Learn the best ways to serve greens to kids with easy, kid-friendly recipes and cooking tips. With ideas from muffins and pancakes to pasta and tots, these greens are the ones the kids will actually eat!
Greens for Kids
Getting our kids to eat their greens often feels like the holy grail of modern motherhood. But greens like spinach, kale, and lettuce are just some of the vegetable options we can offer, not the only ones. And while I 100% do not think that our kids need to be eating a steady stream of kale to be healthy, it can be fun to find ways to offer them greens that they like.
I try not to make a big deal out of any one nutrient, and I recommend that you do the same, and instead simply make these delicious recipes with greens as part of your regular meals. Because they’re great for kids and adults.
It can help to have the kids help make a recipe so they can feel in control of what they’re being offered. Or you can explore the ingredients in the grocery store or at the sink as a way to engage with them without pressure. Even learning what the names of greens are can be a great place to start.
Your toddler won’t eat? Help is here!
Sign up for our email updates to get tips and ideas sent to your inbox.
Quick Tips for Greens for Kids
- As with food for adults, try to make sure that the food tastes good before serving it to kids—so actually taste it to make sure it’s not bitter or bland.
- Add a little salt, cheese, sauce, or dips to help make it more appealing for your own child’s taste buds.
- Recruit the kids to help make a recipe, if you have time, so they get familiar with the ingredients (this can help reduce anxiety about being served green foods).
- Remember that green foods are only one option and it’s okay if it takes some time for the kids to learn to like them.
Spinach Pesto Pizza
When blended with cheese, sunflower seeds, and lemon juice, spinach turns into a perfect topping for pizzas or pasta—and is also packed with nutrients that you want your kiddo to eat with glee. This is a staple in our house—we make extra each summer and freeze it to use throughout the rest of the year.
Spinach Banana Muffins
Sweet Green Spinach Muffin with Banana are a super healthy and yummy toddler or big kid breakfast or snack. Each bite is packed with nutrients from greens and fruit and the interior is so moist that even babies can enjoy these easy blender muffins!
Spinach Banana Pancakes
These sweet Banana Spinach Pancakes are a Sunday favorite when you’re looking to boost nutrition in a favorite breakfast option. Or to have a little fun at the breakfast table by serving up a colorful meal!
Simple Green Smoothie
Start the day with a Simple Green Smoothie that’s designed to taste good and be easy to make—so it’s not too thick, includes accessible ingredients, and is sweet enough to help kids enjoy every sip.
Quick, easy, and super cheesy, this is a simple way to serve greens to toddlers. You may be surprised but this is often a big hit with one year olds!
Spinach Pesto Pasta
This whole dinner comes together in about 20 minutes and has veggies and protein already in the mix so you don’t even need to serve anything with it!
Kale Pesto Pizza Rolls
These Homemade Pizza Rolls with Pesto are one of my favorite family recipes to keep on hand in the fridge or freezer for quick dinners, especially on nights when the kids have activities. They have a veggie right in the mix and the cheese and pizza flavor make the whole package a bit hit with the kids!
This packs a nutrition punch and is delicious on pasta and pizza.
Pack your next batch of freezer pops with fruits and veggies with these super simple—and so sweet!—Blueberry Greek Frozen Yogurt Popsicle Recipe with spinach!
Cheesy Kale Bites
If it’s a challenge for you to serve greens that your child will actually eat, you’re going to love today’s recipe for Cheesy Baked Kale Bites. They’re packed with nutrition and are delicious when reheated so they are great to make ahead.
Mexican Egg Muffins with Spinach
These Mexican Egg Muffins with Spinach are one of the ways that we like to turn eggs into a quick and easy meal that is easy for even the littlest eaters to eat.
Simple Chocolate Smoothie
It can be hard for some kids to learn to enjoy smoothies, so meeting them where they are with a simple Chocolate Smoothie can help introduce the food group in a way that’s not too alarming. And this version even has hidden veggies inside!
Green Smoothie Freezer Pops
If you have a toddler who’s not a fan of smoothies, or you just want a new way to serve up a green smoothie, try these freezer pops!
Spinach Grilled Cheese
We’ve made this in the summer when we have extra kale from the garden and a concentrated scoop is great for adding to smoothies, eggs, or even pasta.
These are one of my favorite ways to power up a classic kid food. The simple spinach-cheese spread comes together in a food processor and is super delish—and it makes the spinach easy to chew for the little ones. (My husband loves these too, which is always high praise!)
I’d love to hear your feedback below in the comments, so please chime in!
This post was first published April 2019.