Sneaking in the Produce

Boy with green smoothie flexing musclesMy kids love fruit. I love fruit. My wife loves fruit. But, here’s the weird thing I have learned as a grade school teacher for the past eighteen years… not everyone loves fruit. And, lots of kids (adults, too, for that matter) aren’t too keen on veggies.

The thing is, I like to think of myself as a healthy eater, a good parent, and a rather good dancer (mostly late 80’s/early 90’s hip-hop). So, I know the importance of making sure my daughters both eat their fair share of produce. When they were young, we called blueberries “power buttons” (you know, what with all the oxidants and everything) and the girls literally ate it up.

But our problem was not so much fruit. We had vegetable issues in our home. The girls would eat carrots on occasion. One liked tomatoes (technically a fruit, though), and the other was a red pepper eater. That was it. No spinach, no onions, no broccoli, no cauliflower. Beets are out of the question. Turnips and celery… no go!

So, we have found over the years a few tricks to get the produce back into their diets. The first is the “smoothie sneak.” Because my girls love fruit, they also love fruit smoothies. So, with the frozen pineapple, bananas and strawberries we throw into the blender, I also sneak in some raw spinach and carrots. The spinach has virtual no flavor in the drink, and the carrots’ sweetness adds to the mix. They never know what hits them.

Our second secret is the “sneaky pasta sauce.” My wife makes her own pasta sauce, and when she does she throws spinach, broccoli, carrots, and onions into the food processor. These little guys become undetected when thrown on some noodles with a few turkey meatballs.

And, finally, not so much tricky, but a way to get the girls to consume more of the green stuff, we make kale chips in the oven. There are many different recipes all over the internet, but we just go the simple route. Spray the leaves with some olive oil, sprinkle on a bit of sea salt, stick in the oven until crispy. The girls cannot get enough.

Nutritious food is important for our children’s good health, but food should be fun. When it’s not, now you have a few ways to make it so.

Written by: Leon Scott Baxter, America’s Relationship Guru


About the Author

Leon Scott Baxter is known as America’s Relationship Guru. He is the author of three books on love, romance and relationships, and is the founder of Baxter is also the father of two girls and has been a grade school teacher since 1997. His latest book is about raising happy, successful children. Join him at His favorite foods are kale chips, fruit smoothies and his wife’s pasta.

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