It’s green, it’s leafy and it tastes good in Superhero Green Smoothies. Kale recently was a hit at Seymour-Redding Elementary School.
The school celebrated national Food Day on Wednesday by introducing its breakfast-going students to Superhero Green Smoothies containing kale. Seventy-seven percent of the more than 120 students who tried it voted that they “loved it.”
“I’d have to say it was a success,” Molly Marshall, nutrition specialist with Reach Healthy Communities, said while looking at the results.
Food Day focuses on celebrating healthy, affordable and sustainable foods. The focus throughout the year is how food is grown and the processes and procedures of growing foods in gardens, all culminating Wednesday with the Food Day event.
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Marshall was one of the organizers for the event aimed at promoting new types of food to students across the country.
“Kale is very versatile. It is also an excellent source of vitamins, A, C and K,” Marshall said.
The group chose kale smoothies from a variety of kid-tested recipes, including kale chips, kale pasta and others.
Kale also can be added to smoothies, muffins, cookies and bread to make them more nutritious.
“Kale on its own is a little bitter, and we added fruit and spinach to even it out. The smoothie has yogurt in it, too, so it’s pretty smooth,” said Stacey Driver, registered dietitian with the school district.
Driver said the green color also was a hard sell at first to students.
“Any time you serve something green, it’s not a perfect choice,” she said.
Driver said they got around that by creating hype in the weeks before the event, posting signs advertising that “Kale was coming” and the arrival of “Superhero Green Smoothies” for trial.
“The event is all about expanding their palates so they make healthy choices as adults,” Marshall said.
The group chose a food that could be locally attained, and the kale used at the Redding breakfast was planted in August to harvest in October at the community garden at Margret R. Brown Elementary School.
The kale was planted at Brown as part of a gardening project at the school, though local kale can easily be found at farmers markets and farm stands, Hoosier Harvest Market and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Indiana Grown Program website.
Additionally, kale can be grown at home even if a garden isn’t available. A six-square-inch container can grow a single kale plant.
Kale is best grown in rich soil, high in organic matter, in direct sunlight during cool weather. It is a hearty plant and can even survive a light frost.
This was the third year for the Food Day event.
Last year, Reach Healthy Communities focused on turnips. Students across the state grew turnips, participated in taste tests to decide on recipes and tried their favorite recipe using turnips.
The first year featured sweet potatoes.
The group will be continuing it next year, too.
Superhero Green Smoothies
1 cup baby kale
1 baby spinach
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup diced pineapple (frozen)
1 cup diced mango (frozen)
1. Tightly pack greens into measuring cup and add to a blender.
2. Add yogurt and pineapple juice. Blend until all leafy chunks are gone.
3. Add mango, pineapple and bananas, and blend again until smooth.
4. Pour into a glass, and get ready to earn your superhero powers.
For information about Food Day, visit foodday.org.