Guest Post: 3 Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their Greens!!

eating greens Hello Everyone, I am really excited to bring you a guest post from a pretty special lady, real food blogger, mother and nutritionist Sarah Bester.  She really has an amazing way to make meal time fun, exciting and most importantly healthy, this all through her blog Kids Heart Real Food, workshops, one on one consultations in the Toronto area and through her yummy Smoothie E-Book.  She was also kind enough to feature me on her blog, where I talked about breastfeeding nutrition.  For today's post she talks about 3 Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their Greens!! Enjoy!

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Sarah Bester, Family Nutritionist and Real Food EducatorHi Appreciating Health readers!  My name is Sarah Bester and I’m a Family Nutritionist and Real Food Educator.  My mission is to prove to parents that kids really can learn to love and appreciate vegetables - and that it can be fun instead of a battle!  Similar to Kim, I offer nutritional counseling and real food education to moms-to-be, infants, kids and the entire family.  I also started a blog called Kids Heart Real Food, where I post kid-friendly recipes and simple strategies for making real food a part of every family's life.

Today I’m guest posting on Appreciating Health about a topic that I’m asked about often – how can I get my kids to eat their greens?

We all know our kids should be eating more leafy greens right?  Spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, and even fresh herbs such as basil, parsley and cilantro are some of the most nutrient dense foods out there. They contain disease-preventing antioxidants and phytonutrients that can help kids live a long and vibrant life - the darker the green, the better!

Unfortunately, parents typically have a hard time getting their kids to eat anything green and leafy. The bitter taste does take some getting used to, and leafy greens are tough for younger children to chew.

I'm here to convince you not to give up on leafy greens! It may take some time, but introducing these flavours when kids are young means they will be more likely to accept them as they get older.

 To make sure that your youngster doesn’t miss out on the health benefits of leafy greens, here are 3 easy ways to start introducing them into their diet:

1. Green Eggs

Even if your child is too young to read Dr. Seuss, they will still enjoy green eggs for breakfast. Simply use your blender to blend fresh greens with raw eggs, and then cook the egg mixture as you would normally.  Your kids will be eating vegetables for breakfast, and they won’t really taste the difference. 

 2. Pumped up Pesto

Why limit yourself to basil as the only green ingredient in pesto? Experiment with a variety of different leafy greens and herbs, such as kale, spinach, Swiss chard and cilantro. Your child will love this nutritionally charged pesto on everything from pasta to chicken, or used as a dip for crackers or fresh veggies.

The key to these recipes is to go slow. Start with a small amount of a mild leafy green (such as spinach) and continue to increase the amount each time you make it . Eventually you will be able to move on to stronger flavoured greens such as kale or collard greens.

 3. Green Smoothies

Green smoothies have become quite popular, and for good reason. Mixing a handful of leafy greens in with a blend of fruit and other healthy add-ins is a great way to add a nutritional boost to your child’s diet, especially for busy parents.  And it tastes delicious too – making it a perfect meal or snack for kids who are resisting greens.  For some great green smoothie ideas (and some green-less ones too!) check out my 21 Day Smoothie Guide more details below.

Remember - as tempting as it is, you should not be trying to "hide" the greens in your child's food. It's important to always be honest with kids when it comes to the food they are eating in order to establish healthy eating habits. Your kids may never love all things green and leafy, but with time they can learn to accept them as a normal part of a varied diet and benefit from their superfood properties.   

And if you are looking for some inspiration in the green and leafy department, why not check out my recently published eBook?!  The 21-Day Smoothie Guide: An eBook to Jump Start your Smoothie Habit is a collection of 21 simple, healthy and delicious smoothie recipes to make it easy to introduce smoothies into your family’s routine.

The eBook is a collaboration between myself and 6 other holistic nutritionists and it will help strengthen your kids’ positive association with leafy greens.  Trust me, my son always helps make his smoothies and adding kale is just part of the process – he doesn’t even question it (despite the fact that right now he wouldn’t eat a pile of steamed kale – but I know that will happen eventually!)

You can purchase your copy by clicking on the picture below:

21 Day Smoothie Guide 

Happy Green Sipping!

 Sarah