When it comes to getting my kids to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, I couldn’t get either of my older boys to eat a strawberry if it was last thing I had in the fridge. Presenting mushrooms or asparagus to them holds about as much appeal as a night with nothing to but homework to do, and my toddler is horrified to see corn in any form. In essence, we all have our feeding issues, but fortunately for me getting greens into my kids is not one of mine.
I use spinach, kale and Swiss chard interchangeably, and find that removing the thick inner stalks, and cutting the leaves into thin ribbons, makes for easy eating. If you remember, I’ve always had a few tricks up my sleeve for getting my kids to eat (and like!) kale, and now I’ve added another one to the mix: seasoned kale chips. At the time I told you my kids weren’t fans, and to this day that remains mostly true with my teenagers, but my toddler is a completely different story.
He loves these crispy, seasoned little green leaves and munches on them enthusiastically, regardless of whether they accompany dinner or are served as a snack. It took a few attempts to get him completely on board—he kept telling me they tasted like ‘skin’, which I can only conclude is him associating them with the skin of an apple, something he isn’t all that crazy about.
However, after the third or fourth attempt of making them together (such a key step in getting kids to try new foods!) he seems to happily be on board. We just call them chips now, and that seems to satisfy him immensely.
We don’t really follow a recipe per se, but do include a secret ingredient: nutritional yeast. I know, I know, the name alone sounds so unappealing, and I wish it could be called something different. Are you familiar with it? It’s often referred to as ‘Nature’s Cheeto Dust’ because it adds a cheesy-ish taste to whatever it gets sprinkled over. Some people add it to popcorn, vegans use it to make ‘cheese’ sauce, and it can be used in much of the same way you might sprinkle grated cheese on something. Low in calories and high in protein and Vitamin B, it’s a bit of an acquired taste but one that works really well with salt and olive oil and thin strips of kale.
Here’s how we make them: wash and dry a bunch of kale (Tuscan works best) and tear into bite-sized pieces. Rub with olive oil and salt and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes, or until crispy.
Are your kids crazy about kale, too? Do you think you could convert them with this recipe?