It is well known that vegetables are good for our health. People who eat more vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and obesity. As parents, we want to make sure we provide our kids with foods to help them grow healthy and strong. But we know that vegetables, especially the green kind, can be a little scary for kids!
Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and kale are packed with nutrients that make them one of our bodies’ best friends. Green veggies provide calcium, iron, potassium, fiber and vitamins A, C & K. This means that green veggies help with things such as bone growth and strength, digestion, and support our immune system.
So, how can you help your kids eat and enjoy their greens? Check out these simple tricks and recipes that make eating green easier for kids!
1) Add a green vegetable into a favorite dish.
Introduce your kids to green vegetables by pairing them with foods they already love! Do your kids like pizza, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese? Adding spinach, broccoli or kale to these meals can be a fun (and less scary) way to try a new green vegetable.
Chicken Broccoli Shells and Cheese pairs a kid-favorite meal with frozen broccoli for a healthy and cheesy meal that your whole family will love.
2) Add pureed or finely chopped greens into a sauce or soup.
Adding small pieces of broccoli, spinach or kale into sauce is an easy (and sneaky) way to add more flavor and nutrients to your pasta.
ONIE’s Pantry Pasta is an easy and satisfying recipe that uses only a few common ingredients and is ready in under 30 minutes. Instead of fresh spinach, try mixing diced, frozen spinach or kale into the sauce!
3) Be a role model for healthy eating.
Parents are their children’s biggest role model, and your children are more likely to try new foods when they see you eating them. Set a good example for your children by going green yourself!
These Creamy Chicken & Spinach Enchiladas make eating green easy for adults and children alike. Add a side of fruit to make this a complete MyPlate meal!
4) Get your kids involved in the kitchen.
When kids help make a meal, they are excited and proud of their creation. Not only does cooking boost their self-confidence but it also helps kids develop a taste for and try new foods. Encourage your children to eat more green by cooking with some of our favorite green vegetables!
Turkey Breakfast Bake is easy to prepare and delicious to eat! Kids can help prepare the casserole then simply bake for 25-30 minutes. Change it up with frozen kale, broccoli or spinach!
5) Keep frozen greens on hand!
Make the green choice the easier choice with frozen green veggies. Frozen veggies have the same nutrients as fresh veggies and make cooking easier. No need to wash or cut, simply open the bag, add them to your favorite recipes and enjoy!
Do you have more tips for encouraging your children to eat more green? Let us know by leaving a comment below!