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How to Prep Your Greens for the Week (and get your kids/husband to eat them)

As I’ve discussed before, green leafy vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals. Most of us know that it’s important to incorporate them into our diets.

But convincing your kids or husband to eat them can be a bit of a challenge.

I can coerce Helen into eating greens by having her finish them before she gets a favorite food (such as fruit). But James is another matter: he spits out greens as soon as they hit his tongue. I don’t feel like fighting that battle with him every day. So I came up with a way to sneak them into his food in a way that he can’t spit them out. 

Let me show you what’s working for us:

Creamy Green Smoothie
As I discussed in my post all about spinach, cooking your greens helps your body to get more nutrients out of them. This is because cooking reduces the amount of oxalic acid (an anti-nutrient) and goitrogens in greens. I personally try to avoid giving James un-cooked greens because they can be harder to digest.

Another, non-nutrient benefit of cooking your greens is that they take up so much less room in your fridge. And they tend to last longer.

To cook your greens, place quite a bit of water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and add your greens. Cover and cook for 7 minutes.

Creamy Green Smoothie
Drain your greens and rinse with cold water. You want to cool them off so they aren’t too hot for the next step…

Creamy Green Smoothie
Now, blend your greens with just enough water to make a smooth mixture.

Look how green that is!

Creamy Green Smoothie
Scoop into a storage container and store in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days. Discard if any mold forms (I haven’t had any problems with mold yet).

Creamy Green Smoothie
You can also store your greens in the freezer for longer. Pour into ice cube trays, freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer-safe container/storage bag. These should keep for at least 3 months.

Creamy Green Smoothie
One of my favorite ways to get my kids to eat their greens is to add the pureed greens into their scrambled eggs. I add a couple of spoonfuls to the eggs before I beat them. So easy! Older kids might find the color a bit strange at first, but they’ll get used to it when they realize that the taste isn’t changed.

You could also add the puree to soups, pancakes/waffles, muffins, homemade ice cream (mint chip would be perfect), casseroles, meatloaf, mashed potatoes…the list goes on!

You may think that this will alter the flavor of your food greatly and your kids will turn up their noses at it. I personally have found that the flavor is very mild and sometimes undetectable. Spinach is the most mild green, but I have even added arugula to the mix!

Note: I think it’s important to incorporate different kinds of greens into your diet since they contain different amounts of vitamins and minerals. For example, kale is much higher in Vitamin C than spinach, but spinach has more folate.

Here are some common green leafy vegetables:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Collard greens
  • Swiss chard

Stay tuned – up next I’ll be sharing a recipe for a green smoothie that you and your kids will actually want to drink!

If you have any tips for sneaking greens into your kid’s/husband’s food, be sure to share in the comments section below!

In summary:

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add your greens, cover, and cook for 7 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse your greens in cold water.
  • Add the greens to a blender and blend with a bit of water until smooth. 
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to a week, and in the freezer for at least 3 months.

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Are you not losing nutrients if you boil and throw away the water?

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Yes, some nutrients most likely are lost while cooking the greens. However, greens contain plant toxins that can be detrimental to your health: https://deliciouslyorganic.net/green-smoothie-recipe/ In my opinion it's more important to make plants nutrients digestible than to preserve all of the nutrients found in their raw state. Some plants are better eaten raw, but I think we need to be careful with eating loads of raw greens.

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