It’s time to create a new breakfast staple with fun ideas for kids. Although breakfast is the most important meal of the day, a typical kid’s breakfast includes foods such as cereal, pancakes, bagels or waffles, which are high in processed grains. These breakfasts are easy to make, but don’t include the ideal nutrient balance your kids need to start their day. A balanced breakfast contains a protein, a carbohydrate and healthy fat.
Here are five steps to help you create a balanced breakfast smoothie that will keep your kids satisfied until their morning snack or lunch, and provide them vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrate and healthy fats essential for energy and growth.
Step 1: Start with raw nuts. Nuts create a great base for your smoothie. Nuts provide protein, healthy fats and will give your smoothie a good consistency. Try almonds, cashews or walnuts. If your child is allergic to nuts, then leave this step out.
Step 2: Add a carbohydrate. For a smoothie, fruit is your ideal carbohydrate. Fruit provides quick energy, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Bananas will give your smoothie a creamy consistency. Also try fresh berries, mango or papaya. Fruits with skin, such as apples, don’t typically create a smooth consistency in a smoothie. Use fresh or frozen fruit.
Step 3: Include a protein. Protein will help keep your child’s blood sugar steady longer, helping them feel satisfied longer. Good-quality protein powders are ideal, since they are smooth and emulsify easily. Try a dairy-based organic grass-fed whey protein such as Tera’s Whey. If you prefer a non-dairy protein powder, try Warrior Food Natural Vegan Protein powder by Health Force, made from a combination of rice protein and hemp seeds. Although not as smooth as whey protein, this protein powder has a relatively smooth consistency and no aftertaste, unlike many pea-protein-based vegan protein powders. You may also use yogurt. Keep in mind that most kid-friendly yogurts are high in sugar. Choose a yogurt with little or no sugar, knowing you will have the sweetness of the fruit.
Step 4: Provide a healthy fat. Healthy fats will further help to keep your child satisfied until their next meal or snack. They are important for your brain, which is 70 percent fat. They also supply nutrients that are essential for growth, energy and the absorption and metabolism of some nutrients. Try flax or coconut oil, coconut butter or even avocado.
Step 5: Choose a liquid. Most smoothies include fruit juice as their liquid. But why add sugar in liquid form when you can get the carbohydrate from whole fruit? The key to a balanced smoothie is to not overdo the sugar component of the drink. Instead of juice, try water, milk or unsweetened almond milk.
Bonus Tip: Create new smoothie flavors by adding cacao powder, pure vanilla extract or ground cinnamon. Chocolate banana smoothies are a favorite.
These steps will yield a balanced, nourishing breakfast smoothie, perfect for a hot day or breakfast on the go.
Sample Breakfast Smoothie Recipe
Makes 1 smoothie
- Put a handful of raw almonds(approximately 15-20) and put in blender. Add 3/4 cup water.
- Blend the almonds for 1 minute, until the mixture becomes a pulp. Note: this step is key to creating a smooth smoothie.
- Add 1banana or 1/2 banana plus 5 strawberries or ½ cup blueberries. Having frozen fruit on hand works well. Remember to peel bananas before freezing.
- Add 1 scoop of dairy-based Tera’s Organic Whey Protein orWarrior Food Natural Vegan Protein powder by Health Force.
- Add 1 tablespoon coconut butter,1 teaspoon flax oil or 1/4 avocado
- Add ice and water for desired consistency and coldness.Blend well to create a smooth, creamy consistency.
Note: Use any extra smoothie to make a homemade frozen popsicle using a popsicle mold.
Shani Mara Breiter is a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in working with families, kids and teens. She offers a family-centered nutrition program along with individualized sessions both virtually and in person at her Beverly Hills and Encino offices. Learn more at shanimara.com.