What's Project Smoothie? It's happening this week and you need to be part of it! I've teamed up with KitchenAid to celebrate National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day and Project Smoothie is Kenya's favorite way of taking over my kitchen in the mornings.
Over two years ago Kenya became a vegetarian. At first I thought it was a phase, but as time went on he became even more passionate about his choice. We have been incredibly supportive of his wishes to avoid anything that includes animal products, offering him a vegetarian meal similar to what the rest of the family is eating, but also making sure he gets plenty of plant based protein. Kenya has always been a great eater since birth enjoying a variety of fruits and especially vegetables, but over time a few things started to change.
I’m still not sure if his resistance to eating a wider variety of foods had to do with school, development or his taste buds changing, but his willingness to eat a plethora of foods became even more narrow. Wasn’t this supposed to happen when he was a toddler and not at age 9? As the months went on he relied more and more on bread and cheese at every meal and less on the foods he should have been consuming. Does any of this sound familiar?
A few months ago I started doing research reading any and everything I could find about nutrition and how it can affect mood and energy levels in children. Almost all of the science I was retaining were facts that I already knew, but reading them over again made me take the bull by the horns in regard to his diet and overall health. Instead of berating him and telling him he had to eat certain foods, I let him join in what I call Project Smoothie.
I created a written menu that the kids would choose from every night similar to a restaurant menu, seeing all of their written choices and then ordering what they wanted to slurp up the next morning. This way instead of playing a guessing game, I could offer the nutritious smoothie ingredients I had available in the kitchen and they could pick from them. The bonus? It takes the guessing game out of “what’s for breakfast?”
There are four columns they have to choose from: fruits, vegetables, proteins and extras. I’m always shocked to see the incredible variety of foods he chooses that end up tasting amazing when combined in a blender like kale, kefir, frozen berries, banana, hemp seeds, bee pollen, coconut oil, whole cow or almond milk, chocolate protein powder and passion fruit just to give one example of a favorite smoothie we make. You would be amazed at how incredibly delicious these ingredients taste all mixed together instead of this list of foods you should ditch for smoothies:
• Sugar-sweetened fruit juice or concentrate
• Flavored yogurt
• Flavored kefir
• Whipped cream
• Ice cream
• Chocolate syrup
• Chocolate milk
• Canned fruit in syrup
You can’t imagine how much has changed in the past six weeks. The kids look forward to their smoothies in the morning that they have a hand in creating and blending up. I get everything out and they pop the ingredients in our KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series Blender, whiz it up and then pour it in a tall glass which they drink up with a glass straw! The best part, though, is how the kids feel. I’ve already seen a difference in their mood and energy and feel it’s helping them as they enter the classroom ready to focus, be present and just feeling good in their body.
We love this new blender because it is easy to use and clean, it stands up to the kids' rough hands, and it blends our morning drinks to smoothie perfection!
If you want to print my smoothie menu and use it with your own kids, get it here!
In honor of National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day, I would love to see your child’s smoothie creation! Show us how you get your kids into the kitchen using #KidsInTheKitchen and #MadeWithKitchenAid on Instagram. Also be sure to tag @weelicious and @KitchenAidUSA for your chance to win a KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series Blender. Good luck!
Bonus! We’re giving away one of these gorgeous blenders on Facebook Live this Thursday. So be sure to watch as Kenya and I demo a few of the creations he’s come up with and we share as a family.
This post is sponsored by KitchenAid. All thoughts and opinions are my own.