Sneaking Your Kids the Green Stuff

Last week I was lucky enough to spend my morning with a bunch of amazing kiddos at a local preschool.  Let me tell you – this school has it all – amazing teachers, cool playroom, interactive education and an incredible herb and veggie garden.  Talk about hands on.  My job?  Show them that eating their greens can be tasty.  And guess what?  It was a hit.

We’re kicking off our Kids Rule program again this upcoming Monday. I gotta tell ya, we love this program.  Getting kids healthy, not sure there’s much more important than that, is there?  We cover a TON in this program – everything from an education behind why certain foods can cause problems to practical tips and tricks for better everyday nutrition for your kids.

The single most important takeaway?  I’ll let you in on it now: getting the kids involved. And that’s just what we did at the preschool last week.   It’s the most simple and yet most effective tool there is.  Last week we did a green smoothie demonstration and we talked about why some foods are so important for the body – like spinach for growing bodies, bananas for energy and activity, and healthy fats such as coconut for the brain.  We hit it out of the park with nearly all of the kids drinking the entire “Mint Chip” smoothie we made…and asking for more.  As an added bonus they got a little dose of spinach a few days later when the “Mint Chip Smoothie Popsicle” came out of the freezer. 

She was pretty into it.


I was warned that most of these kids wouldn’t touch anything green.  You know what?  The entire group (minus one little gal…but I think she’ll come around) drank this spinach smoothie and asked for more.  How’s that for getting them their greens?  When kids take part of what is happening, and when they know WHY, their more apt to let the fight go.  Doing so with their friends is an even bigger sell.  We go over practical tools like this in Kids Rule, but also talk about how adding in (such as spinach in a regular smoothie) is just as important as taking out (perhaps dairy if you suspect a sensitivity to it).  We cover everything from picky eating to behavioral concerns to flat out hating veggies.  Interested in learning more?  Check it out here and be sure to use kidsrule20 for a 20% discount.  Materials going out this Friday!

Below is one of our most popular recipes from the program. It’s an incredibly easy way to make sure your kids are getting their greens. Some extra smoothie tips?

Mint Chip Smoothie OR Popsicle!

2 cups or handfuls of spinach leaves
1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
5-6 fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey or grade B pure maple syrup
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (optional) or cocoa nibs

In a blender or processor, blend all ingredients (except chocolate chips) until completely smooth. Pour into cups if enjoying as a smoothie and sprinkle with chocolate chips. If making popsicles pour into popsicle molds or paper cups with spoons as the sticks. Add chocolate chips to each mold. They will sink to the bottom but that’s okay! Freeze completely, and feel good giving your kids this frozen treat.

 
PRESCRIBE NUTRITION SMOOTHIE TIPS FOR KIDS
  • Get creative with the flavors – think about what goes well together in baking and/or cooking and go from there. Some favorites include mint + berries, mango + ginger, beets + cocoa…but the possibilities are endless.
  • If your child is hesitant about the color, serve in a colored cup with a lid and a straw.
  • In fact, straws are a hit no matter what.
  • If they don’t like the texture, try pouring into popsicle molds. Kids love pops!
  • Let them be part of the process – picking out the ingredients, letting them put the spinach in the blender, etc.  It’s all about giving them ownership.
  • You can alter any recipe to fit your kid’s tastes – sweeter, less sweet, thinner, thicker, etc. It’s all about playing around.
Now go get blending!

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