Kale is one of the trendiest vegetables right now.
Even though it isn’t a traditional “kid food,” knowing that kale is an over-achiever in the nutrition department (it’s packed with vitamins K, A and C and also has quite a bit of fiber and then some), I decided to keep an open mind and give it a go with my two-and-a-half-year-old.
Though kale is typically offered up sauteed in various forms, I thought a less intimidating way to introduce it to my family was through kale chips. My daughter certainly isn’t a stranger to the concept of “chips,” whether literal potato or tortilla chips, or other “small bite” forms, such as crackers, fruit slices, etc. Plus, she could decide to eat it hours or days after the night’s dinner had gotten cold.
Though the generic kale chip recipe is really simple – pieces of kale baked at a relatively low heat (around 275 or 300 degrees) for 20 minutes after being tossed with olive oil and salt, the blogosphere is full of ideas on how to season them, giving you endless options on how you can introduce…and reintroduce this simple recipe to your family.
After all, it’s not a superfood until your kids actually eat it!
Verdict: Success! After warily eying the bowl of kale chips for a few hours, I was pleasantly surprised when my daughter put a crunchy/crumbly kale chip into her mouth.
Lukewarm acceptance is a “win” for me at this point! She isn’t exactly requesting it daily, but I’ll take it.
The key is repetition/repeated exposure.
- Hype up a food before introducing it. For example, I told my daughter a few factoids about kale, told her it started with the letter “K,” and that there were many types, including some varieties with purple and one that called dinosaur kale. How cool.
- Try, try and try again. Some experts say kids need to be exposed 15-20 times before they try a food. Don’t be hurt or discouraged if your child refuses to try a certain food at first. Just keep presenting it to them, and in as many forms as you have the time, energy and patience to create.
- Fill your home with fruits & veggies. One study I came across in Appetite found that the more fruits and vegetables parents purchased, the more willing a child was to taste fruits or vegetables offered to them.
A few other kale recipes I’m considering to help kale make a reappearance:
What are some of your favorite kale recipes for kids?