Pollution. Plastic. Toxins. Sugar. And more.
There is much that prevents our tiny monsters from being the best they can. And we can’t wish it away. But some practices can alleviate the symptoms. The first of which is clean eating.
Microgreens are the fancy looking green garnishes we see on Masterchef and other such shows on TV. A raging #foodfad globally, the demand for microgreens is slowly but surely catching up in India too. To understand microgreens better, littlefooddiary.com caught up with microgreens activist and founder of The First Leaf, Swati Jain.
LittleFoodDiary (LFD) and Swati (SJ) discussed about Microgreens, their popularity in India and very importantly, the benefits of microgreens for kids.
What are Microgreens?
LFD: Hi Swati, thanks for agreeing to talk to us. Let’s start with the basics, what are Microgreens?
SJ: Microgreens are tiny, edible versions of everyday veggies and grains that we eat.
LFD: Can you list some of the popular Microgreens?
SJ: Sure. Broccoli, wheatgrass, cabbage, cucumber, radish, rocket, mustard, pakchoy, kohlrabi, cauliflower, mizuna (Japanese mustard), basil….
LFD: Are these seasonal?
SJ: Excepting cucumber which needs the summer heat, most other microgreens do well around the year.
LFD: So tell me, how did you start your microgreens journey?
SJ: I am vegetarian, and two years back, in a bid to improve my dietary intake I started researching high nutrition foods. Moreover, as a new mom I was increasingly concerned about what our toxic environment was doing to my child and I needed solutions to combat that. Microgreens really stood out as a possible answer to both my concerns.
I started experimenting and growing microgreens in my balcony at home for my family. Soon, I was growing them for friends and neighbours. And finally, The First Leaf was born.
What are the Benefits of Microgreens?
LFD: Nice. So what are the Benefits of Microgreens, especially for kids?
SJ: The best thing about microgreens is that these micro herbs are literally nutrition bombs. So for example, broccoli microgreens have 40-50 times the benefits per bite compared to its full sized version. And we all know that adult broccoli itself is great for improving immunity and keeping bones and teeth healthy (very high in calcium).
LFD: Wow! Could you list down some key benefits of different microgreens for kids?
SJ: Sure. Let’s look at everyday maladies that kids face and the microgreens that can help.
- Seasonal sniffles & flu: Red Cabbage, Sunflower, Kale
- Immunity: Rocket, Pea, Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Chia, Mizuna
- Strong Bones & Teeth: Amaranth, Sunflower, Broccoli, Pakchoi, Kale, Chia, Sesame, Mizuna
- Digestion: Flax, Basil
- Vision: Pakchoi, Amaranth, Mizuna
- Combating pollution: Mustard, Broccoli
Also, many microgreens (if cleanly sourced) can potentially be lifelines for recovering cancer patients, for example, mustard & beetroot. They build the body’s immunity and reduce the side effects of radiation treatment.
LFD: Can all plants be ‘microgreen-ed’?
SJ: Most, yes. But there are some like rajma and chillies that are actually toxic in their miniature form. Other cautions include not having amaranth if suffering from gall/kidney stones and to always consume wheatgrass in the juiced form.
LFD: So how can we find out about the right microgreens to grow/consume?
SJ: I suggest you start with some research online. The best way to learn about microgreens though, is to start ordering from me or other microgreens producers. Attend workshops to understand the process of growing microgreens, how to source the right type of seeds for the starter kit, etc. I often take workshops across Delhi NCR myself. In fact I find it a better medium to educate and interest people in microgreens than simply selling my wares.
How can we get Kids to Eat Microgreens?
LFD: Microgreens sound like the solution to a lot of parental travails! But do kids actually eat these oh-so-green micro herbs?
SJ: A very effective hook for kids is that they can actually see microgreens grow and tend to them. Microgreens grow quickly and need to be harvested daily to get the best out of them. So, Grow Micogreens with Kids and see how they lose their inhibitions about eating green herbs.
LFD: Thanks for the informative discussion, Swati! Getting these superfoods for kids on the table is definitely on my mom to-do list.
SJ: I am sure your daughter will love them.
Where Can I Buy From?
Delhi NCR customers can get a first-time buyer discount from The First Leaf microgreens! Drop us a line here to collect your discount code.
Enjoyed the article? Stay tuned for kid-friendly recipes with microgreens, coming soon!