Spinach Smoothie

Adding leafy greens into your or your child’s diet may seem like a challenge.  Everyday Chef and Everyday Kids are here to tell you that it’s not as hard as it looks!  Getting a variety of leafy green vegetables into your diet is extremely important.  These veggies minimize the risk of cancer and heart disease because they are so low in fat and so high in dietary fiber.  Leafy greens also contain tons of nutrients, vitamins, and enzymes, including iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins K, E, and C.  Greens are great for those with type two diabetes, as well, as they are low on the glycemic index and  high in magnesium.  Eating plenty of leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel better (they’re high in antioxidants, which boost your immune system), but they will also keep you younger for longer (phytochemicals in greens prevents cell damage and increases eye health). Ok, I think I’ve made quite an argument as to why you need to add more greens into your diet.  – But maybe you or your child don’t like the taste of greens in general.  There is quite an easy solution to this!  Start making “green smoothies” for breakfast every morning – you will not be able to taste the green ingredients because they are masked by the fruity flavors you love – but you’ll still enjoy all of the benefits.  Below is a recipe for a delicious spinach smoothie, but be be sure to seek out other smoothie recipes for different types of greens (kale, chard, etc.), as variety is key!  Trust me, you can get very creative.

Ingredients: 1.5 cup water 1 ripe banana, peeled 1/2 cup frozen strawberries 1 cup of fresh spinach

1. Add the water first, then the banana into a blender. 2. Follow with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. 3.  Enjoy!

Make sure to blend everything very well so that there aren’t bits of spinach floating around.  If you’re making this for a child who is afraid of anything green, feel free to add more strawberries or blueberries to the mix!

Microgreen Gardening

There are only two weeks left of March until Spring !  Besides being a spring-baby, this time of year is one of my favorites because of the rainy, fresh smell in the air, watching the flowers and trees bloom, and most of all I love the increase in availability of fresh local fruits and veggies.  If you are getting a bit impatient with the wait and are craving something “springy” and new for your salad, why not try to grow a bit indoors? Growing microgreens are a fun, healthy, fairly cheap, and super easy gardening (and eating) activity.  All you have to do is decide which greens you want to grow – maybe mesclun, cilantro, kale, mustard, arugula – the list goes on! You really can pick almost anything because you are going to be harvesting your vegetables at a young age, when all of the nutrients are packed into those little sprouts. Try something you’ve never had before and let the taste be a surprise.  After you pick your seeds the next steps are quite easy.

You can start growing in a plastic recycled container.  These can be restaurant take-away containers or feel free to go and buy one at your local hardware or garden store- just make sure whatever you pick fits well on or by your windowsill so that your plants get a good amount of sunlight.  A bit of drainage in whatever you choose is beneficial.  You can easily punch a few holes on the bottom of your container and make sure there is something underneath to catch excess water (maybe the lid!).

Then fill up your container with some good-quality soil and mix in compost if you have it, about an inch or so away from the top.  Sprinkle your seeds over the surface of the container.  Try giving seeds an 1/8th or so of room in between each one if you can.  Sprinkle a bit of soil on top of your seeds (another 1/8th or so inches deep).  Water your seeds well to help them start germinating.  As your plants grow, keep the soil moist but not dripping wet.  In 10-15 days you can cut your plants for eating.  When you cut is essentially up to you but the earliest should be when the plant’s first true leaves start to pop out.

Unfortunately, after you harvest your microgreens they will not grow again from the same seeds since they are only sprouts.  However, after harvesting you can reuse your soil and start with new seeds.

Happy growing!

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