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How to make your children eat Swiss chard: a tutorial

Swiss chard sounds and looks like a scary vegetable. It is big, unusual and unknown. But it’s so packed with great vitamins and minerals that you really need to include it in your child’s diet. The list of powerful nutrients in Swiss Chard has 23 vitamins and minerals (for example, one cup of cooked Swiss Chard contains 700% of your daily value for vitamin K, 200% of your daily value for vitamin A, and 50% of your daily value for of Calcium).

General preparation instructions include removing the tough, woody stem, then cutting it into one-inch strips. Overcome your fear of this strange vegetable by incorporating it into your child’s diet in a few of the following ways:

  • Chop it finely and strain it into green salads
  • Swiss chard wilts like spinach when cooked, so add it to any stew and it adds beautiful color along with all that nutrition.
  • Add a handful of chopped Swiss chard to soups, even canned ones. Just add it to the soup before heating and it will wilt when you serve the hot soup. If you’re making a homemade soup, add Swiss Chard in the last five minutes of cooking.
  • Serve as a garnish for dinner by boiling a bunch of chopped Swiss chard, then serving it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. It really is a delicious dish!
  • Prepare it with a little flair by sautéing a bunch in a skillet with a teaspoon of oil and two crushed garlic cloves. Add salt and pepper to taste, and you won’t believe what a fancy dish you have!

Finally, here’s a recipe I modified from Bobby Flay, which my kids ate without a second thought:

Swiss chard, zucchini and tomatoes

1-14 oz. can Mexican-style or Italian-style diced tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed with the edge of a knife

2 sprigs of fresh thyme, or ½ tsp. dried thyme

1 pinch of red pepper flakes

1 small butternut squash – you’ll want about 2 cups of butternut squash

1 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and chopped

Crumbled Pecorino, grated Romano, or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Pierce the squash with a knife (do not peel yet) and microwave until soft (about 10 minutes). Let cool for 10 minutes. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and scoop out the pulp into a bowl. Add the garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes and blend. Then add the Swiss chard and tomatoes and mix until just combined. Pour the vegetable mixture into an 8X8 casserole and microwave an additional 5 minutes, or until the chard has wilted slightly. Top with cheese and serve hot.

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