Adding microgreens to tasty foods- Win!
This recipe is a good example of tasty food that is quite palatable to even those who dislike veggies. A lot of our recipes are created to be inviting to those that do not normally eat vegetables. I have a few of them in my family, as you may in your own- or perhaps you, yourself, do not care for vegetables but know you should eat more. Where to start? Desserts are tempting to almost anyone- add enough flavorful ingredients and you may overcome the person's belief that they dislike vegetables in any shape or form, including specks in cookies.
What we do is change hearts and minds to increase health and nutrition with education and experience!
Only 2% of teens eat enough green vegetables
Children in the United States between the ages of 1-10 are eating 50% less green vegetables than similar-aged children 15 years ago. Only 2% of youth ages 13-17 eat enough green vegetables. Those statistics should make anyone pause. Both short-term and long-term brain and body health depend on getting the right kind of fuel. Microgreens can be an excellent tool to increase the consumption of vegetables in children, youth, and adults.
What do you do if your child does not like vegetables?
Start where they are. Add small amounts of vegetables to the foods they already love gradually increasing the vegetables as they realize it still tastes good. Make the foods with greens taste and look good and serve them for snacks (check out the chocolate chip cookie recipe). Make treats like these peanut butter balls or this ice cream recipe. Put a handful of chopped microgreens in pancake batter and call it leprechaun pancakes. Be creative and persistant.
One of the best tips is to encourage children to grow their own microgreens- they will be more willing to eat what they have grown themselves. The Microgreen Adventure Kits are perfect for children as well as the subscription kits that will be the focus of our Kickstarter Campaign in just a few months. The kits will not only get them growing microgreens, but they will also help them discover why they WANT to eat a few veggies every day as they learn about nutrition, biology, botany, and other great ideas.
A few more ideas:
- Smile when you eat vegetables. Studies have shown that when YOU smile when you eat vegetables, it affects your family- they are more willing to eat them also.
- Eat together. Numerous studies show that eating together not only is an important aspect of family life but also tends to promote more sensible eating habits, especially the consumption of healthy vegetables.
- Stay positive. Avoid forcing your kid to eat vegetables and punishing them when they don’t. Instead, use positive reinforcement by praising them when they do eat a few bites or finish their vegetables.
- Let your child experiment. There are some vegetables your kids will not like, and that’s okay- there are many healthy alternatives to choose from. Let them walk around the produce section and select a vegetable to try. Let your child know that when we try new food, it sometimes takes trying it 10 times before our taste buds realize it is good. Experiment, but don't give up too soon!
There are many ways to add microgreens to the foods that your child already enjoys. Check out the recipes on this blog, but don't stop there. Add a handful of microgreens to your smoothies, replace the lettuce with microgreens in tacos, burgers, sandwiches, and salads, and put a few microgreen sprigs on the side of the plate at each meal.
Ice cream is a great introduction to microgreens! This recipe uses fresh mint to flavor the cream, giving it a wonderfully subtle taste that is irresistible for mint lovers. This is not your supermarket ice cream aisle ice cream! Using young pea microgreens (10 days from planting) gives the best results. This is a custard-based ice cream, so there are multiple steps. Start the night before you plan on making the ice cream by adding the fresh mint to the cream. The next morning, cook the custard and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours.
Fresh Mint Ice Cream with Pea Microgreens
- Ice cream maker
- 2 cups Heavy Cream
- 1 cup milk Skim, 2% or full-fat.
- 1 cup packed, fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 oz. dark chocolate
- 2 teaspoons light tasting oil
- 3/4 cup young pea microgreens, chopped fine
- Heat the cream and the milk on medium in a saucepan until just barely simmering
- Remove from heat and add the chopped mint leaves. Cover it and allow it to steep 6-12 hours in the refrigerator.
- Mix the egg yolks and sugar together and set aside.
- Strain the mint leaves out of the cream and pour the cream back into a saucepan. Add the egg yolk/sugar mixture.
- Heat over low-medium heat, stirring almost constantly just until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon.
- Chill thoroughly- at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Add chopped microgreens and churn according to your ice cream maker's directions.
- While the ice cream is churning, melt the chocolate with the oil in a microwave, mixing every 15 seconds until smooth.
- Drizzle the chocolate in a thin stream into the ice cream when the ice cream is almost done but while it is still churning.
- Place in a container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
How do YOU encourage children to eat vegetables? Do you have any great recipes that your children absolutely love-despite them being full of vegetables? Please leave a comment, below!