7 Ways to sneak more greens into your diet...and get you kids to eat them too!
We all know we need to eat our vegetables. That doesn’t mean we do it. Kids are notorious for “hating vegetables” and most adults aren’t much better. So what are we to do? Try adding greens into your daily diet. They are packed with vitamins A, B, C, E, and K and minerals like magnesium, iron, and calcium. Greens are so versatile and many have a mild taste so you will hardly know you are eating them!
As a mom who has hidden greens in my kids’ food for years, here is my Number 1 Tip: Tear or chop the greens into smaller pieces. My kids didn’t like the greens if they got a spoon or mouthful. With small pieces, the greens seemed to disappear into the rest of the dish. I could even pass them off as “seasoning” (see #4 below).
1. Smoothies: Green smoothies have been popular for a while. That’s because they are perfect for getting your greens without even tasting them. Seriously! If you’ve never had one before, try it. Spinach is my go-to smoothie green. I also throw in a handful of leaf or romaine lettuce. Sounds weird, but it works. You. Can. Not. Taste it. Kale is another good option for an almost-undetectable green. Arugula, beet greens, and chard have a stronger flavor so you will probably not be able to sneak them past the kiddos. Try this recipe: Peanut Butter Banana Green Smoothie
2. Soups and stews: When making soups, toss in a couple of handfuls of raw or frozen greens with the rest of the veggies. I even add greens when the original recipe doesn’t call for veggies. Like our loaded baked potato soup. I just add a few handfuls of kale or spinach into the creamy broth. Here is our most used potato soup recipe: Chicken Pot Pie Soup
3. Eggs: Eggs are just as versatile as greens so they can be used together in a number of ways. Start simple and sauté some greens in the skillet before adding eggs. Scramble them or turn into an omelet. Try breakfast for supper with a frittata, egg bake, or quiche. We like this hearty recipe for lazy Saturday brunch or breakfast for supper: Bacon, Potato, Kale Frittata
4. Pasta: I always put a cup or two of greens into the cheese layer of my lasagna. When Nate was younger he asked what the green stuff was. I told him, “Seasoning.” That satisfied his curiosity and he never asked again. It wasn’t until the kids were much older that they realized it was actually a vegetable! It’s a great way to eat more vegetables plus the green makes the lasagna look fancier. This Chicken and Kale Pasta recipe doesn’t hide the greens, but it is still tasty!
5. Pesto: Most of us think pesto has to be made with basil, but that’s not true. I’ve made pesto with carrot tops, kale, and spinach. We use the pesto to top burgers, chicken, and fish and mix it with a little chevre or cream cheese to eat with fresh or cooked veggies (bonus points for double vegetables). Check out this Spinach Pesto recipe.
6. Chips: I will be honest and tell you neither my kids nor I really dig kale chips, but it’s still an option. For me, I feel like I’m eating dead leaves from a tree. I’m probably just doing it wrong though because many of our CSA members fill their baskets with different types of greens to take home and make chips. Here is one of the recipes a CSA member gave me: Kale Chips. Apparently, the trick is to blow dry the kale before baking!
7. Breads: No, this isn’t the healthiest way to get your greens. But I figure, I’m going to eat the carbs anyway; I might as well as add some greens to the dough. I feel better knowing my kids and I are eating a vegetable with the sugar. 😊 We’ve added greens to numerous quick bread and muffin recipes like banana, carrot, and zucchini bread. We all love this recipe for Spinach Bread. Its delicious for a snack or with a bowl of warm soup.