Even in these days of kale topping the charts for the trendiest food, it can be hard to convince young children that greens are delicious. And even though my children are growing up on an organic farm where kale arrives in the kitchen in crates, they still go out of their way to avoid greens. Yes, they love kale chips, but I need a few more ways to get them eating their fall greens.

My children recently started in a new school where they have a “local lunch” program. Last week, I brought a large salad from our farm including lots of chopped raw kale and bok choy. This is the type of salad I would have a very hard time selling at our dinner table, but I figured that it is always worth a try and the staff would enjoy it if not the children.

My son did not know I brought the salad, and on the way home from school, he said, “At lunch I ate some salad with the other kids; it was good.” I realized then that a change in context can be a help. Apparently other kids were eating the salad, and that little bit of influence helped him to enjoy his own farm greens with his friends at school.

My daughter also seemed to love greens more when they arrived at school. In fact, she made a bit of a show of munching large leaves and telling her classmates how much she loves to eat greens from her farm. She was quite convincing even though she would never do that at home.

Of course, we know social influence can easily swing the other way, and there are plenty of times that that has happened, too. In fact, just last week, my son came home from a playdate and announced proudly that he and his friend “snuck inside and got Diet Coke that prickled his nose.” Yikes!

As parents, we do the best we can to model healthy eating and help our children make good choices. But given that children are most influenced by each other, Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to promote a few new healthy foods among groups eating together, either cousins around large family tables or school children at their school “feasts.”

The fall vegetables that are traditional for Thanksgiving provide lots of opportunities for child-friendly recipes. Getting children involved in the preparation of food such as washing and tearing greens, tossing salads and suggesting recipe variations can also be a huge help in sparking interest.

Inspired by my good luck with the salads, I am going to try to introduce healthy food to my children and their cousins this Thanksgiving, including oven-baked sweet potato fries, kale chips and even a big bowl of chopped green salad with fun optional toppings like pumpkin seeds and pomegranate.

My hope is that I can help sway the influence of other children toward some healthy choices at Thanksgiving at least for a few minutes before they hit the dessert table.