There is no parent in the world who is not struggling with making his kids eating greens. We all know what a good impact on our health these leafy green vegetables have. Greens are high in fiber, protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K and many others, they have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. But all this is not a persuadable argument for our kids.
I was a picky eater when I was a child: different foods could not touch; colorful food could not color the other food; I refused to eat anything served at the nursery and later at school. I guess my parents were struggling with my eating habits a lot. I am not as fussy now as I used to be, but I still have some peculiarities. I still hate raisins, just because they look ugly. And I still hate when beetroot colors other food. So I truly understand all these small picky eaters, who say “nooo…” if they find a green leaf on their plate.
From my own experience as a picky eater and from the experience as a mom of 2 picky eaters, I have learned that sometimes the best technique is to hide the “monster”. The same food that you hate might be very tasty in a hidden form.
So how do I get my kids to eat greens? I sneak in the greens into other foods by blending them to a liquid form. Here are my favorite ways:
Dill has the ability to fight with free radicals and carcinogens and have anti-bacterial powers. It also stimulates digestion, fights excess gas and boosts the immune system. It contains high amounts of calcium and iron.
Mashed potatoes with dill
I make ordinary mashed potatoes, but instead of adding just milk, I add dill blended in milk. And you have “alien” mashed potatoes then.
Most people use parsley only as a decorative garnish for a food plate, not knowing what a powerful green it is. And kids are never fond of eating it too. Parsley is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A and is a very powerful antioxidant. Parsley inhibits tumor formation in our lungs because its volatile oils can neutralize carcinogens from cigarette and charcoal smoke. The benefits are great, but, sadly, many kids leave it on the side of the plate.
Salad with parsley lemon dressing
I find that the only way I can make my kids eat parsley is in a liquid form again. I prepare a simple tomato and cucumber salad. For the dressing of this salad I blend a bunch of parsley with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and some honey.
Spinach is another super green that I like to incorporate into our diet. It is praised for appreciable amounts of iron, but actually it is not the best iron source, as it contains iron absorption-inhibiting substances that do not let the iron to be absorbed in our bodies. Forget the iron, because spinach has high nutritional value and is a good source of vitamin K, A, B, C and E.
I find spinach quite easy to incorporate into other food, because it does not contain a very strong taste. So I try to sneak in and hide spinach in many ordinary recipes.
Tomato pasta sauce with spinach
Just blend a bunch of spinach leaves with half a cup of water and add to any variation of Bolognese sauce that goes perfectly with pasta.
Smoothies with spinach
You can hide many different foods in smoothies. Your kids do not eat spinach? Make them drink it instead. I find red berries or mangos are the best partners for spinach.
Ice cream with spinach
Kids love ice cream. Make a smoothie with spinach and just pour it into the ice cream mould. It is such a nice treat packed with vitamins.
Pancakes with spinach
You can use any pancake recipe and just replace some liquid ingredient with a bunch of raw spinach blended in a half of cup of water. Pancakes with spinach taste exactly the same as regular pancakes. And the nice intense green color makes kids excited about these Shrek pancakes.
I hope you will give these recipes a try. Let me know what you think of them. And also, please share your tricks on how to make your kids eat more greens with me.