Toddler Cooking: The Infinite Smoothie

One fun-to-drink item that is also fun for toddlers to help “cook” is a fruit smoothie! These are a great afternoon snack, and a good way to sneak in some fruits and veggies for a toddler who might not want to eat any. Toddlers love adding ingredients to the blender, and pushing the button to start and stop the blender. Just make sure the lid is securely on, and never let a toddler near a blender unsupervised! Here are my instructions for how to make a smoothie.

You can use almost anything you have in the kitchen for a smoothie. You just need to have:

  • a liquid (milk or juice are good) – about 1 cup per person
  • a fruit or veggie (banana, berries, sweet potatoes, pumpkin puree)
  • optional mix-ins (peanut butter, cocoa powder, vanilla, sweeteners, yogurt or frozen yogurt, wheat germ)
  • a few ice cubes
  • a blender is pretty much a must, too!


This Drink is Bananas: One of the best items to include in a smoothie is a banana. The more ripe the banana is, the sweeter it is. Making a smoothie is a great way to use up an overripe banana that you aren’t interested in eating. I usually buy too many bananas just so I will be able to use the one or two leftovers in a smoothie! Also, bananas are a great binder and give a smoothie a good consistency, and help other ingredients to incorporate well. If you don’t like the flavor of bananas, reduce the amount to a third or half a banana. You will still get the binding properties without such a strong flavor.

Ice, Ice, Baby: A few ice cubes are a good addition (especially if you use milk in your smoothie) because they help break up excessive foam that might be generated from whipping milk in your blender. They also make the smoothie cold and refreshing, of course! I usually add 1/2 a tray to start with, and work my way up from there. If you add too many ice cubes, the consistency of your smoothie can get chunky (especially if you aren’t using a banana!)

Sweeteners: I use sugar-free vanilla syrup or Splenda, but you can use honey, agave, sugar, stevia or other sweeteners as well. Remember, if you are using a ripe banana, you might not need any additional sweetener!

Good Pairings: You can use almost any fruit in a smoothie, just be mindful of how you pair the fruits together. The real trick is choosing the right liquid base. If you want a more milkshake-like smoothie, choose a milk base and a non-citrus fruit. For a refreshing and tangy smoothie, start with a fruit juice and maybe add some yogurt (fresh or frozen).

Fruit: You can use fruit in nearly any state: fresh, frozen, or canned. Some suggestions: Fresh — mango, pineapple, banana, berries, peaches. Frozen — berries, multi-fruit mixes, peaches. Canned — peaches, pineapple, sweet potatoes, pumpkin puree.

Mix Ins: If you have ever purchased a smoothie at a juice shop, you know they have a large number of items you can add into a smoothie. Things like vitamin boosters are common. In your case, you probably won’t have too many vitamin boosting powders, but you can add extras that will make your smoothie taste good or will boost nutrition. Frozen yogurt will trick you into feeling like your smoothie is like a milk shake, as will cocoa powder, peanut butter, and extra sweeteners. Any of these are good ways to indulge in a healthy way! Something like wheat germ will boost the nutritional value of your drink.

Leftovers: Smoothies don’t save well, so if you have leftovers, pour them into a popsicle mold or ice cube tray. Don’t worry if you don’t fill a mold up all the way! Just add some complementary fruit juice until the mold is full. If you use an ice cube tray, just throw the smoothie ice cubes into your blender next time you make a smoothie.

Infinite Smoothie Recipe:

I call it “infinite” because there are infinite ways to mix this smoothie up to get a custom drink. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Basic recipe for one or two people:

  • 1-2 cups of liquid
  • 1 cup of fruit (or 1 banana)
  • 6-12 ice cubes
  • Optional items (mix-ins, sweeteners, spices and flavorings)

Blend for 1-2 minutes or until fruit is pureed and ice is completely crushed.

Elvis Smoothie:

If a peanut butter and banana smoothie is wrong, I don’t want to be right! I drank these almost daily during the last months of my pregnancy with my third child! Because PB has about 100 calories per Tablespoon, it’s a good idea to share this one with a friend.

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 banana
  • 2-4 Tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 6 ice cubes
  • Sweetener, if needed

Easy Banana Smoothie:

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 banana
  • 6 ice cubes
  • Sweetener, if needed
  • Clove powder

Sunshine Smoothie:

  • 1 cup of orange juice (or a cup of water and 2 T. frozen orange juice concentrate)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 6 ice cubes
  • Sweetener, if needed