Every once in a while I am doing something that is a part of our semi-regular routine and I think “Thank goodness someone told me about this”.
It is usually about the simple things. For example, my sister stores all of her Sharpie markers well out of her kids’ reach. Lock those things up with the medicines and bleach, people. They can do some damage to your walls and furniture. So why store them in the easily accessible junk drawer with the rest of your pens?
She also keeps her kids’ water cups in a lower cabinet in the kitchen so they can get to them and don’t need her to do it for her. I mean- so simple. But genius, right? No need to jump up from that captivating blog you’re reading when your child wants a drink of water! Just yell over your shoulder- “You know where the cups are- get it yourself!” See?
Here’s my not-quite-as-simple-but-still-pretty-genius thing: spinach in smoothies. I’m not sure where I first heard of it. I certainly did not come up with the idea on my own. But once I tried it I was hooked, both for me and for my kids.
My kids are not ones who ask for kale chips at snacktime. They are, I think, pretty standard in that they’d always gravitate toward mac and cheese if I continued to present it to them. I know I have a responsibility to work toward my kids’ eating vegetables and healthy foods. But sometimes I can try my darndest and it really amounts to nothing. They just won’t eat them when they are on their plates. I’m not a fan of huge face-offs at the dinner table. Philosophically I don’t like it, and also because by 6:30 that is usually not where I want to put my remaining energy.
Further, I really only know one person who is a grown adult and still never eats vegetables. So I’m not worried that they’ll never eat vegetables if I don’t teach them how right now. But I don’t want their bones to wither up because they’re not getting any vitamins whatsoever.
Blah blah blah let me cut to the chase. Make smoothies for yourself and your kids for breakfast and add raw spinach to the mix. Baby spinach has such a low taste to it that if you mix in a banana you won’t even taste it. Seriously. I make them with a base of milk (whole milk has great protein content), then add a banana and whatever frozen fruit I have. Blueberries are good if you’re trying to disguise the green of the spinach. Frozen peaches are good too, but only if they were frozen nice and ripe. Otherwise I don’t think they have much taste. Looking to cut down on food waste and save money on groceries? Cut up your just-a-little-too-ripe bananas and store them in your freezer for smoothies, rather than pitching them. I usually serve it to Monkey in my daughter’s sippy cup, since he’s not too smooth with the old cup and straw quite yet.
I put a good sized handful in there and my kids will pound their smoothies. I cannot get my son to eat a single spinach leaf in its’ raw form on his plate, but in a smoothie he’ll enjoy a ton of it. That makes mealtimes more enjoyable for me- I can present the vegetables to them and encourage them to taste them, but not worry too much if they aren’t interested or don’t eat but a single pea or something.
They’ll learn to enjoy their vegetables over time, but in the meantime they’re getting the nutrients they need without me having to coax, threaten, and force. Throw a gummy vitamin in there and I’m pretty sure I’ve got my bases covered until the day they start requesting kale chips.
Here is why this post is called “More about spinach,” by the way.
Finally, if the idea of hauling out the entire heavy blender every morning is not that appealing, consider an immersion or stick blender.
We bought ours at Bed Bath and Beyond (with a coupon, of course) for less than $20. I use it to make smoothies for myself and the kids and it is a heck of a lot easier to clean than the big blender. Especially when you don’t have a dishwasher. We’ve had it for two years and it is still going strong.
I really feel like I am a wealth of information and tips today.
Any other simple things I should know about? That Sharpie thing makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?