Are smoothies a healthy drink choice for toddlers?
Turning our fruit and veg into an easy, tasty drink has become a popular way to get our five-a-day, but are they OK to give little children, or will they encourage them to want to go back to eating purees? We ask Gurgle expert and nutritionist Sara Patience.
Not so long ago smoothies were considered a healthy way to increase fruit intake. Now, we are a bit more wary as we know that once fruit has been blended, the fibre is lost and the sugars are ‘free’ in the drink – that is, they are no longer bound to the whole fruit.
Beware of sugars
The sugar in a smoothie is more like ‘added’ sugar, bad for our teeth and possibly adding more sugar to your child’s diet than is recommended (children under four should avoid sweetened drinks and the NHS suggests no smoothies before the age of five years).
So, drinking a smoothie isn’t the same as eating a piece of fruit. If your child eats fruit and at least some vegetables then you aren’t gaining anything through giving them a smoothie. It is possible that they will start to demand more of them and start to be less hungry for other foods.
Considering the recommendations – that two year olds only need water and milk to drink, and the risk to teeth and overall diet – I would say remove the smoothies whilst you still can!
For more about what foods and drink to give your growing tot, check out our article on Toddlers and nutrition.
By Sara Patience
What are your thoughts on giving smoothies to children? Tweet us @GurgleUK or follow our Facebook Page.