Making anything in the kitchen can be stressful, especially if you start to prepare a dish only to find out halfway that you are missing a vital ingredient. The easiest way to avoid such a calamity is to take a few minutes to gather your equipment and prep all of your ingredients. When including your children in the kitchen preparation, you have to go one step further and ensure that the area that you will be working in is completely safe for them. Be sure that all knives and other sharp objects are put away out of reach, and that they are standing on a sturdy stool, and that the oven is not on or within reach. I find that the more prep work I can do the easier it is to keep my toddler’s attention while preparing food.
Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters. One of the best ways to get them to eat more fruits and vegetables is to involve them in food preparation. Too many choices is overwhelming, but sometimes a question as simple as, “Would you like to make a blueberry or grape smoothie?” is enough to keep them interested from the beginning of the prep to the bottom of the glass.
You will need several items to make smoothies:
Vitamix Power Blender
Milk or Soymilk, Fresh Fruit and Produce of your choosing
Old tee shirt that can get stained or dirty
Food coloring – Optional
Oster 16 Speed Blender
The blender is what you will use to combine all of your ingredients. Blenders can range in price anywhere from $10 – $1000 but you can use any blender as long as your ingredients get mixed together. The blender I use is a Oster 18-Speed with an ice crusher. The Vitamix is considered to be the best blender on the market, and could be a worthy investment if you plan on making smoothies often.
A spatula is necessary because you will need to scrape down the sides of the blender to ensure that all fruit and vegetable pieces are blended to a smooth consistency. Spatulas are very inexpensive and can be purchased at your local big box store.
This varies greatly on what kind of smoothie you are trying to make. You can use fresh or frozen ingredients. Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and bananas are very popular for smoothies. Green smoothies are growing in popularity. Green smoothies are made by using vegetables such as baby spinach, celery, and cucumbers. Most smoothies are made with a liquid ingredient as well. You can use milk, fruit juice, or even yogurt as your liquid ingredient. I get most of my smoothie ingredients from the local grocery stores here (Lowes Foods, Food Lion, and Whole Foods), and I use a combination of fresh, seasonal and frozen ingredients.
Some blenders, particularly those that reach very high speeds, will actually warm up the ingredients as it blends. Because of this, you will need to add ice cubes, especially if you are using fresh or room temperatue produce as a main ingredient.
Sometimes the easiest way to get children to eat healthier is by focusing on presentation. Cups that are decorated with their favorite characters and silly straws are both easy ways to get your child’s attention quickly and make drinking their smoothies more fun. Pay special attention to the opening if you are using a sippy cup. Because smoothies are generally thicker than milk or juice, straws are the best way to drink them.
Even though making smoothies is not an especially messy task, somehow children always find a way to get dirty! Some fruits and juices can stain so it’s better to wear an apron just in case.
Natural Food Coloring
Most smoothies that you make will not require the use of food coloring, however, a bit of natural food coloring can be a festive addition around holidays. Kids will think that its very fun to drink pink or red smoothies for Valentines Day, orange smoothies for Halloween, red, white, and blue smoothies for July Fourth, and red and green smoothies for Christmas. Making smoothies appealing to young children is the first step towards getting them to drink their fruits and vegetables!
You may want to steal your childs smoothie directions for kids if you use the directions here: smoothie directions for kids. They are so delicious!