True story: I love Kale. Moving on. I totally get that kale overstayed its welcome in the leafy greens health-trend spotlight and by the end of 2016, everyone was like: enough with the kale salad, we get it. But me? I’m over here like, more kale, please and thanks!
Harper is also a big fan of kale, but when it comes to leafy greens, spinach is her spirit animal. Girl loves to eat and luckily will eat just about anything. Her good eating habits could be attributed to using the baby-led weaning method, or simply because we have always given her exactly what we’re eating.
When it comes to leafy greens though, they can just be downright hard for little ones to eat (whether they’re good eaters or not). Thicker greens like kale can be chewy and tough, while softer greens like spinach can still be difficult to chew. You can plop a bowl of kale salad in front of them, but the likelihood of them eating it, or even being able to eat it, is minimal to none. So what’s a health-conscious parent to do? Luckily, with a few simple (and tasty) recipes, you can have your toddler eating more leafy greens in no time.
Side Note: I don’t live in a dreamworld and I fully realize that some kids just won’t try new foods no matter what; especially if they’re going through a “I won’t eat anything green phase.” The trick is to not force it, keep trying/be consistent, and not make a big deal out of it like: “try this it’s good, I promise!” Anyways, on with the chlorophyll.
How to Get Your Toddler to Eat More Leafy Greens
Greens that pack the most nutritional value:
- Swiss Chard
- Collard Greens
Generally, the darker the green, the more nutritional bang for your buck. Curly Green Kale also tends to be super inexpensive, is usually on sale, and lasts forever in the fridge, which is why it’s my # 1 go-to.
Leafy Green Pesto Recipes
My all-time favorite way to incorporate more leafy greens into Harper’s diet is by making pesto. I always have the ingredients on hand, and besides wanting to drink it by the bucketful, Harper loves any excuse to eat pasta, but then again, don’t we all?
- 5 Minute Kale Pesto from Pinch of Yum (this recipe is vegan – but you can always add real cheese or dairy-free parm)
- Spinach Pesto from Diethood
- Arugula Pesto from Foodie Crush
*I have also made pesto by combining Kale, Spinach and Swiss Chard – uses up a lot of veggies and tastes delicious.
Leafy Green Smoothie Recipes
Serve in a fun cup with a twisty straw and you’ve got yourself a winner. Even better, let them “help” by pressing the buttons on the blender – endless fun for toddlers.
- Strawberry & Banana Green Smoothie from Cooking Classy
- Pineapple Avocado Green Smoothie from Natasha’s Kitchen
- Berry Green Smoothie from Damn Delicious (this one comes out purple so if little ones are opposed to green, purple monster smoothie it is!)
- Coconut Creamsicle Cold-Buster Green Smoothie from Because I Said So Baby
Leafy Greens + Grains Recipes
Carbs. Need I say more?
- Spinach Mac & Cheese from RecipeGirl (I like to do 50/50 arugula and baby spinach)
- Green Goddess Mac & Cheese from Simply Recipes
- Restaurant-Style Fried Rice from Gimme Some Oven (I add tiny pieces of chopped kale when sauteing the veggies)
- Cheesy Kale & Spinach Quinoa Bites from The Nourished Seedling
Leafy Greens + Protein Recipes
Easy ideas for breakfast or dinner!
- Kale & Chicken Nuggets from Brit Strawbridge (our new favorite dinner!)
- One-Pan Pesto Chicken & Veggies from Julia’s Album (use one of the leafy green pestos above)
- Swiss Chard Frittata from Skinnytaste (I use all whole eggs, instead of half egg whites)
- Sausage, Spinach & Cheese Egg Muffins from Two Peas & Their Pod (use veggie sausage to make vegetarian)
Have any good tips to share for getting little ones to eat more greens? Share below!
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