It's Monday again, which means it Monday Food Prep day for me. Since I devote myself to prepping food for the other days of the week, I pick really fast and easy lunches to reduce my overall workload for the day. Smoothies are one of my favorite ways to do this. I also love smoothies because they are great for gradually adjusting kids' taste buds to new flavors without the visual and textural shock. I ultimately have the goal of seeing my kids shriek with excitement at the announcement that wilted spinach is for dinner...but let's start small, people, okay? ;)
So today, I decided I would make an "iron-focused" smoothie. What that means it that I choose foods that complement iron absorption.
I'm not one for recipes and measuring. I almost never repeat the same recipe exactly how one is supposed to. I just throw in whatever I feel like. I would encourage you to experiment too! If you want to try more kefir to cocoa ratio, go for it! You may explore that your kids really like the flavor of spinach and can add more as you go!
So here's what I did today, and my kids LOVED it!
-Mango flavored smoothie (I got it at Sprouts) Protein, added vitamin D, Calcium
- Frozen Spinach: Iron, Fiber
- Cocoa powder: Iron, flavor AND it doesn't hurt to tell your kids there is healthy chocolate in there
- Peanut Butter: Iron, protein
- Banana: I mostly added this for flavor...banana has a great flavor next to chocolate.
So technically, Calcium and Iron are not friends; meaning, one inhibits the absorption of the other a little. Iron rich foods (like spinach) have something called oxalic acid in it, and it binds to Calcium. But before you say "What's the point then???" remember that your/kids' bodies will absorb some, and the goal of healthy food training is not simply for our bodies' health, but for overall health; to experience a wide array of textures, flavors, and smells, all while enjoying social interaction with others.
But back to the smoothie: here are a couple of things I've learned along the way:
- If you have a toddler, a child who doesn't handle utensils well, or just a straight up messy child and want to minimize the mess, add a little flaxseed meal to the smoothie if it is runny. This adds Omega-3's, and absorbs much of the liquid.
- blend on "liquefy" setting; the spinach can be rather fibrous, making it difficult for small kids to handle...and it freaks them out a bit...
- if you want to increase iron absorption even more, add a fruit that has vitamin C, such as strawberries
Let me know if you try this recipe, or what changes you made to it! And please subscribe and share if you found this helpful!