The Smoothie debate

Blended smoothies are a popular trend with both parents and kids. They are fast and simple, and can allow parents to get foods into a child that they otherwise would not eat.

I have lots of parents giving their little one smoothies every day. Yes, these smoothies are packed full of fruit & greens and please don’t get me wrong – smoothies are great to get extra vitamins and minerals into your toddler.

However, here is some food for thought:

Liquids are quickly digestible and will not keep your toddler satisfied, increasing ‘snacking’.

Although not a smoothie, a cup of fresh apple juice is up to 2-3 apples (maybe more); eating 1 apple would keep you fuller for longer. Since toddlers do not have to chew and take the time to eat, they do not have the same biofeedback to regulate how much they are eating. So, it is important to choose the right foods to blend—preferably a combination of vegetables, limited fruit, and dairy.

Higher-calorie/higher-sugar contents in the smoothie don’t offer much in terms of protein and fat. Fat and protein are essential in every meal. P2B recommends the rules of 3’s. 1/3 fat, 1/3 protein and 1/3 carbohydrate in each meal where possible.

Before making your smoothie put everything you would out in the smoothie on the kitchen bench and look at the content and amounts you are putting in. Drinking a smoothie is faster than eating, so it can cause a quicker rise in insulin. Do not add too much fruit, and do not add any additional sugar. Try to limit the amount of food in the smoothie to what your child could eat if the food was eaten whole vs. blended. In other words, don’t put more food into a smoothie than would be typical for a child to eat. (e.g., do not put 2 bananas, 2 apples, blueberries, and strawberries in—that’s too much).

I am certainly not saying don’t give smoothies, but I am encouraging you to take on board the above and have them as a “sometimes” food.


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