Live and Learn Recipes

Going Green

Getting kids (and some grown-ups) to eat their greens can be a real challenge- especially my allergy kid, who is conditioned to be leery and picky about everything she puts in her mouth. So why bother? Because we want our family to be healthy and learn good eating habits while they’re young; greens are incredibly nutritious being high in vitamins, anti-oxidants, and trace minerals as well as having anti-viral and cancer fighting properties; and THEY TASTE GOOD!  But how to get kids to eat their greens? Here are some ideas that have worked in my house:


Grow it – Let the magic of the garden open up new foods and flavors for your table. Gardening teaches where food comes from, how plants grow, but it also teaches patience and the lovely art of observation. The joy of seeing something grow from a seed to a sprout to a little plant is magical, but the real joy comes when you get to eat it. My kids will eat kale straight from the garden – now that is magic! Greens are really easy to grow: Kale, for example, is resistant to many pests, it tolerates cooler temperatures, and it matures quickly. You don’t need much space, just a couple pots on a patio will work.

Cook it – Get your kids involved with the whole process of cooking their own food: growing, preparing, storing, cooking and cleaning up after the meal. Teaching them to do it themselves is an important lesson in independence, but most of all they will take pride in the food they prepare. My children love to show off their culinary creations- including salads.

Hide it – Use your blender to add greens to a fruit smoothie or your favorite sauce, they won’t even know it’s in there!  Here’s a recipe for my favorite green smoothie.

Love it – Just as we model good behavior and excitement for work and art and sport – it is important to model healthy eating. Showing our kids the right way to eat is in my opinion very key to how they will eat and appreciate food into adulthood. So love your greens and they will too!

Share it – Share the love. Once kids get the hang of eating these yummy greens, they will be excited to show them off.  Bring some to friends and neighbors and delight in your children’s proud faces as they announce, “I grew this!” Green pride is a beautiful thing.

Here’s a recipe for Kale Crisps that are extremely addicting and your whole family will love:

Kale Crisps
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Kale Crisps
Print Recipe
  • 1 bunch kale any type curly, dino, purple - enough to fill your baking sheet
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt a pinch or two
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. After picking your kale (or bringing home), remove stems, rinse it well and spin it dry.
  3. Toss with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt - use your hands to work the oil into the kale.
  4. Place in a single layer on sheet pan. Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes or until crisp - check your first batch carefully to refine your oven time. There is a fine line between burned and perfectly crisp.
  5. Serve immediately. If there is any humidity in the air, they will quickly lose their crunch.
Recipe Notes

More options:

  • Sesame Kale Crisps - toss with olive oil and sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sea salt.
  • Sea Crisps - toss lightly with olive oil, a touch of sesame oil, dulse flakes or my favorite - Bragg sea kelp delight seasoning.
  • Tomato and Kale - cut up sun dried tomatoes in tiny pieces and toss them with the kale. Toss lightly with olive oil, sea salt and oregano.
  • Other flavors to try - wasabi, curry, red pepper flakes, dill, basil, lemon zest and pepper, or bacon.

Know your diet: Not all of these options follow specific dietary restrictions - for example tomatoes and pepper are not AIP friendly.

There is no Nutrition Label for this recipe yet.


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    November 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Sounds healthy and simple. I will certainly give it a try. Thanks – Nana

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