Smoothies are a great way to get fruits and vegetables into your diet, or protein to build the body. Great for a reluctant breakfast eater or as a nutritious snack, they are quick to make and should be drunk immediately. When making smoothies, remember to experiment with the texture – they can be juicy (more like a ‘crush’) or creamy. Add ice for hydration and to increase the water content. This may also make the smoothie less thick which children may prefer. Whatever combination you find, the best smoothies are always smooth and cool.
Give children a chance to add more vegetables to their diet. Build on the traditional fruity mixes by adding torn kale or spinach leaves, chopped beetroot or cucumber, or pressed carrot and pumpkin juice to a smoothie. These are naturally sweet and blend well. They may not even notice the vegetables if you do a taste test, and it may help fussy eater to start enjoying vegetables before moving on to accepting the cooked variety on a plate!
Encourage children to create their own mix of two to three fruits and vegetables. Ask their friends to guess the fruits and vegetables included.
Have a Smoothie Maker week!
Divide the class into groups of around five to six, and each day, ask one group (supervised by an adult) to make their own choice of smoothie to drink at breaktime.
The group can research, design, test and create their idea and present it to the class. Their smoothie should be designed for a particular person or situation, for example a smoothie to be drunk instead of breakfast for a child, smoothie to refresh on a summers day at breaktime, a smoothie that helps you to eat more vegetables in your diet. You can vote on the best smoothie of the week. Give points for interesting themed drinks, and creative ideas.
Encourage the children to explain about each ingredient they have used, where it is from and its properties (thickening, sweetening).
English – building vocabulary
Extend the children’s vocabulary of descriptive words for taste, colour and texture, by suggesting that they use the Get Set to Eat Fresh Taste Testing activity sheet and word bank whilst they taste and describe their smoothie. Make sure that they use correct terminology other than ‘nice’ or ‘delicious’, one way of encouraging this is to ask them to imagine that they are describing it to someone who has never tasted it, or a person from ‘out of space.’
Maths – estimating and measuring
This is a great opportunity to practice estimating, units of measurement, plus weighing and measuring liquids and solids. Children could also conduct data collection surveys about favourite smoothie flavours.
Science – sustainability and food waste
This topic is also a great opportunity to introduce discussion and action on seasonality, food waste and food packaging (such as plastic drinking straws) and for children to investigate these issues further and then create sustainable smoothies in reusable containers.
Life skills – healthy eating and nutrition
Finally, please ensure that the children know that an appropriate portion size is about 150ml. Too much of a good thing can add to the calorie intake.
Safety tips for managing smoothie making
Check out Get Set to Eat Fresh’s top picks of Aldi’s smoothie recipes, for cooking with children aged 5-14.