How to Get Your Kids to Eat Kale
(and Other Yucky Vegetables)
Let’s face it……kids are stubborn. They don’t understand the importance of a well-balanced diet or the reason why they’re cranky, sleepy, and down-right angry is because they’ve only eaten chicken nuggets for two weeks. I cannot count the times I’ve prepared vegetables covered with butter, salt, and yes, even sugar, to only have my three little ones turn their nose’s up in disgust. Desperate and exhausted from dealing with “vitamin deficient” tantrums, I decided it was time to get sneaky.
My “aha” moment came one day while taking part in my every day, multi-tasking, mommy duties. At this particular point in time, it was a typical Sunday afternoon. I was busy preparing chili and spaghetti to have in the fridge for the week, packing lunches for the kids for school the next day, and blending some vegetables to make veggie ice cubes to use in my smoothies. Lainey (my middle child) LOVES to be with me in the kitchen and asked if she could help.
As we worked, she rambled on with her usual Lainey chit-chat, but during our conversation, a few comments she made stood out. While rinsing the veggies she exclaimed, “Gross, these leaves (kale) are nasty,” which was directly followed by, “Yum, I can’t wait to eat chili, though!” My wheels started turning. “Hmmmmm……wonder what would happen if I put some of these in the chili/spaghetti?” I added a few already frozen cubes and guess what? THEY NEVER REALIZED IT! How did they not know, you ask? When I blend my vegetables, I use a Nutribullet, which finely chops whatever it is put against. It’s an excellent machine!
How to make Veggie Cubes
To make the cubes, you first wash your vegetables. For a better clean, I will spray mine down with an Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Braggs brand) / water mixture, allow them to sit for 5 minutes, and then rinse.
Next, fill your Nutribullet cup 3/4 full of vegetables, add water to the “max” fill line, attach the blade, and blend for 45-60 seconds. If you find any chunks or large pieces of vegetables just reattach the cup to the base and blend for another to 30 to 45 seconds. The results are amazing! The vegetables are chopped so finely someone may think you used a juicer.
After blending, remove the blades and pour your liquefied mixture into ice cube trays. The large cup that comes with the Nutribullet will typically fill 1 and 1/2 trays. If you don’t want to make ice cubes, simply pour the blended veggies straight into the soup or meal you are preparing.
After pouring into the ice trays, place them in the freezer and allow to harden. Once they are completely frozen, pop the cubes in a freezer bag, and you have perfect healthy goodness right at your fingertips whenever you need to add some nutrition to your meal.
When using ice cubes, I find green ones(kale, spinach, broccoli, green beans) work best when added to soups or other meals that include tomato sauce such as spaghetti or lasagna. The sauce hides the green tint the veggies may create. Also (I know you’re wondering), the finely chopped pieces the blender leaves behind look more like pepper or some other seasoning. Due to their light color, blending veggies such as carrots, squash, cauliflower, and mushrooms are ideal when mixing with something cheese based such as macaroni and cheese. I’ve even let the cubes melt and added the liquid to hamburger/turkey meat for meatloaf, burgers, and tacos. The possibilities are endless!
Buy vegetables in bulk for cheaper prices and prepare all at once! It’s definitely a cheap way to make sure your kiddos (and husbands) are getting the nutrition they need!
Tip: I add the veggie cubes to the foods when they have approximately 10 to 15 minutes cooking time to go. This way the nutrients are preserved as much as possible (cooking takes out some nutritional value). This also allows time for the cubes to melt and warm to an appropriate temperature.