Even the kids will love them….

I recommend a plant-based diet for all children and their families. So many of the chronic medical issues affecting American children today, such as obesity, overweight, constipation, acne, high blood pressure (yes we are seeing this in kids now!), and iron-deficiency anemia are linked to consumption of meat and dairy. A plant-based diet helps treat all of these issues.

Having said that, I will confess that we are not salad-eaters in our family. Nope. There are so many ways to eat plant-based that does not translate to eating rabbit food in a cold sad bowl. Using microgreens is one of my favorite ways to get more plants into our household diet.

What are they?

Microgreens are basically young seedlings of vegetables and herbs, usually produced in seven to fourteen days. They are young and tender leafy greens harvested at the first true leaf stage of growth. Some of the varieties of microgreens include broccoli, arugula, cilantro, buckwheat, adventurous mix, mizuna, and leeks.

Are they safe?

Microgreens are grown in soil, not in water like sprouts. E. coli and Salmonella contamination have been linked to sprouts because of their greater propensity to bacterial growth. This is not an issue with microgreens, which are also much less likely to be contaminated in the field or during storage or handling.

Are they tasty?

Yes! This has been totally researched and most people prefer the taste of vegetables in their microgreen state, specifically from local farms such as Culver’s very own Hole in the Woods Farm.

What is the nutritional value?

While all plant foods contain antioxidants (remove waste and may prevent disease), vitamins (such as C, E, A, and K), minerals (such as calcium and iron), and fiber, data shows these nutrients are found in higher concentrations in microgreens. Research is still ongoing, but some recent studies show that the vitamin and mineral levels in microgreens exceed those of full grown vegetables by FORTY times. So you get more bang for your nutritional buck when you eat vegetables in the microgreen state vs the full grown size.

Where are they?

Microgreens are available through Hole in the Woods Farm, the local vendor at The Culver Farmer’s Market. HITWF will have microgreens available during winter market!

OK, I promised recipes and ideas on how to get the pickiest kids to eat microgreens and here they are:

  • as a garnish for salads, soups, flatbreads
  • to add nutritional value to a juice or smoothie
  • as topping to my Zucchini Bake
  • add a handful as a topping to my Green Pizza and to the cashew-based pizza sauce
  • as a side to any main dish, just flavor it with olive oil and lemon juice
  • to add flavor and color to any casserole
  • as an alternative to lettuce in tacos or a burger or sandwich

I use them in recipes for:

Cashew Cream Cheese

Kale and Microgreen Pesto

If your child is a member of Culver Pediatrics Center and you’re interested in learning more about a plant-based diet, text at the members-only number me to receive more information and to schedule a discussion. If your child is not yet part of the Culver Pediatrics family, sign up in the email opt-in below to learn more about our boutique pediatric services.  

Resources:

Microgreens with Big Potential

Health Benefits of Microgreens

Antioxidant properties and sensory evaluation of microgreens from commercial and local farms

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