It’s hard to get kids to eat their vegetables, let alone to get the big kids of the family to do the same, yes, that’s you mom and dad! Here is a simple, easy trick I like to use in my household to get in the healthy servings of veggies we and our kids need to live well. The trick I like to use, is to simply drink your veggies. Instead of crunching on numerous servings of veggies dowsed in ranch dressing, the trick is to blend them up in a smoothie with the help of some favorite foods that will help mask the veggie taste.
We all know how a healthy diet will make us feel better and keep us out of the doctor’s office, so if you can incorporate a few more veggies in one meal, it’s a great start. It is worth the small amount of time you’re in the kitchen throwing some items in the blender. With the tap of a button, and the wiz of the blender blades your family will have access to an edible cancer, obesity, heart disease, and multiple other disease fighting drink! It is much easier to use a blender and drink your daily veggie count, compared to eating and crunching away at raw, and I’ll admit it, sometimes bland flavorless veggies.
Plus, when you blend them in a smoothie, you are able to add a lot more volume of veggies since they will compact when blended. If you do it right you can have nearly all of your daily recommended servings in one drink. I recommend blending over juicing any day because you don’t want to miss out on any nutrients the fruits or vegetables have for you, such as fiber!
And “how,” you may ask, will you get your kids to enjoy them? Masking the veggie flavor. Yes! You can “hide” veggies very easily in a smoothie by adding a few stronger preferable flavored foods. By adding these “masking” ingredients you are able to add whatever veggies you want. As long as you add slightly more of the masking flavors than veggies, you and your children will mainly taste your base flavorful, enjoyable ingredients and almost forget that your smoothie has vegetable ingredients in it!
The best combinations I have found are orange or apple juice, with banana and yogurt, then add veggies. Or try peanut/almond butter and (almond) milk or yogurt with banana, then adding veggies. A few handfuls of veggies in any combination will work. Many vegetables are actually sweet when blended so kids don’t even notice them!
Any conifer vegetable, such as kale, spinach and swish chard, is great to add because it blends well and their flavor is easily hidden. Carrots and beets, are sweet, but go easy on stronger flavors until you have the right ratio. I also love adding a handful of oatmeal to each smoothie, and only use half a banana because of the sugar content. So find your perfect combination and start blending! It’s an easy and fast, portable disease fighting, drinkable feast! Just remember to keep an uneven ratio, for every cup of milk, OJ, or yogurt, you want to add half a cup of cut up or compacted veggies.
If your kids see you eating your veggies they will follow. Your attitude towards health and healthy foods is contagious, no matter whether it is positive or negative. I left the most important tip for last. Don’t give away the fact that there are veggies in their smoothie! Calling it the banana boat candy smoothie will sound a lot more appealing than giving away the fact that there might be something green hidden in their drink.
Simone Emmons is a Windham resident, wife and mother as well as a licensed massage and Reiki practitioner.