/she has been subconsciously been loving it in the morning smoothie.
Step 3. Awesome! Now keep adding vegetables!
Like I said, fruit is naturally super sweet, but fruit is also pretty high in natural sugars. Smoothies are an awesome way to get your children used to eating fruits and veggies, so make sure you are utilizing them for all they are worth! Try putting only 1 banana in the smoothie and adding a a small piece of cooked beet (beets are super sweet when cooked and excellent in smoothies, I promise).
Allow yourself to get all mad scientist in the kitchen and try playing with your smoothie recipes so that you have close to a 50/50 fruit/veggie ratio. If your child resists, don’t give up. Play with the recipe and keep offering. Over time, your child’s taste buds can and will change to enjoy these new, less sweet smoothies.
Step 4. Now put your child in charge of smoothie making!
Your child is really starting to love his/her morning smoothie. Keep the love and interest going by making them the official smoothie chef of the house! Encourage them to try new flavor combinations (and be willing to suck those puppies down with a smile on your face in the name of healthy kiddos). I’ve said it before and I will say it again, a child who feels invested and a part of healthy food is going to love it even more.
Tips for make healthy toddler smoothies
- Adjust them to their personal needs! If you child has a food allergy or a strong food preference, smoothies are easily adaptable. (see below for substitution ideas)
- If you aren’t using a high-speed blender, blend a little at a time. Add the greens and the liquid. Blend. Add the banana or/frozen fruit. Blend. Continue this until recipe is done. This will help to ensure you end up with a silky smooth texture instead of one with chunks of fruit and veggie.
- Add more/less liquid to get ideal consistency! Some kiddos like their smoothies thick like a milk shake, some want them thinner. Play with how much you add based on the personal preference of your child!
Toddler smoothie substitutions
If your child has a food allergy or strong taste preference, you can still make just about any healthy toddler smoothie recipe that your find…just with a few tweaks.
- Replace banana with frozen mango
- Replace avocado with zucchini
- Sub nut butter or sunflower seed butter for avocado
- Use whatever kind of milk your family typically drinks
- Nut allergy? Use sunflower seed butter or coconut butter instead!
- Switch bananas for pitted dated (just be sure to blend very well)
Need a few smoothie recipes to get your smoothie habit going? Here are 15 kid-friendly smoothies that are easy to make, loaded with lots of healthy goodness, and an excellent jumping off point for new smoothie-goers.
An easy, veggie-loaded chocolate banana smoothie made from good-for-you ingredients. It’s chocolatey, perfectly sweet, loaded with healthy foods and can easily be made with dairy or dairy-free.
Delicious Vitamin C Immune Boosting Smoothie is made with strawberry, banana, red bell pepper and is the perfect start to your day. Loaded with vitamin C rich fruits and veggies, its a great thing to add into the routine! Naturally vegan, dairy-free and kid-approved!
This Creamy Cauliflower & Blueberry Smoothie is loaded with tons of antioxidants, fiber, nutrients, healthy fat and protein. You’ll be totally amazed that you can’t taste the cauliflower and will adore how smooth and creamy the cauli makes your morning blend!
Wait what? These aren’t a smoothie!
But they are friends! Just in frozen popsicle form! These Super Healthy Fudge Pops are creamy, delicious and the perfect chocolaty treat that will dazzle your family. Loaded with sneaky veggies, dairy-free, gluten free and super kid-approved. They are the perfect thing to help a smoothie-iffy kiddo warm up to smoothies!
This Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Smoothie is oh-so delicious and loaded with protein, healthy fat and greens! Healthy enough for breakfast, but tasty enough for a treat. Whip up a batch in the morning to send your crew off happy and fueled up on nothing but the good stuff!
I don’t know if its because they taste really stinking good or because they are based around every child’s favorite Christmas villain, but kids love these Green Grinch Smoothies. Like, really love them. Trust me on this one, guys. I tested this smoothie recipe out on a whole preschool of them.
This is actually the green smoothie recipe that made our family fall in love with green smoothies! So delicious and easy. And full of nothing but the good stuff!
Another “not what you were expecting” recipes, right? These muffins are all the goodness of a smoothie but in muffin form! These are seriously perfect, super kid-approved and a really great place to get the nutritional benefits of a green smoothie…even when smoothies are not your kid’s jam.
Sometimes making a smoothie a bit more magical is the perfect way to perk a child’s willingness in taking a sip! Pick one of these magical smoothie adaptions with your child and read his/her favorite fairytale while you drink it together!
The prefect treat that also gets your greens in, Veggie-Loaded Mint Chocolate Shake is naturally sweetened, totally dairy-free, and a dessert that you can going to feel amazing about enjoying!
The perfect way to make a smoothie lover out of the most skeptical of kids. The sweet flavors of apples and cinnamon together really make this smoothie a hit with the children.
Zucchini in a smoothie? Yep, that can totally be a thing! A great way to use up your end-of-summer squashes or a delicious blend to get extra veggies in, Creamy Zucchini Smoothie is dairy-free, Paleo, and the perfect breakfast or snack for a busy day!
Sometimes all it takes are the smallest changes to make a smoothie appealing to a kid! Like serving it in a bowl instead of a cup! My daughter calls this “smoothie soup” and loves to decorate her smoothie bowls with granola, dye-free sprinkles, finely chopped nuts, and sliced fruit!
If green is not going to fly in the smoothie department, try this out-of-the-box veggie-packed smoothie on for size! Surprisingly sweet but still full of amazing and good-for-you ingredients!