How to Get Your Toddler to Eat Spinach

15 May

Tonight I sauteed fresh, organic spinach to have with dinner and my 2-year-old gobbled it up, then asked me for more.

Or… you could say that she took one tiny piece of a spinach leaf and let it touch her tongue for a millisecond before contorting her face and saying “Ah don like ih.” (That’s how you say “I don’t like it” when the food in question is SO grotesque that you can’t even bear to close your mouth again for fear of tasting it.)

This is not new. Although my daughter will eat a decent variety of vegetables, leafy greens have always been a challenge. But they are so good for you, and I didn’t want her to miss out on all the health benefits.

So when a friend posted a link about “green smoothies” on a discussion board, I decided to give it a try. The basic recipe was so simple, but there was one thing standing in my way: It was green. (Hence the name.) Toddlers don’t like to eat and drink green things.

Unless the green drink is called…

Monster juice

(You’re not saying it right. You need to position your fingers like claws, wiggle them in the air, and use a raspy monster voice. OK, that’s better. Keep practicing.)

So just so we’re clear, you’re not going to say “Jimmy, sweetie, would you like a nice, healthy, green smoothie packed with antioxidants and vitamins?” You’re going to say, “There was a monster here earlier today and he taught me how to make his favorite

. Would you like some?”

(By the way, have fun with this but try not to freak your kid out. Toddlers think monsters are real. Heck. Sometimes I think monsters are real.)

Now that we’ve got the method down, here’s my favorite recipe:

(Place in blender in this order)

1 large orange, peeled and chopped into four pieces

1 large banana, peeled (You can break it in half but it’s not necessary. Frozen bananas work well too.)

Splash of milk (or rice milk, hemp milk, etc.)

A nice-sized handful or two of washed spinach (if using spinach with long stems attached, you may want to cut off the ends first)

A couple of ice cubes

(Optional: I add two tablespoons of freshly ground flax seed for the omegas.)

Blend and serve. For some reason toddlers are more likely to drink this if served in a cup with a straw.

Some adults (like my sister) might require an opaque glass.

Personally I think they taste great. You truly can’t taste the raw spinach – just banana and orange.

There are so many other great (green) smoothie recipes out there. This is just to get you warmed up.

Hillary, if you’re reading this, thank you for telling us about green smoothies! Spinach in our house has never been the same.


4 Responses to “How to Get Your Toddler to Eat Spinach”

  1. Hillary May 17, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    I AM reading it! 🙂 Glad you guys them so much! And I’m glad that you drink them = you’ll be super duper healthy = we can hang our FOREVER……….(I don’t have any cool graphics but I would do a monstery looking ‘muahaha’ right here if I did. 😉

  2. Lisa May 18, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    mmmm! we love these!! the only difference is that we use OJ instead of a whole orange, then we also add blueberries or strawberries. strawberries and bananas seem to be the all-time fave in our house. 🙂 oh, and sometimes i add plain yogurt, too.

  3. Jenna May 18, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    We do this too with blueberries. The color is kinda yuck though. Will have to try the Monster Juice moniker.

  4. Maria May 25, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    Monster juice is awesome!! the ONLY way Liam eats anything green… we tried it with some beets too and he liked it!
    Thank you Karen!

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