Constipation happens at some point to most kids but it doesn’t prepare you for how stressful, heartbreaking and traumatic it can be for your child, which also affects the whole family. Also if their diet is not great and they struggle to eat fruit and vegetables then constipation can become more commonplace. Not only will they struggle to go to the toilet but can become moody and can even affect their appetite. These healthy smoothies for toddlers with constipation will really help get things moving again.
This blog will share what types of foods are natural laxatives and can be used in smoothies for helping your child to poop. I will share some tips on how to make smoothies more appealing to kids so they will become your go to recipes.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation is defined as having less frequent bowel movements of 3 or less a week (1). Therefore as it moves more slowly through the digestive tract it can become hard and difficult to pass which makes it uncomfortable and even painful. However bowel movements can vary from child to child. It’s important to recognise when a pattern changes for your child for example if they go to the toilet less frequently than normal.
Signs and symptoms of constipation to look for:
- Their poo is hard and large
- Their poo looks like hard little rabbit droppings
- They find it painful and strain when they go to poo.
- If they have a little bleeding during or after a poo
- Lose appetite but improves after a poo.
- They have tummy ache but improves after a poo (1)
Reasons For Constipation
There are many reasons so it’s good to explore all the possible reasons to see what can help resolve it. These include diet, usually lacking in fibre, change in diet, lack of fluids, medications, medical problem affecting how the gut works and lack of exercise. There can also be a reluctance to use the toilet after a bad experience, particularly common when potty training. This is also known as withholding.
For further detail of these reasons and how to relieve constipation you might like to check out my blog called:Is my toddler constipated and what are the best foods to help relieve them?
So we know that diet and not enough fluid is a common reason for constipation. Combining fibre and fluid into a smoothie can really help get things moving again. However if your little one is struggling alot and you think they may have chronic constipation or you are just worried about your child then you should seek medical advice.
How Can I Soften My Toddlers Stool Naturally?
Natural remedies are those that naturally work to help constipation in different ways such as making stools more lubricated and easier to pass or making the stools more bulky, so they have a laxative effect (2).
These foods include; seeds like chia seeds and flaxseeds, leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, berries, probiotic foods such as kefir or probiotic yoghurt, aloe vera and prune juice.
What Are Good Smoothies For Toddlers With Constipation?
There is not just one that is good but a variety of smoothies will help but it’s important to include foods that contain a combination of fibre, hydration (liquid), healthy fats and probiotics to help relieve constipation. They all work better together, so this is the best combination of ingredients to use.
Smoothies can be particularly good for toddlers with constipation if they are not very good at eating fruit and vegetables or they don’t like plain yoghurt. Once the fruit and vegetables are broken down the liquid is released from them, which is important to help bind to the fibre and make stools softer.
Smoothies tend to be more appealing to eat this way then pieces of whole fruit or veg as combined with creamy yoghurt and milk gives them a smoother creamy mouthfeel. If they are not keen on yoghurt on its own then a smoothie can really help.
What Fruit Juice Helps Constipation?
Most fruit juices will help but particularly good ones include prune, apple or pear juice. You can include one glass a day and it is best taken at a mealtime such as breakfast. Whilst they are combining the fruit juice with foods it will help reduce the amount of fruit sugar sitting on their teeth.
You can also combine fruit juice into a smoothie recipe to give it sweetness. I find a little apple juice will really help. So if your child has not taken to fruit juice on its own a more filling alternative would be trying different smoothies. Here are some of the best ingredients to put in a smoothie.
Best Smoothie Ingredients To Relieve Constipation
There are many different fruits you can try. Particularly good ones include prunes, dates, pears and plums which are supposed to have a natural laxative effect to make it easier to poop. As long as you are using the whole fruit then all fruits contain fibre which increases the bulk of the poo.
Leafy ones such as spinach and kale are good in smoothies as they break down without being cooked and they are natural laxatives. Avocado works well in smoothies too if you want to add more creaminess and thickness to a smoothie.
