The HRM Parent March challenge is to eat a new green veggie every week. For those of you whose kids aren’t eating this one yet, let me introduce you to one of my old faithfuls: Spinach!
One of the mildest of the dark leafy greens, this one packs an awesome nutritional punch and is easy to slip into many of your family’s go-to recipes.
Here are a few reasons why your family should be eating spinach:
– Spinach is a great source of ﬁber;
– 100 g of fresh spinach contains about 25% of our daily intake of iron, which is an important trace element required for red blood cell production;
– Spinach is a rich source of anti-oxidants vitamin A & C;
– Spinach also provides loads of vitamin-K;
– This leafy green vegetable also contains good amounts of the B vitamins B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (B1), riboﬂavin, folate and niacin;
– 100 g of fresh spinach contains almost half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that supports immune function;
– Spinach leaves also contain potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc, and are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids; and
– Regular consumption of spinach helps prevent osteoporosis and iron deﬁciency anemia.
How do you get your kids to eat spinach? Easy. Finely chop it and add it to anything. I always add about 2 cups of raw, pre-washed organic spinach to our family smoothie in the morning. I chop it up and add it to stir-fries, soups, and stews, and rarely leave it out of tomato sauces. You can use it in the place of basil to make a delicious pesto, or as a base to any salad. I also often saute a cup or two with a little garlic, olive oil and some cherry tomatoes as a side to our eggs in the morning.
St. Paddy’s Day is Saturday! Here are a couple of simple ways to “green up” your family’s breakfast and avoid the artiﬁcial food colours:
– Finely chop or puree a cup or so of raw spinach. Add it to your family’s scrambled egg mixture for natural “green eggs”;
– Combine a banana, two cups of skim milk or milk alternative, a handful of spinach, a couple of ice cubes and a dash of vanilla for a healthy green “shamrock smoothie”. Trust me, they’ll never know the spinach is in there!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, HRM families, I trust you are all enjoying a wonderful March Break!
Wendy McCallum, LLB, RHN, is passionate about providing busy parents with the tools & support they need to feed their families wholesome food, so everyone can play, learn, and feel better! She is a mother of two terrific HRM kids, aged 7 &8. For information and recipe ideas, visit her website.