How to Make Smoothies for Toddlers Weight Gain
How many times have you implored of your child...
...“Just ONE more bite?”
I know... it’s a scene all too familiar to me.
Invariably, all children between the ages of one and five will exhibit some kind of food preference.
Even if they have a good appetite, they’ll definitely have some favorites, as well as hesitance over eating others.
Most of us can accept that picky eating is normal among toddlers.
However, we can never expect parents to watch kids skip meal after meal without worrying about their health.
As their weight plateaus...
...we begin to get desperate enough to try anything.
In today's post, we’ll examine the best way to get your picky little eater complete nutrition... with smoothies!
After all, begging hasn’t always worked so well, has it?
Instead, pack protein, calories, vitamins, and more into just one drink for smoothies toddlers weight gain.
This is one battle I’m dedicated to helping you win...
...so keep reading.
“Why Won’t My Child Eat?”
It’s helpful to understand some of the primary causes kids turn their noses up at everything we offer them.
While there’s probably no need to stress about it, knowing will help you plot more effective solutions.
1. An Underlying Condition
Actually, this is one of the main reasons we worry about our child’s eating habits...
...is something wrong?
But it doesn’t have to be something serious.
Even if your toddler has been chewing away for months now, check and see if oral pain could be turning them off of food.
Aside from that...
...consider digestive problems like acid reflux and constipation.
It may be that your child isn’t picky at all, they just require a few dietary adjustments.
In any case, if a child repeatedly refuses to eat outright, take them to the doctor.
It may not fix the problem, but you can rule out other causes, like stomach problems, allergies, or food sensitivities. It’s always best to begin by ruling out the more serious stuff.
2. Lack of Structure
Toddlers are sharp...
...funny little characters.
At the age of two, their taste buds are evolving, making it a great time to introduce new foods.
But they’re also cultivating strong little personalities that can make mealtime a struggle.
Possibly, your kids know that they can leverage your desire to get them to eat with their own preferences.
If they can refuse until they get chicken nuggets, or can eat in front of the television, why change?
We’ve all done what we’ve had to do in order to get through a meal.
That said, we might make some leeway by instituting an eating schedule. In addition, we can make sure that meals are eaten together at the table.
We all go off-plan sometimes. Try to be less forgiving about when and where food is served in your house.
3. Texture or smell
As a kid, you weren’t a fan of broccoli (I wasn’t).
As it turns out, this is probably because young ones are sensitive to the taste of some plant compounds.
...they just need to keep trying until they get used to it.
So yes, keep offering them the kale.
We don’t just eat with our taste buds. Some children are put off by unusual smells, textures, or appearances.
If your child’s list of approved foods is fewer than ten, they are likely experiencing sensory processing disorder (SPD).
SPD isn’t an official diagnosis, but it refers to the central nervous system’s translation of what our senses pick up.
In the case of kids with SPD, progress can be made by letting them get involved with their food.
4. Poor motor skills
I don’t think I need to remind you that toddlers get frustrated pretty easily.
If your child was difficult to breastfeed, or gags and chokes frequently while swallowing, eating may have become intimidating
In this case, you may want to scale back on complex foods and start over slowly.
Begin introducing crunchy foods alongside softer ones you know they can handle. I’m sure you already cut up any bulky foods or things that won’t fit on a fork - keep that up, too.
Childhood Nutrition in Crisis
A few years ago, I was shocked to see a study estimating that 34% of children eat fast food daily.
It’s also no secret that there’s an obesity epidemic occurring among children ages six and up.
What about developing kids who don’t eat enough to make the gains we want to see?
The daily caloric recommendation for two and three year olds is approximately 1,000-1,400 calories.
That doesn’t differ from what adult women who want to drop a dress size may eat!
Healthy brain, bone, and muscle development are crucial at this time, so a near-adult amount of calories makes sense.
Not to mention, they need to eat for the energy typical of toddlers.
Without it, listlessness and fatigue will occur, stunting their development.
Other symptoms of nutritional deficiency may include crankiness, speech delays, and more frequent illnesses.
And what of those nutritional shakes that promise to help our kids get precious vitamins and calories?
They definitely work, but they’re full of less-than-desirable ingredients.
One popular brand specifically marketed to kids includes the following:
And that’s just for starters - the ingredients list on these “nutrition shakes” is a mile long!
In addition to providing calories and (synthetic) vitamins, they’re big on sugar and preservatives.
In a way, it’s quite counterproductive.
We do our best to avoid or limit candy and soda, so they don’t get hooked on it too young.
Who would have guessed that a “pediatrician formulated” product includes tons of sugar and preservatives?
If nothing else, it definitely doesn’t introduce them to healthy new foods, or teach them any healthy eating habits.
But by far, the biggest reason kids today lack adequate nutrition is food insecurity.
This is what drives many into the arms of cheap, widely available fast food menus.
...food insecurity can cause both nutritional deficiency and obesity.
