Easy Ways to Get Kids to Eat Kale

By Jennifer Iserloh, author of “Secrets of a Skinny Chef“, Rodale, 2010

kale-chips2When you try these irresistible kid-friendly snacks and meals, your kids will start to crave kale!

Try adding one of these wonderful preparations gradually to meals that they already know and love.

If you have a “veggie hater” in your family, emphasize the name of the recipes like “chips” or “salad” when introducing new dishes, so you won’t fall prey to “Kale, what’s that?? I don’t like it.

Crisp It!

Kale chips are the #1 kid-approved kale recipe that I’ve created, kids love the super crisp texture and mild taste and don’t mind that they’re green. Have your child help prepare this easy recipe, kids eat what they cook — it’s a simple fact and worth the 10 minutes you’ll supervise. Baking kale for a brief time doesn’t damage its nutrients, so these are chips that deliver all the goodness of kale. If your child can eat peanuts, shake it up with these amazing protein-rich peanut-crusted kale chips.

Kale Chips

Courtesy of Skinnychef.com

Serves 4

1 bunch kale, (about 1pound)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Set out two ungreased baking sheets with sides. Rinse kale under cold running water and pat dry with a paper towel or dish towel. Wrap kale in another layer of fresh paper towel or another dry dishtowel—kale must be dry in order to crisp up. Squeeze and unroll. Roughly chop leaves and discard stems or save to add to your favorite soup recipe.

In a large bowl, toss leaves with olive oil and salt, rubbing leaves with your fingers to coat well. Transfer leaves to the baking sheets, spreading them out in an even layer, so they do not touch. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice, until crisp. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Stats Per Serving (2 cups): 86 calories, 3 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 132 mg sodium
Hungry for more ideas? Add kale cookbooks to your kitchen library.

Blend It!

Blending kale in smoothies is an excellent way to send your kids off to school with a belly full of superfoods. Try a blueberry kale smoothie, it looks like a plain blueberry smoothie but is supercharged with kale. Simply blend 1 cup of frozen blueberries with 1/2 cup chopped kale and 1 cup of your favorite dairy product. Or try using kefir, an amazing yogurt drink that contains 11 helpful probiotic cultures that we can only get from food (without them, we won’t be able to synthesize many of the vitamins that our cells can’t make on their own, like vitamin B and K). These beneficial bacteria are also at the core of our immune system, because they handle stimulating cell growth, stop the growth of harmful microorganisms, and safe-guard intestinal tissue from conditions like leaky gut syndrome.

Toss It

If your child is a salad fan, try making a massaged kale salad. Prepare the salad one day in advance and let is rest in the fridge overnight. Start by washing your kale and wrap in a dry dishtowel. Tear the kale by hand into bite-size pieces and discard the stems or save them for homemade chicken stock. Toss the leaves in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Let your child choose additional healthy toppings like chick peas, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, edamame, or chopped avocado. Toss well and cover with foil. Refrigerate over night and enjoy for up to three days.

Process It

Kale is great to toss into your favorite meat mixture, like ground beef or turkey for tacos, bolognese, and chili and stew. Just wash it well and chop it finely in a food processor. Add it to meat mixtures during the last few minutes of cooking. If you don’t have a food processor, try your mini-chopper or add chopped kale along with a few tablespoons of cold water and puree in your blender.

Grill It

Toss washed kale leaves in olive oil and taco spice. Thread kale onto skewers along with chunks of chicken. Grill 2 to 3 minutes per side until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with your child’s favorite dipping sauce, or toss grilled kale on a lean homemade beef or turkey burger with a whole grain bun. Grilled kale is also the perfect side dish that’s also safe for vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free eaters who might show up at your next cook-out.

Be Sweet to Them

Kale for dessert?? Getting kale into meals is best but why not also sneak some into desserts? Adding low-cal, fiber-rich kale to desserts means a bigger portion size biggest without adding extra fat or sugar. Try our kale fudge pops for a chocolaty treat that has a fiber boost from both kale and 100% dark cocoa powder.

Chocolate Kale Fudge Pop

Courtesy of 50 Shades of Kale

Kale Fudge PopThese rich, indulgent fudge pops get a boost of fiber thanks to a hearty dose of kale. You might not think of fiber as sexy, but getting adequate fiber can lead to flatter abs and clearer skin. Fiber also helps to maintain the balance of healthy bacteria in your intestinal tract, which promotes immunity and can even enhance your libido. Seconds, anyone?

Serves 8

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
2 cups warm water
1 cup torn kale leaves

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except kale and add the warm water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Place kale in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Stir the kale into the chocolate mixture and divide it among 8 ice pop molds and insert ice pop sticks.

Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving. The pops will keep for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container in the freezer.

Per Serving (1 pop): 127 calories, 2 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 8 mg sodium

You think these are smart ideas? Wait until your kids start eating kale — here’s your kid’s brain on kale. Hungry for more? You’ve got it – try these fast and easy kale recipes that both kids and parents will enjoy.

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