Technically you can introduce smoothies into your child’s diet after their first birthday, though we generally suggest waiting until 15-18 months of age. Here’s why:
It takes time to transition from drinking your meals (from breast or bottle) to chewing and swallowing them. And all that chewing and swallowing is hard work! Most babies and young toddlers we know, if given the chance, will drink their meals before putting in the work to eat them. You *just* taught your baby to wean off drinking the majority of their calories—so we don’t want to slide back into that too soon.
The other issues with relying on smoothies too often is that they obscure the whole foods that are in them. Sure, it’s great from a nutrition standpoint if your baby is consuming a cup of raw kale in their morning smoothie. But does a green smoothie acclimate your babe to the taste and texture of raw kale? It reminds us of something one of our food therapists said: if you’re serving zucchini in the form of a zucchini muffin, that’s fine, but be aware that you’re teaching your child to eat muffins, not zucchini.
Another approach is to limit smoothies to once or twice a week. If your toddler is eating fruits and veggies in their whole form readily, feel free to do more smoothies. But if your toddler is resisting fresh fruits and veggies, be wary of relying on smoothies to “get” the nutrition in and instead, work on building a stronger foundation of the whole foods that go into those smoothies.
If you are already dealing with picky eating and you need to boost nutrition, check out our guide, 50 Ways to Boost Nutrition with Picky Eating. Smoothies are great for this, but they’re not the only way.