We all know that greens are good for you. But whether it’s because of the taste, texture, or simply the look of green veggies; it can be almost impossible to convince picky eaters to eat them. But despite how much they may be despised, greens are an important part of a balanced diet: rich in vitamin A, C and K, alongside essential minerals and phytonutrients – everything we need to build a healthy body.
If you need some help getting a picky eater in your household (or even yourself) to eat their greens, here are eight handy tips to help sneak some goodness into your daily diet:
Easily disguise greens in a blended fruit smoothie; perfect for rushed mornings, or an after-school snack. Boost the protein content and add two servings of greens (from broccoli, kale and spinach) alongside Vega Protein & Greens. It’s plant-based, gluten-free and has no added sugar.
DIY: Try this “Funky Monkey” smoothie recipe that tastes just like a PB & J sandwich (and it doesn’t even look green)!
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup dry oats
- 1-2 tsp raspberry 100% fruit jam
- 1 serving Vega Protein & Greens Vanilla
Yes, even dessert can be good for you. This no fuss decadent chocolate pudding is made thick and creamy with the addition of avocado.
DIY: In a blender, mix 1 whole (pitted, skinless) avocado with ½ cup non-dairy milk, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup sweetener of choice (such as maple syrup, agave nectar or coconut sugar). Once well blended, scoop into serving bowls and let thicken in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
Spaghetti (zucchini) noodles
Next time it’s pasta night, why not switch up your routine, and try this stealth-health version instead?
DIY: Only cook up half of your usual volume of spaghetti noodles. For the other half, use a vegetable peeler, mandoline, or better yet a spiralizer (fun for kids too), to create long, thin strands of zucchini (similar size to spaghetti noodles). Toss into the hot water for the last minute or two of cooking to soften up (it won’t take long). Drain, and mix your combined pasta and zucchini noodles together with your favorite sauce before serving.
Yup. You read that right. Brownies are a great way to hide greens. Try adding 1 cup fresh, loosely packed spinach, or 1/2 cup shredded zucchini to your batter. Blend the spinach or zucchini with other wet ingredients in your food processor to get a smooth consistency before combining with the dry ingredients.
Wraps: burritos and tacos
Replacing wraps or taco shells with chard leaves, or butter lettuce leaves may not seem so sneaky, yet it’s their mild taste in combination with a hearty filling that makes this a winning combination at meal-time.
DIY: Wrap your favorite burrito or taco fillings, such as rice, black beans and salsa in chard leaves or butter lettuce leaves. If using chard leaves, cut off the long part of the stem and keep that end of the leaf open for your first bite (rolling the bottom and sides of the leaf inwards).
Flavored water: cucumber, mint and melon refresher
This is a great way to stay hydrated and get in your greens. In a blender combine 1 whole cucumber, 6-8 fresh mint leaves, and 1 cup diced fresh melon (watermelon, honeydew or cantaloupe). Blend until well mixed, and pour liquid through a strainer into a water bottle. Add more water as you like and enjoy through the day.
Seaweed may seem far from approachable at first glance, yet there are a few mild varieties that can be easily disguised in many conventional dishes. Bonus: seaweed contains iodine, necessary for the healthy functioning of our thyroid glands, which regulate metabolism and weight.
DIY: Sheets of nori seaweed, traditionally used for rolling sushi, can be finely shredded and added into soups and sauces. It softens and blends in—making it barely noticeable.
Adults, athletes and kids alike can indulge in these healthy popsicles any time of year. Make a thicker version of your favorite smoothie and pour into an ice pop tray to freeze. Want a recipe to start with? Try one of these three smoothie pop variations.
Contributed by Emma Andrews, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Certified in Plant-Based Cooking, and National Educator at Vega.