How to Introduce Chard to Toddlers
Chard is one of my go-to veggies because I get it in my CSA during the fall and at the farmer’s market from September to June! If you are unfamiliar with chard, chard tastes similar to spinach, and it is packed with vitamins A, C, K and iron. A lot of parents I work with in feeding therapy want to introduce green veggies like chard to their children, but they are not sure which textures will please their child’s temperamental palate. Here are three successful ways I introduce chard to toddlers in feeding therapy.
Replacing Spinach: Use chard instead of spinach in your favorite homemade recipes. Got a great vegetarian lasagna, stir-fry or other recipe that calls for spinach? Try using chard instead! Since chard cooks slower, replacing it for spinach will require a few additional minutes of cooking time.
Breakfast: Try using chard in omelets, egg muffins, skillet scrambles and breakfast crock-pot recipes. Eggs and chard taste great together and it is an easy texture for kids to chew. I have even made huevos rancheros with chard! If you are not familiar with this classic Mexican breakfast, it is fried eggs on top of hot corn tortillas with red or green salsa, and sometimes beans or vegetables (like spinach or chard) are added. When you slice into the dish, the yolks break and cover the mixture...making it simply delicious!
Hot Salad: Chard can be placed in stews, sautéed, creamed and eaten raw in cool salads. But my favorite way to eat chard is in a hot salad (yes - a hot salad!). I’ve had plenty of kids turn their nose up at me when introducing chard in other textures and temperatures, but this hot salad is a success every time. I’m sharing my family recipe for chard and hope you all learn to love this green too! Note – in the pic we used rainbow chard. Yum!
Ms. Dawn’s Hot Chard Salad Recipe
1 bunch of chard (any color)
3 tbsp olive oil
4 oz container of feta cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease a glass pan with oil
3. Cut and separate the chard stems and the chard leaves
4. Cut chard stems and onion and mix in a bowl with 2 tbsp olive oil
5. Place the chopped stems and onion into the greased pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper
6. Place the chard leaves in a bowl and mix with 1 tbs of olive oil
7. Bake the stems and onions for 15 minutes
8. Remove the pan from the oven and add the chard leaves. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
9. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Enjoy!
How does your family prepare and eat chard? Send us pictures of your child eating chard using the hashtags #ezpzfun and #myezpzmat!
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).