Breakfast can be a stressful experience (particularly during the business week) in a house with children. It can feel like there’s never enough time to just relax and enjoy. Either your picky eater has chosen to reject the several options you’ve offered, your slow eater takes the tiniest pieces and basically chews until the food has liquefied, or your mini believes that two small bites is enough to be “all done.”
Meanwhile, your morning conference call is rapidly approaching, or you know that if you don’t leave in the next few minutes you will most certainly be late for work. To top it all off, we were all told as children and young adults that, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Cue the mom guilt.
So when I discovered that smoothies make a great breakfast substitute or breakfast supplement, it completely changed the morning vibes in our home.
One morning I’d prepared some sliced fruit, a piece of multigrain toast with avo, and a small scrambled egg for the baby. I put her in her high chair and served her what I believed was a beautiful, balanced, healthy, and tasty breakfast. She licked the avocado, spit out the eggs, took a few bites of fruit, and declared that she was done. While I argued with my toddler about our difference of opinion on what it means to be “done,” I ran around the kitchen grabbing things to put into my breakfast smoothie. I used a mix of spinach and bok choy because both looked like they were starting to turn. I added some ripe mango, half of a banana, and half of a pitaya (aka dragonfruit). I blended my selections together while we argued.
Her: Ah done
Me: Not all done. Eat your food.
Her: No, no mommy. Ah done.
I poured my smoothie into a mason jar over ice and decided she’d won the battle for the day. I strapped her into the car seat, and we hustled off to daycare. While we waited in the drop-off queue I sipped my smoothie, and in typical toddler fashion, she wanted a “tase” of whatever I was having. I gave her a sip and… she refused to give it back. She finished the entire jar. I knew I’d be buying an overpriced smoothie downtown for my own breakfast later, but I was so pleased that she’d unknowingly downed a couple of days’ worth of greens in one sitting. VICTORY!
Thus began the morning routine of making mommy-and-me smoothies. I still try to get her to eat solid food in the morning, but it feels a lot less stressful now. I know she’ll get more than enough nutrients in her smoothie, and it’ll fill her up until morning snack.
Below you’ll find a couple of pointers and some of our favorite recipes. Wishing you smooth and easy mornings!
- If you have older kids, get them involved in selecting the ingredients for the smoothies. Take them with you to the grocery store to pick out ingredients. Show them how to find new smoothie recipes on Pinterest or even on menus at places like Jamba Juice. Make your own version of those smoothies at home.
- If you’re busy in the mornings, don’t try to make a new recipe every day. Instead, try cutting and freezing all the ingredients over the weekend. Portion and blend in the mornings.
- OR blend large batches on the weekend and freeze into silicone ice molds. Pop out a few cubes in the morning and blend.
- If you have a child under 4, you can also pour the mix into reusable food pouches and freeze. Defrost one in the refrigerator overnight. Serve cold.
- In the spirit of encouraging food and nutrient diversity, try occasionally selecting a vegetable or fruit you’ve never had, and look up a smoothie recipe that includes the new food.
- Taste as you go. Recipes are a great place to start, but always taste as you blend to make sure the flavors are pleasing to you and your family.
- While most fruit is naturally sweet, your child or teen with an affinity for sweet things may not find the smoothies sweet enough to enjoy. Try adding small amounts of honey, agave, or date syrup as needed.