Get Your Greens!

Dark leafy greens are one of the most important vegetables we can include every day for optimum health. Kale, chard, collards, spinach, arugula, bok choy, dandelion greens, rapini and mustard greens are some of the main types we can buy and even grow most of the year here in British Columbia. There are also many wild harvested greens that have been part of the traditional indigenous diet for centuries, like stinging nettle and wild watercress. Always ensure you know which wild plants are edible and how to harvest and consume them safely.

Many greens, especially kale, can be frozen so that the harvest bounty can be enjoyed through our colder months. Some greens like to be quickly blanched, for 30-60 seconds, in boiling water to prevent them from breaking down and discolouring in the freezer. But kale can also be washed, dried and packed tightly into a zip-seal or vacuum-sealed bag from the raw state. You can also buy greens like kale and spinach already frozen. Look for sales at the grocery store so you can stock up. Check the ingredient list for just the greens and no added salt, sugar or other preservatives or flavourings.

Get kids involved in preparing the food if possible to give them an opportunity to feel, smell and possibly taste the greens before they’re added. Even children as young as 1 or 2 years old can tear up leafy greens with their hands.

Here are some easy ways to add more greens each day:

•    Add frozen chopped kale to salmon, tuna, egg or chicken salad or even mashed potatoes.
•    Add fresh or frozen spinach to a smoothie, scrambled eggs or any type of pasta dish. It can even be pureed and added to baking to make fun “Shamrock” or “Goblin” muffins.
•    Add any dark leafy greens to a soup or stew. Even a canned/packaged variety can be ‘souped up’ with added vegetables and legumes. Consider reading the story “Stone Soup” to encourage them to try it.
•    Make our Simple Sauteed Greens for a tasty side dish for any meal.
•    Grill bok choy or kale (keep them in full leaves/large pieces) that have been marinated for an hour. Try Asian flavours for bok choy like garlic, ginger, tamari and sesame and for kale, try garlic, lemon, olive oil and yogurt.
•    Add spicier arugula or mustard greens (in smaller quantities) to a salad for a little kick! Or crunchy Romaine lettuce—kids often love the texture and milder flavour.

For more information and ideas check out the below link: