When I talk to parents, they often ask, “how do I get my children to eat vegetables?” This is why we are challenging families to incorporate one veggie per month into their weekly menu. We’ve already covered broccoli, and this month the focus is on spinach!
Spinach is such a versatile vegetable. It can be eaten raw, like in salads and sandwiches, or cooked in a variety of ways. It can also appeal to different taste buds, depending upon how you prepare it or what flavorings you add. It’s a good idea to experiment with recipes to make spinach more appealing to your family. This took time for my kids, but now they love spinach sautéed with lots of garlic and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.
Spinach is also super nutritious! It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, including, vitamins C, A and K; potassium; iron and calcium, just to name a few. It is also a great source of fiber and helps keep you full for fewer calories.
Here are some tips from parents for including more spinach in your meals:
- Make it part of a main dish or use with other favorite ingredients, introducing a little at a time. “We like to add it to scrambled eggs – my kids love them,” says Charlie, dad of two. “When we add spinach, it cooks down so that they don’t really notice it.”
- Put a handful in your fruit smoothie for a nutrition boost. “My kids have smoothies a few times a week.” says Content, mom of two. “I usually throw in a cup of spinach, some frozen or fresh fruit, a little yogurt and milk!”
- Stir it into dishes such as pasta, rice, soup or other dishes. “You can make or buy tater tots with chopped spinach mixed in,” says Sarah, mom of two. “They can even come in dinosaur shapes – what child wouldn’t want to eat them?”
- Use it as a salad base and add yummy toppings. “We make salads with baby spinach (remove the stems) and add strawberries, mandarin oranges, mozzarella cheese, nuts or seeds and raspberry dressing,” says Content, mom of two. “My kids also like to help me make this salad!” Here is a similar recipe for your family to try.
Experiment with these simple spinach recipes:
- White Bean and Spinach Gnocchi
- Garlicky Sautéed Spinach
- Creamless Creamed Spinach
- Simple Spinach Fish Bake
Remember to keep mealtime fun and treat new recipes like an interesting science experiment. Of course, modeling good behavior when trying new dishes yourself will also help overcome children’s doubts. It may not happen right away, but over time, persistence pays off!