Kids, Kale, and Other Stories

24 March, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Kale, Patience, and Persistence

As anyone with kids knows, hell, as anyone with a mouth knows, they just don’t like some foods that you know they should like.  And you might now either. You try it.  You don’t like it.  You try it again. You still don’t like it.  You know that you should eat more plants and less processed food.  More natural, less chemical. More green, less white.  But, golly, the premade, carb-heavy, partially hydrogenated whatsits can taste so delicious!  But more and more they leave you feeling a little dirty.

What to do?  How do we eat better given our means and limited time?  How do we coax our kids into loving the good stuff? Step by step, friends, step by step.  At least that’s how I approach it. I used to hate kale.  I mean really.  Kale represented all that I should like and didn’t.  Heck, it’s purported to stave off cancer, to lower cholesterol, to give you almost unheard of levels of life-giving phytochemicals.  Kale possesses elevated levels of vitamin K and lots of C and A. HOWEVER.  To me the texture seemed leathery. The taste was strong and tannic.  If it was raw, it squeaked against my teeth when I chewed it.  Cooked, it seemed bitter.  But I kept trying new recipes.  We were never going to eat it morning, noon, and night, but once or twice a week? That wouldn’t be a bad idea.  I want my kids to learn to eat well, but if I couldn’t convince myself, they’d certainly continue the yuck faces and refusal to eat it.

New recipes.  New techniques. Not every week, but periodically.  And little by little, we all started to, maybe not love it, but tolerate it.  And then we started to sort of like it.  And now, two years or so later, we enjoy it.  There’s no dread when it’s set on the table, in fact, there’s curiousity about what’s in it this time.  Will this happen with everything we know we should like and don’t?  Nah, but it’s heartening. 

So what did I do? 

  1. I served it about once a month
  2. I tried a new preparation, one that included ingredients we already liked (avocados, apples, white beans, sausage, and so on) each time.
  3. I made relatively small quantities, increasing the size as we started to enjoy the kale more.
  4. I took the wins (“Hey!  This isn’t so bad!”) and losses (“Um.  I had a bite.  Do I have to eat the rest?”) in stride.  
Oddly, weirdly, we all started to like kale.  While the kids don’t – thus far – love kale, they like it; they eat it uncomplainingly.  And I love it.  And I love that they like it.
So here’s the favorite kale recipe.  It’s fun and quick to make. 
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