I tend to think that my children and I follow a pretty nutritious diet - we eat lots of whole grains, avoid trans fats and refined sugars and most processed items, and I make most meals and snacks from scratch. But I will admit, when it comes to vegetables, we are far from meeting the "five a day" recommendation. In fact, I aim for one serving of vegetables a day, and I am satisfied if we reach that goal. We are especially lacking in the green leafy department. I love orange veggies, and broccoli is the family favorite, but salads and other leafy dishes are virtually unheard of in our house.
A few weeks ago, I noticed that pre-bagged kale (a leafy green vegetable, for those who may not be familiar with it) was on sale at the grocery store, so I purchased a large bag, determined to use it. In the past I have eaten kale sauteed with garlic or mixed into scrambled eggs. This time, I tried it in a sausage soup, which turned out - through no fault of the kale - to be hardly eatible. Then, I saw a post at Passionate Homemaking and was inspired to try green smoothies.
When Donny was a finicky toddler who needed to gain weight, I gave him a smoothie for lunch everyday. I usually tossed plain yogurt, frozen chopped spinach, whole milk, a banana, and anything else that seemed nutritious (peanut butter, flax seeds, etc.) into the blender and pressed "liquify" until the concoction was chunk-free. The banana sweetened the smoothie and covered up the taste of whatever I added. There was no way I would drink a sip of it myself (I'm not a fan of yogurt or bananas, nevermind a liquid version with oils and veggies added in), but Donny faithfully drank it everyday. Other than the hassle of cleaning the blender, it was a mess-free, easily portable lunch that ensured some sort of balanced nutrition got into his growing body.
In the past two years, my blender has been mostly collecting dust, but I broke it out for the purpose of turning the extra kale into smoothies. Because Hayden is allergic to dairy, I used coconut milk, orange juice, fresh kale, canned pineapple that I emptied into a container and froze in advance, and a touch of honey. The results? Surprisingly good. The boys drank their fruit and veggies without complaint (they were pretty amused by their green moustaches, too!). I did not mind the taste or texture. And even my husband, who probably eats one serving of vegetables per week, managed to drink a glass. Since my handsome Instant Breakfast fan would rather drink his meals than eat them, this may be a good way to sneak some nutrition into him, too!
Below is the evidence: when kale is on sale, go for a green smoothie!