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Spinach Health Benefits & Our Favorite Spinach Recipes

I decided to jump on Veggie Bud’s Blog February Veggie of the Month Spinach!  Spinach is a powerhouse vegetable and I decided it would be fun to teach my children about it and how good it is for their bodies.  I challenged us to eat it everyday in a different way for a week.  I am sharing with you all we learned along with how we enjoyed it for our week and some other fun and favorite recipes.

Summary of Spinach Health Benefits

  • Eating spinach is beneficial for maintaining healthy and strong bones thanks to its large amount of vitamin k and potassium. 
  • It is aids in healthy skin, hair and a healthy immune system thanks to Vitamins A and C. 
  • It helps protects agains eye diseases thanks to an antioxidant called lutein
  • Lastly it has a large amount of folate which is important for making red and white blood cells which aids in our growth and giving us energy.  

These are the major benefits it also has fiber which aids in digestion has other benefits as well but those are the major ones.  Spinach also supplies smaller amounts of both iron and magnesium, calcium, along with smaller amounts of other B vitamins.  Three cups of raw spinach provides just 20 calories, no fat, 2 grams of protein, and 3 grams of carbohydrate with 2 grams as fiber.

 

More on Spinach Health Benefits

  1. Bone Supporting from the large amount of Vitamin K & Potassium: 
    1. Contains a large amount of Vitamin K which the body uses when building bones.
    2. Spinach also contains high levels of potassium which aids in protecting against loss of muscle mass and the preserving bone mineral density.
  2. Healthy Skin and Hair from high levels of Vitamin A & C:
    1. Vitamin A which moderates the production of oil in the skin pores and hair follicles (moisturizes the skin and hair).  It also aids in the growth of all body tissues which includes skin and hair.  
    2. Vitamin C is crucial for maintaining collagen which provides structure to skin and hair.   
  3. Heart Health from potassium and nitrates:
    1. We already covered that it contains high levels of potassium which aids with muscle mass but potassium is also good for lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease. 
    2. The nitrates in baby spinach also help to keep your blood pressure under control, which can help improve heart health.
  4. Eye Health from lutein:
    1. Carotenoids in spinach, namely lutein and zeaxanthin, give the vegetable its color. They can also help to keep your eyes healthy and reduce your risk for developing eye diseases (age-related macular degeneration) and cataracts).
  5. Healthy Immune System from: 
    1. Antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta carotene, and chlorophyll can all help to boost your immune system, which allows your body to fight infections more effectively and stay healthy.
    2. Vitamin A & C which both support immune function
    3. Full of flavonoids which protect the body from free radicals that steal electrons from healthy cells. 
  6. Energy & Cell Building from Folate: 
    1. Folate is a B-vitamin and is needed to make red and white blood cells which convert what we eat into energy and maintain the genetic building blocks of the body (DNA and RNA). 
    2. Especially important for kids because
      1. Kids especially need red blood cells because they produce a lot of energy to run, play sports, etc…
      2. They go through rapid periods of growth 

Favorite Ways to Eat Spinach

My kids like it most pureed into foods – I would say their top 3 choice are: smoothies, chocolate spinach energy bites, and spinach cookies.

  1. Green Monster Smoothie

We have this smoothie almost every week and sometimes multiple times a week.  It is a staple as a part of breakfast or a great mid morning or afternoon snack (especially in the warmer weather).

Kid Friendly Green Monster Smoothie - Photo

2. Simple Salad with Spinach, Avocados & Tomatoes – toss with olive oil and salt (this was Day 1 of our challenge – I wanted to start with it in its whole form)

3. Spinach Pesto – (Day 2 of challenge) 4 out of 5 members of my family love this.  I find it is doesn’t have as strong as a taste compared to basil pesto which is why I think my children like it so much.  We use it with a variety of grains, pastas, gnocchi and on chicken and fish.

Spinach Walnut Pesto - photo

4. Spinach Oat Cookies – (Day 3 of challenge) These are a recently new recipe and a big hit.  They are perfect as a part of breakfast or a mid-morning or afternoon snack!Easy Spinach Oat Cookies - Photo

5. Spinach French Toast Sticks – (Day 4 of challenge) my children were very hesitant on this, but realized you cannot taste it!  Here is the original recipe idea.  I used my Sheet Pan French Toast Recipe and pureed 2 cups (handfuls) of spinach into the milk.

6. Peanut Butter Banana and Spinach Smoothie (Day 5 of Challenge):  This is a top favorite – Combine 1 banana, 1 cup of milk of choice, 1 huge handful (about 1 1/2 cups) of spinach, 1-2 tbsp of peanut butter and ice in a blender.

7. Chocolate Spinach Energy Bites (Day 6 of Challenge): This has become the new favorite!

Chocolate Spinach Energy Bites - photo

8. Banana/Apple Spinach Muffins (Day 7 of Challenge):  We love these for breakfast or snacks! They are gluten and dairy free adaptable and have no added sugar.

Spinach Banana Muffins - photo

 

9. Salad Ideas: Fall Harvest Salad & Strawberry Summer Salads: not kid favorites but they eat it deconstructed!

10. More Smoothies: Spinach Mango & Creamy Avocado Green Smoothie

11. Spinach Turkey Burgers: Only the Adults in our house eat these

12. On Sandwiches: only the adults in our house like spinach this way

13. In Egg Muffins: only the adults in our house like spinach this way

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