How to Get Your Kids to Eat their Greens
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I’m really blessed that Brooks is a veggie-eating machine.  One of his favorite snacks right now is sliced cucumbers and bell peppers.

I’m well aware that the picky eating monster could come visit my home at any time, to steal away my little boy’s good eating habits.  I’ve seen it happen to many of my friends with kids.  One day their child loves broccoli, the next day it is on the most hated foods list.  You know if that’s the case, you better not even let it touch their plate! Or there could be a meltdown of nuclear proportion. The horror!!

I asked some of my mommy friends for tips on keeping their littles on the veggie train. Here’s what they told me:

Cheese Please

Don’t be afraid to sprinkle some toppings on your veggies. Remember this is a marathon not a sprint. Getting your kids used to eating vegetables with every meal is a habit they will benefit from for a lifetime. Shredded cheese, nuts and even bacon bits are great salad accessories to keeping your kids on the green side. I mean, who doesn’t love a little bacon??  They even make vegetarian versions. Didn’t everyone else grow up on broccoli smothered in cheddar cheese?  Elevate that recipe to the next level by sprinkling a little Parmesan on your trees.

Smoke and Mirrors

Employ your best sleight of hand tactics.  Disguises and trickery are welcome in the ultimate goal of getting our kids to eat healthy.  Mama knows best, right?!?  If you haven’t already, you MUST check out this incredibly yummy recipe for chocolate mousse made from avocados. Seriously something you have to taste to believe!!

I also am a fan of Jessica Seinfeld’s book, Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kid Eating Good Food. Whatever it takes!!! A good friend shared with me her recipe for kale pesto that has tricked her brood for years.  They only recently figured it out when they saw her blanching the kale before dinner.  Luckily, this recipe is so yummy they still haven’t turned their noses up to it!

Kale Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch kale - center ribs and stems removed
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
  • 1 and ½ cloves of garlic minced
  • Pinches of salt and pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon

Directions:

  • Blanch kale in pot of salted boiling water for about a minute.
  • Drain and rinse with cold water to halt cooking process.
  • Pat dry kale pieces with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel.
  • Toss kale into food processor with walnuts and Parmesan and pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • Add olive oil while processor is running to create a coarse puree.
  • Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Without further ado here is my “go to” summer salad.  Loaded with all kinds of great nutritious veggies and incredibly easy on the eyes, too.  I mean could this dish be any prettier?  This salad is perfect for low-key family dinners as well as a chic superstar you could proudly take to any event, from backyard barbecue to rustic dinner party.  Big thanks to our pal, Gavan Murphy for the recipe. Some of you may know him from some of our previous posts.  This little video we made about grilling corn is just in time for this salad-making extravaganza.

Kale Salad with Roasted Cauliflower, Butternut Squash and Grilled Corn

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag kale salad mix (kale, red cabbage, carrot)
  • 1 head cauliflower (white, purple or orange) - Cut into bite size florets. Toss in olive oil S&P. Roast in 350°F until tender.
  • 2 cups butternut squash cubed - Toss in olive oil, S&P. Roast in oven on foiled oven tray until tender.
  • 2 corn on the cob - If you have a barbecue just put them straight on the grill and char all sides. If no grill is available just remove the kernels from the husk and sauté until browned.

Lemon Dijon Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 lemon - zested & juiced
  • Dash honey
  • Pinch S&P
  • 1/4-cup olive oil

Put all ingredients in a Tupperware container and with lid on shake until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Quick Tip:

You should dress the Kale portion of the salad 15 minutes before eating to help soften leaves. Just before serving mix all the other ingredients into dressed kale.

So what are your tricks for getting your kiddos to eat their veggies?  PLEASE tell me everything!!!  I would love to share with our readers any tips that you may have.  We need to stick together in our "Eat Lots of Veggies" revolution!!

Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.