We all know they’re good for us, and we’re supposed to “eat our greens.” But why? Well, they’re full of antioxidants, they’re alkalizing on your body, they’re a great source of iron, they protect against toxins and they’re a source of many vitamins. Seems like there’s a few good reasons!
My parents were never very good at steaming broccoli or beans, they always turned out soggy and overcooked – yuck! Spinach didn’t really feature as all they knew of was a side of “creamed spinach” and that’s for fancy restaurants, right? And brussel sprouts NEVER appeared as mum hated them (her mum probably boiled them to death). All these reasons meant that, apart from peas with my sausage and mash, I didn’t really “take” to anything green. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
As I got older, I learned to love them (by not over-cooking them!) and now I try and make sure EVERY meal we have, has something green to go along with it. Even if it’s a few handfuls of spinach thrown in to a soup, and when it came to little grub’s food, I took the same approach. So, here are some ideas as to how to include greens in to the diet… at least up until they start having opinions and “not liking” green food! We can get to that another time.
When they’re little, it’s easy. Puree peas (which are actually quite a sweet vegetable), spinach or broccoli in to any vege or meat combination you’ve got going on. When they’re a little older and eating chunky, mashed food, you can steam some chopped broccoli, courgette and spinach and mash this in to kumara. Add some butter, a squeeze of lemon and you’re good to go! This is what I do now for sausage and ‘mash.’ It’s actually delicious and is super easy.
If we ever have some steamed broccoli left over, I keep it and mash the florets in to some kumara and a scrambled egg which then becomes grubs’ breakfast, lunch or dinner. I include peas in to pasta dishes, or they make great finger food when they’re older. Courgette’s have quite a neutral taste, so you can grate these in to any pasta dishes or meatballs.
And don’t forget that spinach doesn’t have much of a flavour… at all! Include a handful in to smoothies (yip, they can have smoothies whenever you think they’re ready. My boy started at about 9 months), stir some through a curry or a soup. Or you can include some spinach in any savoury muffins you might make. I’ve also got a great finger food/breakfast/snack recipe for Green Eggs – give this one a go, you won’t regret it!
Let me know how you guys get on!