Eat More Greens By Deb Glasser, MS, RD
SNP works hard to promote “Eat More Greens”. We wear it on our T-shirts, we incorporate greens into our menus, and we build several nutrition events around this mission (i.e. Epic Green Smoothie, Epic Green Hummus).
But Why? What’s so important about eating green vegetables?
Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and arugula are bursting with healthful nutrients. Greens are packed with vitamins A, C, E, and K, minerals including calcium and potassium and they’re high in fiber. Greens also contain an abundance of powerful phytochemicals that help maintain immune health, good vision and can decrease cholesterol levels. Dietary guidelines recommend children and adults eat roughly 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day, with at least 2 cups of greens per week.
Many children are hesitant to eat greens, we get it. That’s where these come in…
SNP’s tips on preparing green vegetables in a kid friendly way:
- Mix them with more familiar fruits and vegetables. We pair arugula with blackberries, sliced cucumbers, and fresh dill for our “ABCD” salad on our Alphabet Produce Train™ (APT). The sweetness of the berries mixes perfectly with the peppery arugula and the freshness of the cucumber and dill brightens the whole combo. This recipe appears in our soon to be released cookbook “A Chef Walks into A Cafeteria…”
- Add spinach to any smoothie for an green veggie punch. SNP’s Epic Green Smoothie loads in the spinach and tastes amazing. The fruitiness of the mango, banana, and pineapple mask the earthiness of the greens.
- Braise collards at a low temperature for 30 to 40 minutes in low sodium vegetable or chicken broth for a hearty side.
- If your child is reluctant to try something new, make a mixed green salad incorporating spinach or baby kale with a more recognizable leafy green such as iceberg lettuce. Our chefs combine iceberg, kale, jicama, and roasted cremini mushrooms for our “IJKLM” salad. Its tossed lightly with a lemon vinaigrette and is always a hit with the teachers on APT day. This recipe also can be found in our new book!
- Roast kale leaves with some olive oil and salt for a delicious and crunchy “chip”.
Here’s the challenge for you and your families: “Eat More Greens”. Try some of the above tips and don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen. And if you fall off course and need a reminder, look up! You may just happen to see one of our employees proudly sporting their “Eat More Greens” T.
Tag us @schoolnutritionplus and #EatMoreGreens when you share your scrumptious creations!