Banana smoothies make excellent breakfasts for kids as well as parents. Protein plus a serving of fruit ensures a nutritious start to the day. With the addition of raw cacao powder and peanut butter, this flavour-packed banana smoothie recipe will have everyone coming back for more.
Each smoothie contains a whole banana, so the little ones will be set for energy and nutrition before they hit the playground.
The benefits of bananas for kids
Most of us know that bananas are “good for you”, but not many of us know exactly how nutrient-packed they are.
A single banana contains potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin c, folate, niacin, manganese and is a source of gut-loving prebiotics.
But what benefits do bananas provide the body?
1. Fuller for longer
Bananas are a high-fibre food. It’s the soluble and insoluble fibre in bananas that make them ideal for breakfast. Fibre slows down digestion, which keeps kids feeling full right through to their next meal.
2. Helps growing bones
Every banana smoothie supports your little one’s healthy bone growth, due to the calcium and potassium content in this fruit.
3. Boosts brain power and concentration
With their easily digested-carbs, bananas provide energy not just for the body, but for the brain too.
4. Easy on the tummy
The fibre and potassium in bananas make them easy to digest, which is important for kids’ developing digestive systems.
With all these health benefits, you may not expect bananas to taste so good. Not only do they pack in flavour, they also add a creamy texture to our smoothie recipe, especially when you use frozen bananas.
Like bananas, the cacao powder in this recipe makes it a real treat whilst also providing the little ones with nutrients.
What is cacao?
Cacao refers to the food products of the cacao bean. There are cacao nibs, cacao butter, cacao paste and cacao powder.
- Cacao beans: These are the dried seeds of the South America cacao plant.
- Cacao nibs: Nibs are produced when the outer shell is removed from the pod and the insides are roasted and split into small pieces. These are commonly used in dishes as a crunchy but healthy topping. In their pure form, they taste chocolatey but not sweet
- Cacao butter: When unroasted cacao beans are cold-pressed, fat is separated from solids to become cacao butter
- Cacao powder: Commonly called raw cacao powder, this is the solid product of cold-pressing cacao beans, ground into a fine powder
What are the health benefits of cacao?
Cacao is famous for its antioxidant content
, which comprise 10% of the weight of raw cacao.
Cacao is a “feel-good” food. It contains phenylethylamine, which is the same chemical that is released in the brain when we fall in love. It also increases levels of the neurotransmitters that promote a sense of wellbeing and a positive mood.
With plant-based protein, healthy fats and good carbs, it’s a great addition to our breakfast smoothie. Like bananas, cacao contains minerals, including magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, copper, zinc and manganese.
Cacao versus cocoa
Cacao powder and cocoa powder look very similar, but there are important differences.
To make cacao powder, cacao beans are cold-pressed to remove the cacao butter. This leaves the powder “raw”, with enzymes and other nutrients remaining in the cacao. On the other hand, to make cocoa, the beans are roasted at high temperatures to remove the fat. This changes the molecular structure of the product, which reduces its nutritional benefits.
Raw cacao powder is not mixed with anything else, which means it’s not as sweet as typical chocolate products. Meanwhile, cocoa and chocolate are usually “dark” or “milk” or have a percentage listed. These have had milk and/or sugar added to them, further decreasing their nutritional value.
Cacao banana smoothie recipe
A banana smoothie for breakfast will give your kids a nutritious start to the day. The addition of cacao and peanut butter will make this recipe a household favourite.
Servings: 2 smoothies
Prep time: 2 mins
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1 cup of milk or dairy-free alternative
- 1 tbsp natural yoghurt
- 1 tbsp of raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp of honey
- 1 tbsp of peanut butter or other nut butter
How to make
Put all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.
- This delicious smoothie also makes a great after-school treat
- If you don’t have frozen bananas, add ice for a thicker consistency. If you like your smoothies extra thick, use both
- The best way to freeze bananas is to peel them first, break them into chunks and pop in the freezer. Use over-ripe bananas for the best flavor. Never waste a banana again!
- To encourage faster ripening, place bananas in a brown paper bag at room temperature
- You can also use ripe bananas when baking, for a healthy alternative to sugar or butter
- If you want a bit more substance to your smoothie, add quinoa flakes, oatmeal or wheatgerm
- Making this one for yourself and trying to maintain a healthy waistline? Skip the peanut butter and use a low-fat milk option. Or, try a high protein banana split
Are your kids banana fans? Chances are they’ll love our fibre-packed banana porridge pancakes
, another great breakfast option.
For the next meal of the day, check out our foolproof lunch box ideas for kids