I go through periodic health phases where I exercise a lot and eat really healthy for a short while before I fall off the bandwagon. During one of these seasons in my life, I bought fresh baby spinach. I don’t remember my reason why, but since that day long ago, I have continued to buy it. I have learned to use this healthy veggie in many different ways and since it’s often hidden, my kids can’t taste it. Sure, they can see it, but they have no clue what they are consuming or how healthy it is for them! My greatest achievement with spinach is being sneaky with it! It’s almost like a game now 🙂
I have always known that spinach is ridiculously healthy. However, when I started researching its health benefits, (for my lovely readers and to prove my point that everyone needs to eat more), I never knew how fantastic it was! I mean you might as well be eating pure health!
Basically, you can find almost every health benefit in spinach! It is low in Saturated Fat and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, and Manganese. (Source)
Now if that alone that doesn’t convince that you need this superfood in your diet, keep reading!
Spinach provides you with powerful antioxidant protection. It can protect you against inflammatory problems, oxidative stress-related problems, cardiovascular problems, bone problems, and cancers at the same time. A study on adult women living in New England in the late 1980s also showed intake of spinach to be inversely related to the incidence of breast cancer. Intake of spinach has been associated with decreased risk of several blood vessel-related problems, including atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. All of these vitamin K-related mechanisms point to the importance of vitamin K-rich foods for bone health, and it is difficult to find vegetables that are richer in vitamin K than spinach. (Only kale provides more micrograms of vitamin K per cup.) (Source)
Personally, I think that the biggest downfall is the taste and I do not like it cooked.
Here are my favorite ways to sneak it into my family’s diet:
1. Lunch meat sandwiches/Hamburgers
If you put lettuce on your sandwiches or hamburgers, substitute it for fresh spinach. It’s still green and has the same texture as lettuce. No one will be able to tell a difference!
2. Spaghetti Sauce
Whether you make your spaghetti sauce from scratch or a jar, it’s always better with added veggies. I love adding onions and peppers to mine. Recently I started adding baby spinach. I add it right at the end and let it cook for just a few minutes longer. No one can taste it! It gives your sauce a nice pop of color too. If you want, you can chop it up even smaller so it’s even less noticeable.
3. Fettuccine Sauce
See # 2.
4. Smoothies/Homemade Popsicle’s
It may be getting colder outside, but this past summer Pinterest was overloaded with a smoothie and homemade Popsicle recipes. Whatever your favorite recipe is, just add a hand full of fresh spinach to your blender.
My favorite smoothie recipe is a few ice cubes, coconut milk (or any type of milk), vanilla yogurt, whatever fruit I can find in my house, and spinach. I never measure these ingredients but you can experiment with what tastes good to you. For Popsicle’s pour the blended smoothie (omit ice) into Popsicle molds and freeze.
5. Mixed Vegetables
Whenever I make a bag of mixed vegetables I always add a hand full or two of spinach at the end. There are so many different flavors that it just belongs in there. And poor spinach, it is never included in those frozen bags.
6. Breakfast Wrap
Eggs, sausage, bacon, cheese, peppers…whatever ingredients you enjoy in a breakfast wrap, just add spinach!
Spinach goes great in soups and especially in chicken broth based soups! Just add it at the very end.
Layer noodles, spinach, sauce, meat, cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, repeat.
I saw this great recipe for tilapia served with artisan lettuce. I didn’t have any artisan lettuce so I used fresh baby spinach instead. It was delicious!
Now I’ve let you all in on my deep dark secret of how I trick my family into eating healthy muwahahaha
How do you get your family to eat healthily?
More great ideas: