How I Got My Kids to Eat Kale

I was gonna call it, "How To Get Your Kids To Eat Kale" but thought better of it.  Because kids–they're a mixed bunch.  You just never know.  Still, if you want your kids to eat kale and they don't eat it, you're welcome to try my technique.

Time was when Nat had leafy greens daily.  Remember Green Supper?  Ah the golden days of baby and toddlerhood!  These days, I sneak frozen spinach into mac and cheese, spaghetti sauce, under the cheese on the pizza–otherwise they'd never get greens at all.  (Selina might, but she suffers from second child syndrome and typically gets whatever Nat's getting, thus fewer greens than Nat got at her age.)

Anyway, I have some kale in one of my back porch window box planters.  It's a variety called "perpetual spinach" because it's mild and can be used as a substitute for spinach,but is easier to grow and just keeps going all season.

I have cut it, cooked it, served it raw–none of these things got a thumbs up from the kids (they did from Cole and me, though).  Instead, they'd chew it, spit it out, play with it, toss it on the floor and otherwise waste this awesome fresh green that should be in their little bodies fighting oxidants and making them super girls.

Until they were playing outside while I picked it.  "I want a leaf!" declared Nat.

"What?  This kale?" I asked.

"Yeah, the kale!" she said.  I gave her a baby leaf.  She gobbled it down.  "I want anther one!" she begged.

By now, Selina was at my ankles, whining "Me too!  Me too!" (her perpetual battle cry).
I stood there pulling them off one leaf at a time until my kale was cut back to the roots.  They ate it with gusto.  About every three days, I get enough mature leaves to repeat this and so far, they haven't caught on to the fact that this is the same thing they have rejected on a plate time and again.

Kale.  The new Ice Cream Truck.

Give it try with yours and let me know how it goes!

10 responses to “How I Got My Kids to Eat Kale

  1. This is how Curious Girl eats sorrel! Kids and their food preferences are so fascinating.

  2. Yep. The Snapper will come to the garden with me and eat ANYthing raw off the plant. It’s so much fun and so interesting and so not like sitting at the table (boring!).

  3. Zach pulls leaves off the kale plants in the garden frequently and gnaws them to bits. Won’t eat ’em at home, though. He’ll also usually eat some of whatever we get at the farmer’s market, but only while we’re there or on the way home, not once it’s home. Weird kids.
    Though, have you tasted raw kale that’s just been picked? It’s quite a bit sweeter and tastier than a little while longer or after it’s been cooked. Maybe they’re onto something.

  4. They probably are onto something. I remember now that Nat used to sit in her stroller and eat a raw onion whole–like an apple–on the walk home from the CSA pick up when we belonged to one.
    The garden eating is really charming, but the trouble is, now Selina thinks you can pick and eat anything that’s growing anywhere. I have to watch her like a hawk. Nat too, actually.

  5. What a fantastic discovery!

  6. Well good for the girls, then! That’s how I see it! The only problem would be, I guess, that some things need a chance to get going before they’re ripped off. Sounds like so much fun anyway :)

  7. Have you tried crunchy kale? Apparently if you bake kale in the oven until crisp it’s sort of chip-like. I will probably give that a try when my kid inevitably starts rejecting greens.

  8. Cool! Never heard of it. I’ll definitely give it a try. I can usually fool Nat into thinking something is a really special treat–at least once. And Selina will do anything Nat will do.

  9. N does the same thing with herbs… the only thing we are growing. She loves to snack on parsley and sage.

  10. My four-year-old will try anything I’m eating….so long as I don’t offer him any.

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