Easy Smoothie Recipes for Kids: No Added Sugar and Vegan
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Easy and smoothie are pretty synonymous. Sure, you can complicate almost anything if you put your mind to it. But at its foundation, smoothies are simple and easy. How much easier can it get to put all your ingredients in one pitcher, blend, and presto! You’ve got a meal in a drink! Or at least a snack.
I’ve received some awesome feedback on my previous smoothie recipe posts and that has been incredibly inspiring! The side effect? I’ve had smoothies on the brain. So it got my wheels turning. I’m always looking for ways to make my time more efficient – and I’m sure any family is too! Smoothies are a great fast, easy, and healthy snack solution for kids and their super busy parents. I eat them all the time and give them to my one-year-old daughter as a healthy, quick snack almost daily.
Smoothies are also versatile! If you’ve got fruits or veggies (you’d be surprised what you can use) that look to be overripe or on the edge of spoiled, you can probably throw them in a smoothie and get some delicious results.
So I thought I’d share some easy smoothie recipes for kids. Five to be exact! They are vegan, simple, and no added sugar so you can relax knowing that they are loaded with nutrients and not just empty calories.
Watch Out for Sugar Not Fats!
I can’t speak for everyone but it seems to me that many sugary items like candy, ice cream, and cookies are targeting kids in their advertisements. And that’s not mentioning the cereals made for kids! It’s just disguised, enriched candy for breakfast which is the worst time of day to load up on sugars.
It’s just asking for an entire generation crippled by obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. According to Rachel Johnson, professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington; sugar is loaded with calories. That can impact you two ways. First, it can replace nutrient-rich foods or, second, add additional calories to a healthy diet which puts you at risk for weight gain (1).
Sugar increases triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood), lowers good cholesterol (HDL), and increases bad cholesterol (LDL) which are the signs of a poor lipid profile. A poor lipid profile puts you at risk of coronary heart disease. Plus, sugar promotes inflammation and increases your blood pressure (2).
The World Health Organization suggests free sugar intake for adults and children should be at 5% or less of total energy intake. For an adult of normal body mass that works out to be about 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar a day (3). For children under 2, there should be no added sugar.
How to Make Smoothies Kids Will Love Lies in Simplicity
“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee
Did I mention I’ve been studying martial arts for over five years? Bruce Lee and Donnie Yen are phenomenal! If you haven’t seen them in action, I highly recommend watching them.
But back to my point…
Every restaurant I’ve worked gave me a unique insight into kids before I became a parent myself. With the occasional exception, most kids palettes are very simple and boring. When I worked a burger bar in Austin, TX.; about 95% of the kids that ordered got the same thing: a classic burger plain and dry with cheese. I found the same thing when it came to smoothies kids would order regularly too. They crave very basic things. When you dress it up, in most cases, they will lose interest.
So with that in mind, I keep my recipes for kids very simple – three or four ingredients at most. And some of those items are not even noticeable in the flavor profile!
Tips and Tricks for Making the Best Smoothies for Kids
Here are some simple tips and tricks I’ve found over the years that turn a regular smoothie into a delicious, high-nutrient, silky smoothie that any kid (or adult) no matter how picky will enjoy.
- Buy a good blender. I’m not kidding on this one! You need a high-performance blender with variable speed settings. This is the only way to get the kind of smoothies that come out like an ice cream shake. The one I use is a Vitamix 5200.
- Freeze your fruits. A few days ahead of time works best.
- Bananas work very well for making a creamy smoothie. If there is no banana in the recipe, you can add 2 oz. avocado, 1-2 tbsp. hemp seeds, or 1 tbsp. hemp or flax oil to achieve a similar consistency.
- You can put spinach in any smoothie and it won’t change the taste. This is a great way to get some additional vitamins in your kids and they will still love it!
- Place greens and peanut butter before fruit in the blender.
- Be conservative with the liquid. I like my smoothies so thick that the straw stands upright. I usually shoot a little under what I think I will need for the juice or milk and slowly add more while the blender is running until I get just enough that the blades start turning properly. Just be careful! I have a tendency to overtax my machine doing this.
- Do not blend any longer than necessary. The blades will heat up while in use and will melt the fruit and make the drink runny.
Alternatively, if you are completely new to making smoothies or are unfamiliar with how to make smoothies with frozen fruit my post, Smoothies 101, might be helpful.
Also, if you are looking for a good blender, I recommend the Vitamix 5200. It is the one I use for all my smoothies.
Now onto the recipes!
Smoothie Recipes for Kids
So here are 5 easy smoothie recipes that are vegan, healthy, and delicious that can be enjoyed by the whole family but made in kid sizes!
Mango and Peach Smoothie
- 1/2 cup chunks of mango, frozen
- 1/2 cup sliced peaches, frozen
- 3/4 cup orange juice
Spinach and P.B. Smoothie
- 1 cup bananas, frozen (approx. 1 banana)
- A handful of spinach (approx. 1/2 cup)
- 1 tbsp. peanut butter
- 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (enough to reach about 1 inch below the top of the fruit)
Raspberry and Banana Smoothie
- 3/4 cup bananas, frozen (approx. 1 small banana)
- 1/4 cup raspberries, frozen
- 1 chunk of raw beet (about 1″x1″ in size) optional
- 3/4 cup pineapple juice
Strawberry and Banana Smoothie
- 1/2 cup banana, frozen (approx. 1/2 med. banana)
- 1/2 cup strawberries, frozen
- 3/4 cup apple juice
Spinach and Peach Smoothie
- 1 cup sliced peaches, frozen
- A handful of spinach (approx. 1/2 cup)
- 3/4 cup apple juice
Place spinach and peanut butter in the blender first.
Then add the fruits.
Add the liquid until it sits about 1/4 inch under the very top of the fruit unless you have spinach then it’s about 1 inch under.
Turn on blender at the lowest setting and let it run until everything is starting to blend together. Add more liquid if needed to reach desired thickness.
Slowly turn the setting to high.
Once the smoothie is thoroughly blended (and you are getting the vortex at the top), turn off the blender.
These recipes make about 8-10 oz.
If you prefer less sugar, substitute juice with unsweetened vanilla almond or hemp milk.
If your kid has an allergy to peanut butter, you can replace with almonds or almond butter.
The amounts of fruit vary according to the size of the pieces so measurements are approximate. The best thing to keep in mind is the ratio of fruits. The liquid should sit just under the top part of the fruit and add more if it’s too thick.
I do hope you (and your kids) enjoy these recipes as much as I do! If you have any questions or great smoothie recipes you’d like to share, please leave them in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!
And thanks for taking the time to visit Late Summer Mama!