High-calorie smoothies for kids! Especially during periods of selective eating, or when extra energy is needed, here are some high calories vegan smoothies to help.
There’s no shortage of nutritional drinks for kids, but how do you know when these should be used? Are there homemade alternatives? Let’s talk about high-calorie smoothies you can make when needed.
Does My Child Need a High-Calorie Shake?
With all of the marketing we’re exposed to, questioning things about your child’s health and nutrition is normal. We all wonder whether we’re doing it right.
For instance, you may see advertisements for nutritional shakes and wonder if your child needs them.
For most kids, most of the time, the answer is no. With a diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods, the majority of kids can get everything they need to grow and develop.
If the picky eating phases have you concerned, remember that these are normal. Our kids have been known to eat two bites of toast for breakfast or a few bites of their dinner and call it good. Other weeks, they’re eating seconds or thirds.
While this inconsistency can be concerning for parents, it doesn’t always mean anything needs to be fixed. We like to say that nutrition is a long game. It’s most important to look at eating and nutrition habits over time versus a few meals.
When high-calorie smoothies for kids may be helpful
If you’ve noticed that your child isn’t gaining weight (or is losing weight), with signs like loose-fitting clothes that used to fit well, it’s important to first speak with your pediatrician. In this case, adding high-calorie smoothies to their diet may be helpful.
Also, calorie-packed smoothies can be helpful when your child is recovering from being sick. Appetite commonly wanes when littles aren’t feeling great, and offering these can provide a variety of nutrients and energy when intake is otherwise scarce.
Keep in mind that high-calorie smoothies are meant to be temporary and used in addition to a child’s diet. In other words, they should not replace meals or take up the space of regular foods.
Bottom line? Enjoy smoothies as much as your family likes to, but try not to get into a habit of relying on them for calories over food.
Ingredients to Make High-Calorie Smoothies for Kids
While there are tons of kid smoothies on the market, it’s easy to make some at home. Plus, this way you have total control over the ingredients. We also like this as an opportunity to include your child in the prep!
By nature, fats (nuts, seeds, vegetable oil, avocado, etc.) contribute 9 calories per gram, making them an energy-dense ingredient for smoothies.
Below are some calorie-dense ingredients that work well in smoothies to bulk them up:
- Raw cashews
- Peanut butter
- Almond butter
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Flax seeds
- White beans
- Fortified full-fat soy, pea, or oat milk
- Canned coconut milk
- Silken tofu
- A scoop of plant-based protein powder
- Even a tablespoon of neutral-flavored vegetable/seed oil can work!
These can be combined in a variety of ways with fruits and veggies to make a tasty, nutrient-dense, and energy-rich drink for your child.
High-Calorie Smoothie Recipes for Kids
Here are a few simple ideas for plant-based smoothies that pack calories if your kiddo needs a little extra. Blend and add a little extra liquid to thin as needed.
Tropical Pineapple Smoothie
- 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 1/2 cup orange, mango, or pineapple juice
- 1 handful greens
- 1/4 avocado
- 1 Tbsp flax seed
Chocolate Nut Butter Smoothie
- 1 cup fortified plant milk
- 3 pitted dates
- 1 frozen banana
- 2 Tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 6-8 raw cashews
Vanilla Blueberry Smoothie
- 1 cup fortified plant milk
- 1/2 cup vanilla plant-based yogurt
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Optional: small scoop vanilla plant protein powder
These are just some ideas. Adjust and add other things per your little’s preferences! Here are some more plant-based smoothie recipes that you can add calories to if needed.
High-calorie smoothies for kids can be helpful in times of concern over growth or to help intake during recovery from being sick. These can be super helpful in temporary times of need.
Chime In: Do you ever make high-calorie smoothies for your kids? What are some of your go-to ingredients?
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Hey there! I’ve heard mixed reviews about using protein powders with kiddos. What age is it safe to add protein powders to smoothies?
We don’t think they are necessary for the majority of kids– most of the time, kids get plenty of protein especially if items like soy milk, nut butters and whole grains are served regularly. That said, they can be helpful for some kids who have growth concerns or very small appetites. In this case, it’s safe to use. We prefer brands that don’t have additional additives and sweeteners.
Is there any specific reason as to why we should only be giving smoothies occasionally to kids?
Smoothies are great! They can also be a crutch for some kids with texture issues but if that isn’t a concern– then my kiddos drink a smoothie most days! They love them.