A few years ago (2008), Jessica Seinfeld came out with a cookbook called Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food. At the time, as a brand new parent (my son was four months old), I was quick to judge. “Good for her, but I will never be that parent,” I remember telling myself. “My kids will learn to eat spinach and broccoli and beets and fava beans because they’re delicious and healthy.” Well, four years later, here I am: hiding vegetables and vitamins not only in my kids’ food, but in mine too. In short, I do this because it works.
I’ve made peace with the fact that getting vegetables and vital nutrients into my body is the most important thing; how they make it in is a secondary consideration. Soups, smoothies, and fresh-pressed juices are my go-to modes of transportation, as they’re easy, relatively quick, and usually equally liked by kids and adults (my husband now always adds spinach or kale to his smoothies). If you’re not already doing this, here are some nutrient-packed ingredients I add to my smoothies (not all at once). My usual “base” is banana, frozen mixed berries and almond milk:
- Spinach – Packed with vitamins A, C, E, K, magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium, potassium, folic acid, copper, phosphorus, zinc niacin, selenium, omega-3’s and more! Add a handful of spinach, and you will barely taste it!
- Kale – Chock full of vitamins K and C, beta carotene, and calcium. Kale sometimes alters the texture of the smoothie a bit, but I’ve learned to like it.
- Avocado – Lots of vitamin E, K, B, potassium and fiber. Adding avocado makes smoothies super creamy…yum.
- Flaxseed – Rich in omega-3’s and antioxidants. Much easier way to get omega-3’s than cooking salmon!
- Chia Seeds – After being introduced to chia in the book Born to Run, I decided to give it a try. It’s full of omega-3’s, and athletes claim it increases energy. It takes a little getting used to, as when the seeds are mixed with liquid, they expand and take on a gummy texture. Oh, and if this is all new to you, these are indeed the seeds that grow in the famous Chia Pet.
If soups sound better than smoothies this time of year, here are a few veggie-rich ones that I like to make:
Red Lentil Soup with Lemon (I add lots of spinach to this)
How do you pack more vegetables into your day? If you have any smoothie-boosting ideas, please share them!