Stop and think about how truly amazing leafy green vegetables — like kale, collards, chard, and spinach — are for a minute. Greens are chock-full of amazing vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants critical for repairing DNA and preventing cancer and heart disease.
Greens have ALL of this:
💚 Vitamins A, C, E, and K
💚 Vitamin B (broccoli, bok choy, and mustard)
💚 Antioxidants that prevent cancer
💚 Folate — critical for preventing neural tube birth defects
And NONE of this:
✖ Trans fat
✖ Refined carbohydrates
You really can’t eat too many greens — but even just a few weekly servings has amazing benefits.
In fact, research shows just 2 – 3 servings of leafy green vegetables per week can lower your risk of heart disease, several cancers, inflammatory disease, and osteoporosis due to the amazing protective benefits of the antioxidants, folate, and vitamin K in leafy greens.
That said, there is a BIG difference between appreciating the incredible benefits of greens and actually getting more in your everyday diet!
Sure, greens are superfoods. But how do I get my family to eat them?
Raw salad is delicious, but for kids and adults alike, cooking greens can be the most palatable way to eat them. The heat breaks down the components and makes digestion easier, and the cooking oil and seasoning add a more appealing flavor for picky eaters.
Ready to cook with leafy greens? Try:
- Sauteing spinach into an omelette
- Roasting kale chips in the oven
- Wilting a handful of chard ribbons into a soup
- Baking into a pasta dish or other casserole
Get Into Green Smoothies
Smoothies and juicing are an amazingly fast, kid-friendly, and delicious way to eat more raw leafy greens.
Throw a handful of spinach leaves into a fruit smoothie. This will turn your smoothie a beautiful bright green, but with no taste! Use it as a chance to be playful with your kiddos and talk about the yummy benefits of “green juice.”
Make green ice cubes. When I have too many greens from my garden — or a kind I don’t like from the CSA — I’ll puree the greens with some water in a blender. Pour the puree into an ice cube tray, throw them in the freezer, and voila! Easy green ice cubes for your next smoothie.
Try juicing. A juicer is a separate machine (not a blender) that separates the pulp and insoluble fiber from the juice of a fruit or vegetable. Without the pulp, you’re able to absorb more of the nutrients extracted in the juice, and faster.
No need to get fancy with your juicer. I like my basic Hamilton Beach model as much as the more complex juicer I got secondhand. It’s just a tool. More important are the ingredients you juice with. I always recommend ginger for a bit of kick and flavor. Parsley and cilantro are great too!
Helping your kids learn to love greens
When introducing green smoothies and juice to kids, it’s important to make it fun for them. Emphasize the change in color. Let them play and experiment, and give them time to come around if they don’t immediately love it.
Try sweetening their green drinks with a bit of fruit. Apples and oranges can make the taste more appealing. Check out our Juicing With Kids blog post for more ideas!
Ultra-simple hacks for those ultra-busy days
Sometimes the fresh greens just aren’t happening. Maybe your family is sick, traveling, or it’s just been one of those days. Here are some no-effort ways to still reap the benefits of leafy greens:
Spagyric Greens by Energetix: This is a liquid extract of spirulina, chlorella, and other nutrient-packed greens. The whole plant is used, so all key components remain intact for easier digestion. We’re very silly about this one in our household! My kids call this “swamp water” and they have a blast adding it to smoothies or water.
Kos Show Me The Greens: A powdered formula made from wheatgrass, oatgrass, spirulina, and chlorella, to stir into water or add to a smoothie. Very kid-friendly with slightly sweetened apple sorbet flavor.
NutriDyn Fruits & Greens: 20+ fruits and vegetables in one easy scoop of powder – and with lots of flavor options! My kids love the strawberry kiwi, pink lemonade, and grape (honestly it tastes just like Kool-Aid). An easy and portable option for traveling and sporting events.
Spirulina: A beautiful blue-green algae powder and one of the most nutritionally-dense foods ever. 1 tablespoon has 4 grams of protein, several B vitamins, iron, copper, and packed with phytonutrients for cleansing and immune boosting properties. A true superfood with a pleasant, minty taste!
Browse the My Healthy Beginning recipe archive for more ideas to nourish your family on your holistic health journey! Here are some of our favorites: