5 Ways to Entice Kids to Eat Their Greens

Packed with vitamins and minerals like energy-boosting iron, leafy greens offer a wealth of nutritional goodness. Here's how to get kids to go for 'em.
Dressed salad

Tim MacKay

  1. Dress them. The right topping can tempt some finicky eaters to eat leafy veggies. Our Pretty in Pink dressing adds yummy flavor and unexpected color to any salad. To make it, combine 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt, a pinch of salt, and 6 to 10 fresh or frozen strawberries in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth.
  2. Crisp them. Most kids can't turn away a crunchy snack. Luckily, transforming hearty kale leaves into light, delicious chips is easy. Heat the oven to 400°. Toss a bunch of the greens with a tablespoon of olive oil and spread them evenly on a generously oiled cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and bake until crisp, about 8 minutes. Let the chips drain in a paper towel-lined bowl before eating.5
  3. Grow them. When kids are involved in planting and picking, they may be more likely to take part in tasting, too. "Growing lettuce made my daughter Olivia finally try it and discover that she likes it," says FamilyFun contributor Jodi Butler. She keeps a container of mixed baby lettuce greens growing on her back porch throughout the summer.
  4. Customize them. Take advantage of the season's bounty and set up a family salad bar once a week. Stock it with several different greens and other yummy but healthy offerings -- fresh fruit, colorful beans, grains, an array of dressings, and high-protein add-ins, such as cheese and nuts -- then let everyone build their own bowl.
  5. Roll them. Kids can eat a salad with their hands by rolling fillings, such as tuna salad, grilled chicken, or hummus, into large lettuce leaves (romaine and Boston work well). Up the nutritional benefits by layering in chopped veggies.

Originally published in the May 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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