Chi School & Alyssa Bauman
I get it. We have picky eaters. If anyone knows this, I do. My first daughter ate nothing for the first five years of her life. You think that is an exaggeration? It is not. She had to drink special vitamin drinks to get her nutrients. Think Ensure, but for kids, so anything green was definitely not part of her diet. But now at 13 year, she is an adventurous and excited omnivore. Green smoothies aren’t her favourite, although she will drink them from time to time. But put a salad in front of her and she will polish it off no problem
I can not express the importance of greens in our diets. It is the most important food in our diet, yet the most under consumed. Greens are filled with fiber which keeps us full longer and helps us from craving unhealthy foods. They are nutrient dense, packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, calcium and antioxidants—all which help our bodies thrive and fend off disease.
So how do we get the kids to eat them? From feeding my own three daughters to over 15 years in the wellness industry, here are my tried and true ways to get your kids to get their green on:
Involve them every step of the way.
Bring them with you: To the grocery store, farmer’s market, fruit stand. Let them touch, hold, smell even taste the ingredients. Tell them that you’ll be using these to make some yummy drinks. Let them measure cut and get right in there in the kitchen. Older kids will like helping you pick out the recipes. When you make a juice or smoothie, they can help wash the ingredients and place the prepared veggies into a bowl or unplugged blender.
Tell them how cool it is to drink a green juice.
Share with them why it’s good for them. Explain the energy-boosting benefits that they could get from drinking green juice. Liken these benefits to their favourite superhero, cartoon character or sports star. If you have a friend or relative that they look up to, ask them to also tell your child how cool drinking green juice is, because sometimes hearing it from someone they look up to is all a kid needs to try something new (this happened with my nephews!!!). Tell older kids about the benefits such as clearer skin, a natural glow and longer nails that they could have. Every time you make a drink ask them to give it a funny name like “Green Man Super Juice” to keep it fun and exciting. For young kids, you can make a game out of it and after they drink their juice or smoothie, dress them up like a superhero to play around the house with their newfound “superpowers” from drinking superfoods!
Let them pick up a fun cup and straw.
Tell them that this is their special cup or straw, that they’ll only use to drink green juices and smoothies. Stick to it, and only let them use this cup or straw when you make your green drinks. Pretty soon they might be begging you to make a juice, just so they get to drink out of their favourite utensil.
Lead consistently by example and don’t sweat it.
Don’t make a big deal out of drinking it and keep it a positive experience. Adding too much pressure might make some kids feel leery. So, if they refuse to drink it, just say “oh well” and keep trying every day until they finally do. Remember that some kids need to be exposed to new foods 10 times before they will try it. Lead by example and drink the same green juice with them. Show them how much you love drinking yours. Some kids will feel more comfortable just watching you drink it at first, and will take a sip of yours before committing to drinking their own cup. Even after they’ve been drinking green juice for a while, there may be some days that they will refuse to drink it. Don’t sweat it. Change up the recipes so that it’s not the same every time, and just keep offering it to them regularly.
Ease into it and sweeten it up.
While I don’t normally recommend using too much fruit in a juice or smoothie, a sweeter drink can help to ease your child into it. At first make the drinks with two or three servings of fruit or sweet veggies (carrot, beet). In smoothies, bananas and berries are great for hiding bitter flavors, and cucumbers and celery have mild flavors that blend well into any juice or smoothie. Blend it well and consider diluting it with a bit of filtered water so the flavor isn’t as strong and it’s easier to drink. Gradually change the ratio to more greens and less fruit, until you eventually get it down to no more than one or two pieces of fruit in the juice or smoothie. Of course, this also depends on your child. If they are especially young or haven’t been exposed to a lot of sugar, they may not have developed a taste for sugar, in which case I’d recommend going ahead and starting without fruit to see how that goes.
Here’s our all time winner:
- 1 cup of organic green kale, spinach or a mix of both
- 1⁄4 cup cilantro
- 1/2 cup pineapple, frozen is best
- 1/2 peeled cucumber
- 1 lemon, peeled
- Thumb size ginger, peeled
- fill rest with water
Blend till smooth.
- For more kid approved healthy recipes, check out Nourished. I give you all the tools necessary to make organic, healthy living as easy and delicious as possible.