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This post is a collection of smoothies for your little picky eaters! We have a variety of options inspired by your kiddo’s favorite foods, including blueberry pie, creamsicles, and peanut butter cups! These recipes were picked out with neurodivergent kids in mind but there is something for everyone on this list, so please join us!
Last updated: July 19, 2023
Smoothies for Picky Eaters
After working with many picky eaters with autism and/or ADHD, one main thing I’ve learned is that smoothies are hit or miss with these kiddos. I’ve worked with neurodivergent kids who refuse to drink smoothies because they are too mushy. I’ve also worked with picky eaters who will only consume smoothies and not many other foods!
If your kid falls into the latter category, then this recipe round up of smoothies for picky eaters is for you. If your neurodivergent kiddo loves smoothies or is willing to try, then check out these recipes to get new and fun ideas.
Smoothies are a great way to give your child protein, calcium, fruit, veggies, and fiber. If they don’t mind the texture of chia seeds, flaxmeal, or oats, then these are great additions to any of the smoothies below.
If possible, I encourage you to have your kiddo help you out with making these smoothies for picky eaters as they will be more willing to taste a recipe they helped prepare.
I would also encourage you to be fully transparent with your kids about the ingredients in their smoothies. I’ve worked with a number of parents who hid “secret” ingredients in their childrens’ smoothies and the child figured it out and ended up not wanting to have those smoothies again. When they know what’s in their smoothies, they will learn to trust you more with the food you offer them.
Another helpful note is that smoothies are an excellent way to increase calorie/protein intake in kids who are underweight. This is especially helpful for kiddos with ADHD who are on medications that can suppress their appetite. Many kids find it easier to drink their calories instead of eating them when they have a low appetite.
Navigating Picky Eating
Besides the obvious nutrition-related reasons, food is a very important part of child growth and development. Meal or snack time is an opportunity for children to learn about and explore new foods with their loved ones in a fun, pressure-free environment. Providing positive food experiences with your kids can help foster a healthy relationship with food as they grow into adulthood and will make them more likely to eat a variety of foods.
Navigating picky eating can be challenging and frustrating for families. Maybe you feel helpless or have a sense of failure. But the reality is that every child has different social experiences and preferences that shape how they view food. Let’s dive into how you can help your child learn to love all foods.
Have you heard the saying “monkey see, monkey do”? Children have curious minds; they want to learn, see, touch, and hear everything. As parents, we have to honour this as part of their growth. We have to allow them to gain new knowledge and experiences that help them form their preferences. Basically, we need to get them involved.
How to Involve Your Children
- Let them pick their own ingredients. This allows them to gain confidence and develop their own opinions of different foods.
- Ask them to touch, smell, and describe foods without forcing them to taste it. Giving children a sensory experience to experiment with new food textures is especially helpful for autistic children who may have sensory issues around food. It also reduces pressure, makes mealtime more fun, and gives children autonomy to decide whether they want to try a food or not.
- Food decorating! This one is a fun and memorable way to help them develop their ideas about food. You can get them to decorate items like smoothie bowls, waffles, pizza, etc. This provides them with independence in relation to food. It shows them that they can choose what they like.
*Note that picky eating in neurodivergent kids is a very complex topic that we cannot fully cover in this blog post. The above are a few helpful strategies to get you started.
Now that you have a few new tips let’s get to the good part, the 13 smoothies for picky eaters!
13 Smoothies for Picky Eaters
Creamsicles brought out the best summer memories in my childhood! This recipe will offer a magical experience, but also offer optimal nutrition. It is packed with calcium, vitamin C, potassium, fiber and protein. It will keep your child nourished all summer long!
Do your kids ever want dessert for breakfast? Or do your kids love peanut butter cups? This recipe is a healthy alternative to help them curb their cravings (and I must admit, it is my favorite smoothie recipe that I make on repeat). It tastes like a peanut butter cup milkshake and is an awesome smoothie for picky eaters. Give this recipe a try, they will love it!
