S is for Spinach
Spinach is a leaf vegetable in the same family as beets and Swiss chard. You can eat spinach either raw or cooked. Both the stems and the leaves can be eaten. There are many kinds of spinach; the most common is Savoy. Spinach can be crinkly, flat leafed or with leaves with a red center.
Spinach is a good source of many vitamins and minerals. It has a lot of iron, which is easier for your body to absorb if you eat it with something that has vitamin C, like orange juice or tomatoes. Spinach is also a good source of fat soluble vitamins, so make sure you have something containing a little bit of fat with your spinach – a vinaigrette with olive oil or a smoothie with some plain yogurt are both great pairing options.
Spinach is an easy addition to lots of dishes. It’s great in any type of egg dish, stirred into your family’s favorite pasta, a quick and easy pizza topping (on whole wheat crust!), or just added to a salad for an extra pop of green.
Try adding it to a smoothie! You can use fresh or frozen spinach, which makes this super easy and convenient. Smoothies are a great use of frozen fruits, making them a great, affordable option that’s quick to prepare and pack for an easy morning. These two recipes are sure please the pickiest of eaters – one uses the vibrant color of berries to disguise the green spinach, and the other puts it on display, for those lovers of bright, novel food colors!
The not-so-green smoothie:
Healthy Berry and Spinach Smoothie (serves 4) adapted from allrecipes.com
- 2 cups frozen berries (any kind. Red berries like strawberries, raspberries, and cherries will give you the brightest finished color)
- 1 cup plain yogurt (NOT nonfat)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup fresh or frozen spinach
- 5 strawberries (can be fresh or frozen)
- Blend berries, yogurt, orange juice, spinach, and strawberries together in a blender until smooth. You may have to add a little more liquid, depending on the thickness of the mixture.
- Serve immediately.
The very green smoothie:
Mango Pineapple Green Smoothie (serves 2) adapted from allrecipes.com
- 2/3 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 1 cup frozen mango chunks
- 1 ripe banana, sliced
- 2/3 cup fresh or frozen spinach
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- Place pineapple, mango, banana, spinach, and orange juice in a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add a bit more orange juice, depending on the thickness of the mixture.
- Serve immediately.