Delight Your Kids with a "Milkshake" for Breakfast
Tell your kids you’re making them a “milkshake,” and they’re certain to be thrilled! My boys love “milkshakes” any time of the day, and mom and dad love making them—they’re easy, refreshing, filling, and you can pack them full of healthy ingredients. I love that you can practically make a different “milkshake” every time, which adds a lot of variety to their diet, and it goes down like a treat!
Whether your kids are choosy eaters or not, a “milkshake” is an effective way to fit in a variety of different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and protein which they might not get enough of in their meals. Here are some of the strategies I use when I make “milkshakes.” Often times, I don’t even use a recipe, so don't hesitate to experiment!
“Milkshake” Boosters: Fruits and Vegetables
I think it’s a given “milkshakes” are full of fruits and vegetables, but this is also an opportunity to add less typical fruits and veggies, such as: kiwi, pomegranate seeds, guava, melon, carrot, kale and cucumber. Another trick: baby greens, such as spinach, have a very mild flavor and your kids will never even notice the cup of spinach in their “milkshake.”
I’ve also been known to add powdered forms of fruits and veggies, such as goji berry powder and camu camu powder, which both add a nice sweet flavor and a ton of nutrition.
“Milkshake” Boosters: Healthy Fats
Depending on the “milkshake,” I've been known to add chia seeds, flax, hemp seeds, avocado, coconut oil, coconut shreds, nuts, and nut butter for healthy fat. The extra fat boosts the calories and that feeling of fullness (satiety), and slows down the rate of absorption to reduce a spike in blood sugar levels. Kids need fat. It's actually essential for neurological development and brain function. It also helps absorb all the important fat-soluble vitamins in the "milkshake," such as vitamins A, D, E, and K.
“Milkshake” Boosters: Protein
For protein, great options include: Greek yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, hemp seeds, protein powder, nuts and nut butter.
Protein in my kids’ “milkshake” is a must. High-protein breakfast foods can actually help a child’s behavior. Specifically, two types of proteins (tyrosine and tryptophan) have a major impact on neurotransmitters, which help your child’s brain make the right connections. Milk and yogurt are great additions for a creamy “milkshake” and contain both types of protein, along with bone-building nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus.
Just like fat, protein is very important for creating a “full and satisfied” feeling quicker than carbohydrates. Protein slows down rates of digestion and absorption, which makes your child feel fuller for longer. It’s also common for children to be picky about meat, chicken, and fish, so adding protein to a “milkshake” will ensure they come closer to their daily protein requirements.
“Milkshake” Boosters: Flavor
I always add cinnamon to “milkshakes.” It’s a mild flavor, but offers a ton of health benefits, such as supporting healthy, normal blood sugar levels, potent antioxidants, and a fiber boost.
If I’m making a chocolate “milkshake,” I like to use cacao powder or nibs (depending on what I have in my pantry) for the chocolate flavor.
Blueberry Mango “Milkshake”(Serves 2)
1 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)
1 cup mango chunks
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup milk, any variety (the liquid helps it blend easier)
optional: spinach and cinnamon
Ice, if blueberries or mango aren’t frozen
Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend on high until smooth and frothy. Pour into a glass, and drinking through a fun straw is a must! Feeling adventurous?
Paleo Peach Coconut “Milkshake” (Serves 2)
1 cup full fat coconut milk, chilled
2 large fresh peaches, pit removed. Frozen is ok too.
Fresh lemon zest, to taste
Ice, if peaches aren't frozen.
Add all ingredients to a blender. Using a microplane, add a few gratings of fresh lemon zest. Blend on high until smooth. Note: feel free to swap out the peaches for another fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, or oranges.
Any time of year is a good time of year for smoothies, so have fun experimenting and enjoy the excitement your kids exude when you make their favorite “milkshake.”
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods