With our first adoption, both of our kids came home very malnourished, as many children from orphanages do. When I thought of malnourishment, I immediately thought of Pediasure which is a high caloric drink that is palatable for children because of it’s extreme sweetness. I bought it in bulk and gave it to the kids right away, especially Elijah.
But, as we tried to transition to regular, solid, healthy food, we had our work cut out for us. He refused most food in favor of Pediasure because of the intense sticky sweetness. I soon regretted giving it to him, and wish I had given him a more whole-food, less addictively sweet version that made the transition to real food easier. Food issues are HEAVY and I don’t think giving him the Pediasure was worth it for those extra calories we could have easily gotten elsewhere. Even our Pediatrician told us she was not a fan of the stuff and gave us some suggestions that are in this smoothie. (Only after he was hooked, though)
So, this time around, we made our own version that had the calorie benefits, but is much more nourishing. All whole, real foods, no added sugar, nutrient dense that I can make it in big batches to give to all my kiddos, not just my newly adopted one, and that they all cheer for it. I even gave some to my husband for his burst of greens, electrolytes, potassium, etc etc. He’s a big fan.
This recipe will work as a Pediasure alternative for picky eaters, as a breakfast, lunch or dinner side to enhance nutrient consumption for children and adults alike, and is extremely healthy for children from orphanages who have a hard time chewing. It will also slowly adjust taste buds to be ready to eat these blended foods whole later on–which is really one of the most important aspects, as you want to set your children up for future success.
You can make it vanilla flavor, or Peanut Butter Chocolate Flavor. Our first version is Chocolate-Peanut Butter Smoothies, such a treat. While in Ethiopia, Poppy was picky, but LOVED our Chocolate Peanut Butter Think Thin bars which are high in protein and have no sugar, so this shake is modeled after those flavors with lots of megawatt goodness hidden inside:
Ingredients // the list is purposely loose in amounts, I actually rarely measure when I make them in the morning, but I wanted to give a rough estimate for those just starting out. Each ingredient can be added more of or less, depending on your pantry and desire. There are times we have run out of one or two, and it still tastes wonderful and is slurped down with glee.
Enjoy! Not only will this be delicious but it will nourish little bodies and minds.
- 1 or 2 bananas, plain or frozen. (We cut ours up and freeze them if they start to turn)
- 2 -3 cups of Coconut Water
- 1/2 to 1 cup of Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 or 1 whole avocado
- 1 or 2 table spoons of Chia Seeds
- 1/4 cup of Walnuts
- 1/2 cup of frozen berries, (Such a blueberries or mulberries. If you have a picky eater who would love a more purple color, pick mulberries as they have a very strong color when blended)
- 1 or 2 tablespoons of Hemp Seeds
- 1 or 2 Dates (Source of natural sweetness)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of Raw Cacao Powder
- 2 to 3 spoonfuls of Almond Butter
- 1/4 cup of coconut oil
- Splash of your preferred type of milk
- 1 cup of ice
- Handful or two or three of fresh or frozen greens
- (Optional) One fresh egg
- (Optional) Kid friendly Probiotics
- (Optional) Vanilla Extract
Ingredients // The Why
- Bananas, makes for a nice constancy // Vitamin b6, manganese, potassium, vitamin c
- Coconut Water // Hydrating, full of potassium, copper and magnesium and electrolytes. It is also filled with natural sugars, making it extra tasty for little ones without being overboard.
- Greek Yogurt // Makes the smoothies thick and creamy. Packed with protein, zinc, B6 and calcium.
- Frozen Berries // Certain berries make it more purple if you are trying to conceal the green, like mulberries. We use frozen blueberries to give it a thicker, colder body. It is also filled with antioxidants, fiber, vitamin k and flavonoids.
- Coconut Oil // A very good fat to consume, filled with a short 3-chain fatty acids (Meaning your body takes only 3 steps to break it down before it can use it as energy as opposed to the 27 chain in something like Olive Oil) It helps our bodies ward off illness and bacteria, high in calories. Populations who eat a lot of coconut are some of the healthier in the world.
- Fresh Egg // We crack a fresh egg into the blender. I don’t recommend doing this unless you have your own fresh eggs to work with, don’t use store bought, even organic store bought. If you do have access to fresh eggs there are many benefits to adding them to a smoothie.
- Walnuts // Heart health, brain health. They are an excellent source of important omega-3 essential fatty acids like linoleic acid (ALA) and arachidonic acids, decreases ‘bad’ cholesterol, increases ‘good’.
- Avocado // More good fats, eating them can help you absorb nutrients from plants more effectively.
- Chia Seeds // Fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants
- Hemp Seeds // “Perfect Protein” containing all 20 amino acids, but also each of the 9 essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce.
- Probiotics // I add a couple of kids probiotics in
- GREENS! // One of the most important things for any of us to be consuming throughout the day, but putting them in smoothies is one of the easiest. It’s important to ‘rotate’ your greens, meaning, not just add the same kind every day, but mix it up. I bought some kale plants over a year ago, and as they grow taller, we can still harvest leaves from them daily. We also will use spinach, chard and purple cabbage, etc. The more the better in our smoothies.
Highlighted Flavors: Almond Butter, Raw Cocoa, Dates, Vanilla Extract.
Poppy loved them each time we made them. She would start to look when we pulled out the blender and would dance and cheer! As time went on, we started altering them a bit, upping the greens, decreaing dates and almond butter, etc. I made one today alongside lunch and all the kids love it!
Cheers to your health!
Try it out and let us know what you think! Feel free to share with any moms of picky eaters (Or husbands 😉 or adoptive parents.
This recipe has helped us to much, and Poppy has since been able to incorporate many healthy solid foods including many vegetables to her diet which is awesome! (Instead of foaming at the mouth for more pediasure like our other little lovie–not mentioning names. But is was Elijah) He’s healthy now, but oy vey that was a challenge. Learn from our mistakes, help your kids thrive from the get go at home.
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