Kids Go Green! Easy Ways to Get your Kiddos–and YOU–to Eat More Greens | Tuesday’s Tip of the Day!
We’ve heard this time and time again, get more greens in your diet! Well, sometimes it’s hard for even us grown adults to follow the recommended guidelines, so how do we expect our kids to?
“The USDA's MyPlate specifically recommends adults and children over 9 eat one and a half to two cups of dark green vegetables per week. Nutrient-dense dark leafy greens are high in several vitamins and minerals, but at just 10 to 25 calories per half-cup serving, are low in calories. ‘The family of dark green leafy vegetables deliver vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, iron and potassium,’ says Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Isabel Maples, MEd, RDN. ‘So they really make the most of every calorie. These nutrients perform a variety of functions in the body, including promoting good vision, supporting immune function, acting as an antioxidant that may help prevent some types of cancer, and regulating blood pressure.’” – EatRight.Org
Today, I am turning to my friends at EatRight.org to offer some great tips when it comes to getting more greens in your diet, especially the toughest of critics, your kids!
So, what’s EatRight.org? EatRight.org is backed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Their team of registered dieticians, nutritionist and experts in the field have come together for a single cause and one singular goal, educating and informing the public on ways for being at your absolute best! If you haven’t checked them out, they have a wealth of information perfect for implementing in your day to day life for being–and living–as your most perfect self!
4 Tips for Kid-Friendly Leafy Greens – EatRight.Org
“ ‘People often get intimidated by cooking and eating darker varieties of greens due to their intense flavors,’ says Academy Spokesperson Angela Lemond, RDN, CSP, LD. Try these tips for enhancing the flavor of different varieties to make them more enticing:
- Academy Spokesperson Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, says you can overcome the bitterness of collard and mustard greens by braising them "low and slow" (at a low temperature for an extended period of time), and adding a pinch of sugar at the end of cooking. Haas also says to remove the tough stems to reduce cooking time and avoid over-cooked greens.
- For kale, be sure to choose the right variety. Tougher curly kale is best for adding to soups or stews or for braising, says Haas. Tender lacinato and baby kale are best in salads.
- Preserve nutrients by sautéing greens, rather than boiling. Krieger recommends sautéing blanched greens with olive oil, onion and garlic to add flavor. Lemond recommends adding chopped nuts for additional heart-healthy fats. Haas says you can sprinkle lemon zest over the sautéed greens to brighten the flavor, but she warns not to use lemon juice, which will turn the leaves brown.
- Make a salad with tender greens such as spinach or baby kale. To expose kids to dark greens, Lemond recommends tossing together a salad made half with familiar lettuce and half with a dark green. Add a citrus-based dressing, which will help balance the strong flavor of the greens and aid in the absorption of iron found in the greens.”
Most importantly, beyond how we treat our greens to maximize–or minimize–their strong flavor profile, remember that however brave kids can be, even the toughest of kids can turn a “stink eye” to greens. Not only do they offer no sugary sweet reward, they are green and way to “adult” like. This is where our job begins in encouraging them, in a fun way, to try new things and see just how tasty those leafy greens can be…in a smoothie, for example. Bring kids to the market and get them in the kitchen with you as chances are, if they had a hand in it, they just might be more interested in sampling their “masterpiece.”
For other terrific tips and hundreds of recipes, visit my website (thetabletogether.com). While there, consider “subscribing” and I will send a new tip or blog post directly to your inbox every Tuesday and Wednesday morning!
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Cheers to starting a new tradition around The Table Together!
Founder and true believer in the power of bringing people around The Table Together!