Therefore, those of us with access to fresh, nutritious foods have a lot to be thankful for.
Blend up the right amount of fat, protein, fiber, and carbs, you can supplement your child’s spare diet with smoothies.
Now on to the good stuff...
Nutritious, Toddler-Approved Smoothies
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as blending everything up and pouring it in a cup.
Even if your toddler’s smoothie tastes great, there are a few other factors affecting success in getting them to drink it.
One is color.
A brown smoothie often results from mixing greens with red and orange fruits and vegetables.
This isn’t going to be appetizing to a child unless you can compare it to a chocolate milkshake.
...strawberries and spinach won’t fit the bill there.
So keep the colors bright and fun (unless you’re actually offering chocolate!).
You may be wondering:
Then read next:
The other is texture.
You may not mind a little stringiness from the celery in your smoothie, but your kid probably will.
(Note: I have recommended several blenders for you below. Each one has it's own purpose for your choosing. If you purchase something by clicking through to one of my partners I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. In fact, it usually saves you money! Thanks for the support.)
For this reason, a high-speed blender that really pulverizes plant matter will be necessary.
Finally, another consideration is flavor, but maybe not for the reason you’d think.
Smoothies comprised mostly of fruit should be limited or combined with less-sweet ingredients.
Toddlers and little kids especially, love the taste of sweet things.
Therefore, we want to avoid making them dependent on sweet tastes - it can spiral into a candy obsession.
As their taste buds continue to evolve, it’s important to help them expand their palate to include other taste sensations.
Here is a bonus tip:
Make it fun!
Give your toddler’s smoothies names that remind them of their favorite stories or cartoon characters.
Make up your own stories about what kind of superpowers smoothies will give them.
Now, onto the recipes!
The Best Little Breakfast Smoothie
Mornings are hard enough, am I right?
Kids, like many adults, aren’t always hungry between waking and heading out for the day’s plans.
This smoothie is substantial without being so heavy, and packs in plenty of fiber.
And like all smoothies, it’s totally portable!
To make it, blend up:
I estimate that this smoothie will clock in at just under 400 calories, making it good for weight gain.
It also has the carbohydrates and protein necessary to fuel active little ones, making it a viable meal replacement.
Super Pretty Pink Smoothie
Is your little one totally into all things princess?
Tell them you learned of this fruit-based smoothie from the fairytales.
It’s a little thick on its own, but you can thin it down with a little unsweetened plant milk.
In this blender, combine:
Whole-milk yogurt will bump the calories in this smoothie to just over 250, by my estimate.
This makes it a better supplement to small meals than a replacement. And despite looking very sweet, it isn’t.
The maple syrup makes it just sweet enough to be palatable.
Surprise Protein Pineapple Smoothie
Sweet and bright, this tropical, citrusy smoothie has some calorie boosters hidden inside.
It’s a great way to add more protein and fat to your toddler’s diet while introducing them to new flavors like pineapple and coconut.
First, toss the following into one of these blenders:
Like the breakfast smoothie, this should come in right around 400 calories, perhaps just a bit under.
It’s packed with healthy saturated fats, which are excellent for developing brains. It’s a perfect weight gain supplement between meals.
Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie
If you really need to make your child feel like they’re getting a treat, here it is.
Instead of extra sugar and processed chocolate-type products, it’s a wholesome, calorie-dense “milkshake” you won’t feel too badly about.
At just over 400 calories, this “dessert” will compensate for that lunch that went largely untouched.
If the peanut butter makes it a little too thick, add in an extra splash of almond milk. For a sweeter taste, make sure your bananas are very ripe.
The Little Green Monster
Sometimes, it’s not the amount of food our kids eat; it’s what they agree to eat.
If yours hates vegetables, stock your freezer with the ingredients for this deceptively tasty green smoothie.
This way, they’ll get the precious plant compounds they need.
All fruits and veggies are frozen.
Blend the following together in this blender:
This recipe is just around 200 calories, so again, it’s more for the nutrients. As long as you pair your green of choice with a paler fruit, you should keep the nice green color.
It’s a super easy, very accessible combination that ensures your toddler is getting complete nutrition.
Okay, that about does it for...
Smoothies Toddlers Weight Gain
When you think about it, we spend too large a chunk of our time as parents worrying.
Verifiably, the root of much of this worry is about our children’s health.
In a world eager to pacify kids with chicken nuggets, fruit punch, and ice cream, how do we do it... right?
If your child refuses food, take them to a doctor first. They may be experiencing discomfort they are unable to explain.
From here, smoothies are the solution when you want to add nutrition and encourage weight gain.
Boost the amount of calories underweight kids get with nut butters, coconut oil, and avocado.
Hide leafy greens behind sweet, nutritious fruits - and never add extra sugar again.
That’s all I got today.
I’d love to hear from you on this post.
How did you get your little ones to eat the foods they needed?
Is there a particular kind of smoothie your toddler loves?
Let me know in the comments below!