Looking for something pink and fun? Try this quick and easy smoothie bowl that tastes like dessert, but has good nutrition! Plus, this recipe is fun for kids because they can decorate their own bowls! Try it out.
This kid-friendly smoothie is just 5 ingredients and tastes like a strawberry milkshake. Cashews give it a creamy texture! There’s no reason why smoothies can’t taste like dessert! This is one of the many wonderful smoothies for picky eaters.
This recipe is like having carrot cake in a cup. It has a great mixture of soft, warm, and fluffy flavors that will satisfy your little one! This recipe has flaxseed, walnut, and carrots, which will provide a rich taste of fiber with a hint of sweetness. Don’t miss out on this amazing recipe! It’s also a great way to add veggies to your child’s diet, especially if they tend to be picky about veggies. Just make sure you are transparent with your child about what is in this smoothie. We don’t want them to lose your trust by “sneaking” the carrots in.
Sweet, sweet, and more sweet! This smoothie is like delving into your favorite summertime ice cream! It is rich, creamy, and did I forget to mention, sweet! It’s also a super simple recipe with minimal ingredients making it a great smoothie to make with your kiddo!
Looking for a rich smoothie with a nutty flavor profile? This smoothie is for you! It has notes of almonds mixed with maple and cinnamon–the perfect pairing. Kids love this smoothie because of its rich, sweet flavor!
If I could use one word to describe this smoothie it would be: Tropical. This recipe has all of the most amazing tropical fruits that deliver sweet and tangy flavors, making it easy to hide the taste of spinach from your little ones! It’s great for adventurous eaters. Plus, it is very nourishing (and doesn’t have bananas)! It has a balance of vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes! I will say this smoothie is not for kiddos who have never tried smoothies before! The spinach may turn some kids off so you can always try this recipe without the spinach first.
Peanut butter, honey, and banana is always a good combo, but adding strawberries and figs creates an amazing new taste that kids seem to love! This recipe is awesome for kids who love the taste of peanut butter. It will taste like a PB&J sandwich (minus the bread)! Try this recipe and you won’t be disappointed.
Looking to add veggies to your child’s diet? Look no more! This smoothie has a serving of cauliflower and spinach. But don’t worry- the banana and peanut butter will be the main flavors in this recipe, your kiddo won’t taste the veggies.
Looking for a recipe that has both tart and chocolate flavors? This one’s for you! Plus, it is packed with antioxidants, fiber (from berries and flaxmeal), calcium, and protein! It’s a simple smoothie for picky eaters.
There is something magical about blueberry pie, it is sweet, tarty, and rich! This smoothie is a great option if you have a blueberry pie fan in your home! It is especially good for growing children as it is packed with protein!
If your kiddo loves apples and/or apple pie, this smoothie is for them!
I hope these 13 smoothies for picky eaters gave you some new insight on how to help your kiddo diversify their diet. Remember, children’s food habits are developing now. So now is the time to help them develop a positive and healthy relationship with food! Also, nutrient deficiency is very common among picky eaters, so be sure to check out The Ultimate Guide to Vitamins for Picky Eaters for tips on getting your kiddos to eat more vitamins.
Make sure to comment if these tips and recipes worked for you and your little ones. Which recipes did they like the most?
Looking for more fun child-approved recipes?
- Greek Yogurt Protein Bark – 3 Ways
- Easy High Protein French Toast (2 ways)
- One-Bowl Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Banana Bread (High Fiber)
- 21 Easy Bedtime Snacks for Kids
Check out more recipe roundups:
Jackie is a Toronto-based Registered Dietitian with a Masters of Health Science (MHSc) in Nutrition Communications. Her mission is to empower and support neurodivergent and physically disabled communities through a weight-inclusive lens to manage their condition, prevent complications, and live active lifestyles through nutrition. Jackie runs a virtual private practice and consulting business and runs her blog which has simple recipes and health information for the disability and autism/ADHD communities.