A recent survey reported that over 50% of people begin their day with a smoothie. Smoothies are fast and convenient, and can be loaded with nutrition.
Unfortunately many smoothies are missing a critical component, and that is protein. A smoothie made of fruit and juice may energize you initially, but within hours your blood sugar will drop and you will be reaching for anything to give you a boost. Adding a high quality protein powder to your smoothie creates sustainable energy and supports the whole body.
This is especially important for children, as a high sugar breakfast can lead to lack of concentration at school and a predisposition to weight issues.
There are plenty of protein powders on the market, but deciding which one is right for you can be difficult. A vegan protein is an ideal choice versus dairy or egg protein, which many people are sensitive to.
Having mentioned that, some vegan protein powders are better than others. The first consideration is taste – especially if children are going to be consuming it. Vegan proteins have come a long way in terms of taste, however look for one that is naturally flavoured and sweetened with Xylitol and/or Stevia instead of sugar or chemically-based artificial sweeteners such as Sucralose.
The next consideration is the source of the vegan protein. Common sources are soy, hemp, rice, pea, and cranberry.
Many health practitioners are steering their clients away from rice protein due to concerns about high levels of heavy metals and rancidity. A new trend is a grain-free blend of proteins such as FitSMART Vegan Protein Shake by Renew Life. Blending an assortment of proteins (hemp, pea, chia and cranberry) provides a nice, smoother texture and taste.
FitSMART Vegan Protein is not only grain-free but it is also gluten free, soy-free and GMO-free, and it delivers 20 grams of protein per serving with a taste that even children will enjoy!
Another ingredient that kids need is fibre. Constipation is one of the most common digestive health issues in children, so it is important to make sure they are getting enough dietary fibre, and a smoothie is a great way to do this.
Look for a vegan protein powder with added fibre, but not a dehydrating or thickening fibre such as Psyllium or PGX. These thicken quickly and can pose a choking hazard or gaging factor to children.
Flaxseed or Acacia fibre are great options for kids.
In order to figure out how many grams of fibre per day your child needs, use this simple calculation: Age of child + 5 = amount of fibre required per day. For example, a five year old child would need 10 grams. Remember that with children, as with adults, it is important to ensure they are drinking plenty of water so that fibre can do its job.
A smoothie made with water, low sugar fruit like berries and a vegan protein shake mix is a great start to the day!
Try the delicious and easy recipes posted in the "recipes link" and let us know what you think! •
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Kids Naturally Magazine gives parents great ideas on how to raise happy, healthy kids the most natural way possible! www.kidsnaturally.ca