There is no denying the benefits of greens. It has been a long know fact that they are great for you and an important part of your diet. But for some reason most kids (and adults for that matter) just don’t like the taste, partly because they are bitter, and partly because they can just be really really bland. But they don’t need to be. We have some great ways for you to up the green intake in your household and getting everyone loving them.
But first lets recap the benefits:
They are nutrient dense, low calorie and high percentage of water content. Ever get annoyed when spinach pretty much disappears when you cook it? Well this is because of the high water content. But regardless of water, greens are packed with nutrients that are important for a healthy diet.
Greens are extremely high in vitamin K; this is the vitamin that is vital to help your blood clot when injured. If you are taking blood-thinning medication it is advised to monitor your vitamin K intake to avoid counteracting the medication.
Greens such as spinach and kale are also very high in nitrates. These have been shown to moderate blood pressure, several human studies have even linked consumption of spinach with lowering blood pressure. Nitrates have also shown to decrease a person’s risk of heart disease.
Every process or reaction that occurs in our body produces a by-product of free radicals.These are ‘stress’ molecules that need to be dissipated. Well greens can help with just that. They are packed with antioxidants, which neutralise the free radicals. The antioxidants found in greens have been linked with anti aging, cancer prevention and maintaining the levels of ‘stress’ on the body.
Now you know just how healthy they are, here are a few ways to make them interesting for the whole family.
- Roughly chopped spinach and kale and mix it through hot meals. The small pieces are much more manageable for small kids. This also helps to dilute the bitter flavour, and get them used to the taste.
- Talk to them about why we eat foods that are good for us. -Its best to be honest instead of hiding food to ensure there isn’t any mistrust. It might be easier to just hide vegetables in your kid’s food but this does nothing for their relationship with food. Talk to them openly about the benefits and why we eat foods that are good for us.
- Add it to their smoothies;the green smoothie (link) is a great one to start out as it has the sweetness from the mango that they love so you can’t taste the greens
- Use fun names for your food based off fictional characters. Etc when you make them a green smoothie nickname it the HULK smoothie, or for pesto pasta –why not green lantern pasta! This is a great way to have a little fun with food and encouraging them to eat it. Why not even challenge them to come up with fun names for their food based on their favourite characters!
- Serve greens up with their favourite foods. And then don’t pressure them from the greens. Instead sit next to them and eat the same thing–it is all about modelling the behaviour to them. This has actually proven to work to get kids to try new food over time. Bare with it, it won’t happen over night.
So what is stopping you! Stop into your local supermarket and pick up our new 280g bag of spinach and kale to start getting creative.