No, I’m not talking about adding a protein powder to your toddler’s drink…don’t worry! As a mama to a dairy-intolerant toddler, trying to get in that extra protein and nutrition can sometimes be a struggle. That’s where the powerhouse nutrition of dairy-free protein smoothie for toddlers comes in. This delicious concoction will have your toddler tugging at your pant leg for more. And what’s even better is that it is so nutrient dense you will be getting some serious brain-boosting and developmentally-powerful nutrition. After reading this you will be able to:

  • Identify if you need to have your child checked for a dairy allergy or intolerance
  • Understand why protein is an essential nutrient for your toddler’s growth
  • Learn about why smoothies are a great way to pack in the nutrient power
  • Get my toddler approved smoothie that will invoke spoon-banging cheers of delight
  • Find more ways to support your child’s development and prep them for academic success
toddler boy outside on a bench drinking a smoothie

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Dairy-Allergies and Intolerances: How to Know

There are some very clear signs if your child has a dairy allergy or intolerance, but you should also understand the difference of the two.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Please consult your doctor with any questions you may have regarding your child’s health and allergies/intolerances.

Allergy

An allergy is an involuntary reaction to an environmental trigger (including food) that causes a response with the immune system. This can affect many different parts of the body and can even be life threatening (source).

When your child has a milk allergy, you might see:

  • wheezing
  • vomiting
  • hives
  • digestive issues

Immediately call your doctor to get medical attention and advice.

Intolerance

toddler boy crying by a window

An intolerance, while still certainly uncomfortable, is not life-threatening as it does not cause a response with the immune system. Therefore, they are less severe. Most often, they are the result of a digestive issue and cause problems with digestion (source).

If your child has a milk intolerance, you might see:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • gas
  • bloating

Again, you should call your doctor to seek medical attention and consult for advice.

Why Protein?

Protein is an important nutrient for child development and growth. Let’s take a closer look as to why your toddler should be getting the recommended 13 grams per day (source).

Growth and Organ Development

Protein is essential to a child’s development. It is the foundational building block in order for their bodies to grow. It feeds their bones, heart, muscles, lungs, and much more.

Provides Other Important Nutrients

When you feed your toddler foods and drinks with protein, they most likely are also ingesting other important nutrients as well such as vitamins and minerals. Think about quinoa or eggs. With quinoa, you are not only getting protein, but you are also getting iron, magnesium, calcium, many vitamins, and much more. Along with the protein in eggs, you are getting choline, lutein, Vitamin B12 & D, and much more.

Protein also assists with…

  • preventing fatigue
  • increased concentration
  • stronger immune system

Why Smoothies?

various colorful smoothies surrounded by colorful fruit

I’m totally loving smoothies right now. I stick them in these pouches and they are helping me get some powerful nutrition into my suddenly picky eater.

I can pack in multiple veggies, fruit, and protein in one smoothie and yield multiple servings. What’s great about smoothies is that the combination of foods give access to a wider range of nutrients. You know how nutritionists say you should try to “eat the rainbow”? Smoothies make it possible!

Another added bonus is that your child is still getting the fiber from the fruits and veggies. A much needed nutrient that also helps with digestion.

The Delicious Powerhouse Smoothie

What I love about this dairy-free protein smoothie for toddlers is that it is made up of only 5 simple ingredients, yet the nutritional benefits are outstanding.

Beets

red beets on a wooden cutting board

Beets contain nutrients like potassium, magnesium, folate, and Vitamin C. They are excellent for your child’s development since they are known to improve cognitive function. That is just the result you want from a superfood! (source)

Pears

2 pears

Pears contain potassium, folate, Vitamin C, and many antioxidants. What’s more is that they also contain pectin. Pectin is an important type of fiber known to help feed healthy gut bacteria. A healthy gut is important for your child’s overall ecosystem. In addition, pears can support your child’s growing immune system. (source)

Protein

We already talked about how important protein is to your child’s development. But let me talk a little about this dairy-free protein source that this smoothie recipe calls for.

Ripple Original Yogurt is a dairy-free, nut-free yogurt that is made of pea-protein. I love this brand and fluctuate between using Ripple Milk and Oatly Milk in my house.

Ripple has the same amount of protein as dairy milk, less than half of the sugar, 5% more Vitamin D, and 0 grams of saturated fat. It is a powerhouse when it comes to plant-based protein and by these stats, better for you than traditional dairy. (source) You can find Ripple yogurt at your local food store and Target!

Flax Seed

I love adding ground flaxseed to all of my smoothies for the extra nutritional benefits. With fiber, protein, and omega 3 fatty acids, they are great for the brain and growth and development.

Bananas

Bananas are full of potassium, Vitamin B6, magnesium, protein, and fiber. These delicious smoothie thickeners are great to maintain blood sugar levels, support your immune system, aid in digestion, and boost your heart and kidney health. (source)

Here is your Dairy-Free Protein Smoothie for Toddlers recipe!

  • 1 banana
  • 2-3 medium-sized beets, peeled
  • 1 pear, cored
  • One Ripple Original Yogurt
  • 1 Tbs ground flaxseed

Blend together until smooth. Divide into 4 equal servings. Can freeze and defrost to serve within 36 hours.

Finding More Ways to Support Development

boy in button down shirt holding smoothie with straw

All of these wonderful nutrients come together to protect your child’s health and support them in their growth and development. Nutrition plays an important role in your child’s health and can directly impact your child’s focus and attention.

Ensuring proper nutrition is very important for your child’s academic success as well. Many nutrients not only improve focus and attention, but also improve cognitive function. Therefore, making sure you are feeding your child a healthy diet will positively impact their educational career.

Get some more dairy-free ideas here.

What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate dairy-free protein into your toddler’s diet? Please let me know below and don’t forget to share!