How to Make Gag Free Fruit and Veggie Smoothies

Ever wondered if you would hear, “Mom, the smoothie doesn’t gag me?” Oh sweet heaven it is soooo possible! My youngest is by far the most difficult to get to down his little cup of love each night. He cringes over the color, texture (seriously the blender does the same job EVERY day – there is no texture difference), he hates it super cold BUT it’s the TASTE makes or breaks our daily routine.

On rare occasions, we have take-out pizza for dinner. I had whipped up a typical batch of smoothie to counter the evils of the pizza and viola, time to nosh. He inhaled his favorite cheese pizza and maybe even pounded two slices. For a body under 4 years old, it was a ton of food.

Admittedly, sometimes the blending balance gets off a bit. Um, I just saw you smile with a hit of hehehehe, they are going to drink it anyway glint in your eye. Maybe I was heavy fisted with the kale, too much cabbage and the carrot was gigantic while maybe being a little light on the berries. This was one of those nights. It was off, very off and of course Hubs and I had to drink it and cringe silently so the kiddos wouldn’t see our reaction.

The little dude drank it because it’s what we do but within seconds of being done, it all came back up. Without any pizza thank you very much.  It was a gaggy smoothie, maybe that was too gentle. That night I had made a nasty scary smoothie.

I learned that day that just because it’s good for you, it doesn’t have to taste like essence composted Mother Nature. A smoothie can taste good and still be good for you. It’s all about the balance. Our balance happens to be about 70% fruit to 30% veggie in order to prevent epic, nasty gag reflexes.

But it's too much fruit the carb watchers say. Really? Wouldn't you rather eat a whole food packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber and more than that box of crackers? or highly processed breakfast cereal? or that punch drink your kiddo was just handed because they played a soccer game? Not many of us eat enough fruits and veggies a day period. Blend them, these carbs are ok. Carbs from Oreo's, jugs of Nutella or maple glazed donuts are not awesome because they are often packed with calories, no nutrients that fight diseases or cancer, trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup and other highly refined ingredients.

If you have insulin issues, it's a different story (talk to your Doc or Dietitian about how to adjust your insulin levels). When we drink carbs in a smoothie we getting the whole fruit, balanced with the fiber to prevent insulin spikes. It's the main reason why I don't juice. Juicers usually separate the fiber out the back of the machine. We need that fiber in our machine. There is a reason fiber is in whole foods. It's actually really good for you. Further, our smoothies go down with dinner so it's highly likely we are eating something with protein and either olive or canola oil. When carbs are eaten with fats and protein, digestion and breakdown of the carbs is slowed and so is the insulin response.

Back to the blender, this year, my smoothies are heavier on the berries than they are on the kale but they go down without extreme power struggles. Yes, the kiddos groan and moan but it's NOT an option to not drink the smoothies.   My ratio is also based on how much of _____ I was able to freeze from the summer. Summer or 2014 was excellent for apricots, peaches, purple raspberries and blackberries.

I made a Mom, CEO decision last year to pack away the stuff we loved the most because I had gobs of it and then “back-filled” the freezer with things like kale, zucchini and tomatoes. By back-fill I mean I waited until mid-September to pack the zucchini and tomatoes into my freezer. I piled stacks of fruit we loved and then polished off the top with produce I knew was still excellent for us and super easy to freeze as the season was winding down.     

My little dude will now sip the smoothie like a connoisseur and declare its drinkability to the family. When I’m really lucky and get it just right he shouts, “Mom, the smoothie doesn’t gag me!”

Gag free smoothie for 5

BASE - ½ - 1 frozen banana, 1 – 1 ½ cups berries/plumbs,  1 peach, 5-7 apricots (or other fruit like pears, apples, pineapple).  This combination will give you a base that is so tasty, it’s like jam.

From here you can add in your heavy hitting VEGGIES they would otherwise never eat. Veggies like kale, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower (parboil and cool broccoli and cauliflower first!!!), cabbage (green or red), carrots, spinach, etc.

The blender is filled to about the 8 cup mark before blending and grinds down to about 5 cups.

LIQUID - I use 1/2 cup grape juice (sticking to the purple camouflage theme) and 1/2-1 cup water. You can also add yogurt or milk. Confession, in the beginning I even added (gasp) sugar (gasp again) just to get them hooked. About a two weeks into the whole smoothie thing I forgot to add the sugar, no one noticed and it never went in again. 

We don't like super cold smoothies - I set my ingredients out about 2 hours before dinner so we don't have to add as much water to get it to blend. The flavor is better without a ton of water too.

Blend a gag free smoothie for your picky people tonight. Get them hooked on a base that is delicious then add in the heavy hitting good stuff a little bit at a time so they don't notice!

Happy Blending!