Nut butters like almond, cashew or peanut are great to add more fibre and protein but optional.
Such as chia, flaxseed or hemp seeds.
Chia seeds contain soluble fibre which binds well to water and forms a gel which will help to soften stools.
Flaxseed is a soluble fibre too and will soften with fluid and help make stools softer and hence easier to pass.
Liquid will come from the fruit and vegetables once they are broken down. You can also add a milk of choice to thin it down a bit and make it easier to drink. Again another source of calcium and protein. If you are worried about the milk not helping with the constipation then you can just stick to water.
Plain yoghurt or kefir contains probiotics, which are good bacteria. These help to maintain a healthy gut and improve digestion and constipation. If you would rather avoid dairy then avocado will give the same creamy texture instead.
Are Bananas Good For Constipation?
Bananas contain two types of fibre; soluble and insoluble which can help with constipation. They can also be used in smoothies for toddlers with constipation as they create natural sweetness and creaminess which they will enjoy. Make sure to choose ripe bananas which are yellow with brown spots as they contain less starch and more soluble fibre which absorbs water and makes stools easier to pass.
Smoothies For Constipation Recipes
Below is a list of different smoothie recipes you can make. I use one to two handfuls or a small piece of fruit of a different fruit or vegetable in each recipe. Some recipes have a combination of two like spinach and avocado. You can be flexible with the amounts depending on how you like the consistency.
Then the basic smoothie ingredients include:
- 1 pot of plain unsweetned yoghurt or plain kefir
- ½ – 1 tbsp of seeds such as chia seeds or flaxseed
- 1 cup of milk of your choice. I use cows milk but if you can’t use that then there are alternative milks like coconut milk, soya milk.
- Plus a handful of the fruit or vegetable combo from below: n.b they can be fresh or frozen depending on how you like it and if you prefer convenience then frozen pieces make it alot quicker to put together.
If you are worried about the milk and yoghurt making it too filling and potentially contributing to the constipation then you can stick with water to thin it down instead.
- Prunes (fresh or partially hydrated)
- Prune and plum (fresh or partially hydrated
- Kiwi and pineapple
Berry smoothie for constipation
There are different types of berries you can use. Mix them up or just pick one type. Here are some of the best combinations:
- Strawberry and raspberry
- Mixed berry smoothie such as red berries, redcurrants, blackcurrants
How To Prep Smoothies Ahead Of Time
If you want to have some portions ready then you can make up a batch of the ingredients (without the milk and yoghurt) before you have blended them up with milk and yoghurt. You could freeze them in small sandwich bags or pots for individual portions.
Then once you have frozen them they will keep for 3 months or so. When you are ready to serve them, take out the freezer and defrost. Add your milk and yoghurt and blend again.
How To Serve Smoothies For Kids
Straw or open cups
This can make it more fun to eat with a straw unless they are really thick smoothies then you may need to have it in a bowl with a spoon.
You can buy reusable smoothie pouches that are colourful and this can help if they are attached to bought smoothies but you want to make your own then these are a good option. They can also then be taken to school or away from home in these convenient pouches.
You can freeze the smoothie mixes in pouches or reusable lolly moulds. Push up moulds work well. No need to defrost but they make take a few minutes to ease out the moulds. These make a great healthy alternative to ice cream.
Make it fun
Make it look more attractive and fun by adding some pieces of fruit or vegetables on the side of the cup. You could also use herbs like fresh mint.
Using smoothies for toddlers with constipation is a great way to add more fibre, fluids and get things moving again. It could also help prevent constipation consumed regularly. Using the right ingredients in smoothies is important to make sure that they help the gut move things along more smoothly.
If your baby or child is struggling with constipation or you have trouble getting them to eat more fruit and vegetables then book a FREE clarity call today to see how we can work together. Click on the button below to get started.