Green Smoothie | a very green solution

I have a "preschooler"... let me re-word that... I am the mother of a school-going-age child......I am still in shock. They started school already too... Although the relaxing and extra time to myself and the little one is nice, I still hold back the tears as I drop my oh-so-grown-up baby off at school every morning. It's exciting, overwhelming and heart-breaking all at the same time.

As he gets older, his personality, his abilities and his will-power are developing very rapidly, it's hard to keep up. This goes for his eating habits too. He's becoming quite the "picky" eater, in every sense of the word. He likes cucumber, tomato, cooked celery/carrots/peppers. And he eats his grains, fruits and meat. I should be grateful that he at least eats some veggies some of the time.

My solution to a picky, slow eater? Hide it. Dicing it small may fool a toddler into eating some veggies, but do one better and puree it-- then no one will know! I like to puree cooked veggies into sauces and soups for some added flavor and nutrition! sneaky sneaky, I know. It is so effective, so healthy, and oh so yummy. Smoothies are another way I use this method. I love smoothies, so it only makes sense that my kids also LOVE smoothies -- naturally. The criteria to get the most out of a smoothie: keep the sugar/sweetener low to none, use only low fat liquids and choose nutrient-packed fruits and veggies. This is my recipe for the perfect green smoothie.

1/2 ripe mango, peeled and sliced
1/2 apple, cored and sliced
1 kiwi, peeled - optional
3/4 cup or so of canned/fresh pineapple
1-2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
1 cup vanilla almond milk
Ice cubes (probably around 10, adjust to your liking)

First, in your blender, pulse together the fruit until really smooth. If you need to add liquid, add a little splash of almond milk. Then, add the spinach and blend until there is little to no specks of green. Lastly, add the ice and almond milk, blend until no ice chunks are left. If you feel that it needs more sweetness (which I rarely do) add a little Organic Blue Agave sweetener, really carefully, because a little goes a long way.
This is my favorite blend, but play around and experiment with different combinations of fruits and veggies. I've tried adding acai, grapes, bananas, and/or berries, which were all delicious too. Here is a list of ingredients I have yet to try: greek yogurt, avocado, cucumber, kale, broccoli......I'll save some of those for when I feel super adventurous. But for now, I will call this one a success!
Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for picky eaters, or toddlers in general?

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