How Can You Include More Green Vegetables In You & Your Children’s Eye Health Plan?
As discussed in my previous blog, Which Foods Help Sustain Eye Health, vegetables play a major role in optimizing eye health. As a parent, it’s tempting to hide veggies in a multitude of recipes and not speak about the ingredients. But, I learned early on the importance of facing Truths instead of being secretive. I want our children to know what they are eating and why they are eating certain foods. Yes. I add veggies to different recipes, but I also discuss the ingredients I used to make the recipes. Sometimes I feel like I am taking the hard route. But what sustains me is the hope that I am creating an informed desire within my children to eat nutritious foods.
When Cam was still using a high chair, one day, I fed him a plate of fresh spinach served with ranch dressing, and nothing was left on the plate. Unfortunately, the judgment of our food and the desire for sweet treats often creep in, and our children (and us, too) eat everything on the plate but the veggies. When you mix in fear that our children are missing out on key nutrients, sometimes we end up forcing them to eat their veggies or avoid serving them at all.
There are so many ways we can add green vegetables to our foods. Cam continues to consume many vegetables, but our daughter keeps testing my creativity. So here are a few ways I keep vegetables in my family’s health plan.
1.Instead of using bread, use lettuce to make sandwich wraps. One day, I made our son a turkey pastrami lettuce wrap, and he told me the sandwich tasted better than one made with bread.
2. Kale chips. Wash and dry Kale, and caress it with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). Sautee on low heat in a pan until crisp. The process usually takes 10 minutes, or you can bake the Kale at 250 degrees. Flip and check every five minutes until crisp.
3. Spinach cream cheese dip. I either make it in the food processor, bake in the oven, or make stove-top. Combine eight ounces of cream cheese with 1 cup of plain yogurt. Next, Add 1/2 cup of low-fat mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese. I add garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of salt. Optional: Add sliced artichokes. Bake 350 for 20–30 minutes until slightly brown on top. Serve warm with cut-up pieces of toasted bread or Simple Truth Tortilla chips. In the initial picture ( 2018) is my son eating the below spinach dip. This is the same boy who told me he doesn’t like onions and garlic. Now Cam eats many different foods with bell peppers, garlic, onions, and the like, including my breakfast burritos, lasagna (which are below), and spaghetti.
Sometimes, we have to modify tradition and focus more on nutrition. For example, you can have bacon and eggs or cereal and fruit with sautéed kale or spinach. Some other ways to include greens with meals include salads for breakfast, kale or spinach stir fry, kale or spinach quesadillas, and alternating greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard) and others with sandwiches, wraps, and others.
Often, I make almond milk, banana, spinach, and strawberry smoothie. I use approximately three cups of almond milk, 1 ripe banana, 1 cup of frozen strawberries, and a handful of fresh spinach. The riper the banana, the sweeter it is. The bananas and strawberries help blend in the spinach taste. Serve immediately.
You have heard that it can take up to 21 days to create habits. Keep trying past the 21 days. Your health and your children’s health are worth every piece of energy, money, and time. And when you make that delicious recipe with veggies, explain to your children how you incorporated delicious and healthy vegetables into your masterpiece. So often, when we change our thinking and how we share information, we create the shift we need to sustainable health!
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