S is for spinach. This nutritious powerhouse is loaded with a wide range of vitamins, micronutrients and fibre. Unfortunately this leafy green is often a dreaded mealtime presence for little ones given its slimy texture when cooked. I sure remember dreading the boiled slimy spinach that we used to get at school.
The great thing about spinach is that it is very versatile and can be eaten fresh in salads, made into bliss balls, added to smoothies, baked items like muffins and quiches, in omelettes, wraps, sandwiches as well as gently wilted and served with meats, bolognese sauce, pasta and other vegetables. It can also be added to fresh juices (mixed with carrot and apple, to make it more alluring for little taste buds!)
So don’t despair if your kids aren’t spinach converts yet – the possibilities with this leafy green are endless. It is very “sneak-it-in” friendly.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Spinach originated in Persia.
- Spinach is scientifically known as as Spinacia oleracea and it belongs to the amaranth family – a close relative of quinoa.
- Spinach is Popeye’s favourite food!
- Centuries ago, artists extracted green pigment from spinach and used it as ink and paint.
- Just half a cup of spinach counts as 1 portion of your 5 recommended minimum daily fruit and vegetable intake.
- Spinach leaves have mild diuretic and laxative qualities.
WHY IS SPINACH SO GOOD FOR YOU?
1- Spinach is rich in carotenoids, which the body turns into vitamin A – great for promoting eye health.
2- A great source of vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that promotes overall skin health and immune function.
3- Spinach contains a good amount of Vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting. Just one spinach leaf contains over half of your daily need of vitamin K… a great reason to be indulging in the leafy green!
4- Spinach is rich in iron and folate, or vitamin B9, which is essential for normal cellular function and tissue growth. This makes spinach a great dietary choice for pregnant mums.
5- Spinach contains good amounts of calcium, which is essential for bone health, the nervous system, heart and muscles.
6- It also contains several other vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, and vitamins B6, B9 and E.
Below we have a fun spinach food craft idea, as well as a delicious, simple and gluten free recipe for Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip. They are fun ways to celebrate spinach, to talk about their texture, their taste and why they are so good for us and important in our diets!