It may end with Halloween, but October is officially Spinach Month. We share four reasons kids (and grownups) should eat lots of the iron-rich veggie. Plus four recipes that’ll blow them down!
October is Spinach Month, and whether you’re a kid or a cartoon sailor, there are plenty of reasons to make it an anchor of your diet.
There’s a reason Popeye relied on it. High in iron, which is good for red blood cells and energy, spinach is worth its weight in gold. This super food packs a wallop of vitamins, minerals and even protein. And it is affordable to boot.
Yeah, we know it’s not always an easy sell with the little ones. But the benefits of spinach make it worth an effort. Following are four reasons we found to fit the leafy green into your kids’ diets, followed by four super fun recipes designed for kids (and adults).
Strengthens bones: One cup of raw spinach carries 181% of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin K, which is Important for maintaining bone health. “It is difficult to find vegetables richer in vitamin K than spinach,” reports the BBC.
Protects against asthma: People who eat lots of beta-carotene have a lower risk of developing asthma, according to Medical News Today. And spinach is rich in this nutrient – a ½-cup serving carries 230% of the recommended daily amount.
Fights brutes like cancer: Spinach is chock-a-block with flavonoids. These protect the body from free radicals that steal electrons from healthy cells. Researchers have identified at least 13 flavonoid compounds that help prevent cancer and other diseases, according to Naturally Healthy Eating. It also is high in vitamins A and C, which reduce free radicals for a healthier heart.
Good for the eye-geye-geye-geye-geyes: Spinach includes a nutrient call lutein, which guards us from macular degeneration (blurry vision) and other eye diseases. Some research shows lutein is better absorbed into our bodies when prepared with a little good fat. Perhaps some Olive Oyl?
Speaking of preparing spinach, following are four easy recipes that are kid-approved and quick. One tip: When cooking with fresh spinach, better underestimate what you need. It has a lot of water in it so it shrinks a good deal when cooked. Good luck!
Not your Wimpy smoothie bowls: This recipe from Super Healthy Kids combines frozen pineapple, bananas and spinach with milk. Mix it all up in a food processor and decorate with dried fruits, nuts and seeds to make spooky Halloween faces.
I yam what I yam: Technically, yams and sweet potatoes are not the same, but we can’t resist a good pun. The sweet potato and spinach frittata by CookSmarts was designed not only for kids to like, but also for them to help prepare. The veggies can be prepped days in advance. Tip: nuking the sweet potatoes saves cooking time.
Finich the spinach balls: Great for lunch boxes as well as after school, these portable bites require just a few steps before baking. Roll a mixture of thawed frozen spinach, breadcrumbs, cheese and eggs into bite-sized balls and the oven does the rest. Thanks for the recipe, Momables.com!
Swee’Pea macaroni: Here’s a 20-minute dish that combines spinach with rich cream, peas and macaroni. And (bless you, SavoryNothings.com) you only have to clean one pot. If you want to cut back on high-calorie cream, substitute it with Buttery Garlic Vegy Vida. It’s 100% all natural, additive free and with healthy ingredients including olive oil.
We know it can take a little work to get your kids to come around to veggies like spinach. But if you have it in easy-to-grab snacks in the fridge or on the table, kids are more likely to try them. And when they do, try not to make a fuss. After all, they are what they are.