We eat kale and a lot of other sturdy greens in my house, and not everyone has always readily accepted them as a near daily part of our diet. My 8-year-old Isabel used to only want romaine lettuce in her salads while my 6-year-old son Dashiel used to prefer salad above everything else, but claims he doesn’t even like salad. And my 4-year-old daughter Sabine has been known to just be stubborn all around, especially when it comes to the greens on her plate at dinner. So when Sabine asked what we were having for dinner tonight, I only expected her to react the same way.
“What’s for dinner?” seems like an innocent enough question, yet it’s one that can make or break the next hours that are spent preparing a meal. If there is even one part of your answer that is unacceptable to your child, you can be in for a difficult evening! Generally, I like to use a strategy I picked up in Jenny Rosenstrach’s latest book, “Dinner: The Playbook.” She says that no matter what, when asked, “What’s for dinner, Mom?” say “I don’t know.” This diminishes any time and energy on the kids’ part to ruminate on what they won’t like about the meal. I find this strategy incredibly helpful, but tonight, for some reason, I totally forgot about it.
I matter-of-factly told Sabine that we were having a kale salad, spaghetti carbonara and roasted broccoli. In the past Sabine has been my pickiest eater but thankfully, that is beginning to shift, and in that moment she actually exclaimed, “We’re having kale salad? Yes! We’re having kale salad!” It may not always be the case, but tonight, she was excited–and so was I! So, we prepared the kale salad together; I chopped and mixed dressing while Sabine tossed in shredded kale, toasted walnuts, shredded pecorino cheese and dried cherries. She happily presented it to the rest of the family and, pretty soon, everyone was enjoying it.
Want to find more ways to get some greens into your family meals and Soup Club soups? Here are some possibilities. Give them a try!
- Caldo Verde, a Portuguese soup of kale and potatoes.
- Almost any soup, add some chard or spinach in at the end.
- Rice Salad, add in some finely julienned greens to toss in with the rice. Finish with nuts, herbs, dried fruit and a citrus dressing.
- Top pizza with some spinach or add into omelets or lasagna.
- Keep it classic and make a big green salad. You can always prepare extra greens ahead of time (clean and dry them and store in the fridge up to a few days) so that it’s that much easier to put a salad together in the moment. Just wait to dress the greens right before serving.
Invite your child to help you in the kitchen when you’re preparing dinner. Everything seems to taste better when made with love and shared with those you love, right?
What type of greens do you serve in your house? Share your tips and ideas for incorporating greens to recipes in the comments below!