Today we’re going to talk about how to get your kids to eat more spinach. Getting your kids to eat their leafy greens would have to be the hardest thing to do as a parent. Okay, I might be being a little over dramatic there… Childbirth was probably harder… But that’s in the past. The leafy greens battle is ongoing and never ending….
This month I’m focusing on how to get your kids to eat more veggies. We started with cauliflower, then zucchini, last week was sweet potato, and now we’re up to spinach (yeah I decided to end with a big one).
Health Benefits of Spinach
Ok, so we all know spinach is healthy. But exactly how healthy is it? Is it really worth the ongoing battles?
Let’s take a look at 1/2 cup cooked spinach:
It contains nearly 1/4 of your child’s daily magnesium requirements, 1/3 of their daily folate needs, nearly 1/3 of their daily vitamin C, 3 times their daily vitamin A requirements, and 7 times their daily vitamin K requirements.
Spinach also gives a boost of iron with 2mg of iron, although unfortunately it’s one of the higher oxalate vegetables, and these can make it harder for the body to absorb minerals like calcium, iron and zinc.
So, yeah, it’s probably worth trying to get some into your kids. But how do you do it?
Tips to Get Your Kids to Eat Spinach
There are very few people that I know (child or adult) who will happily sit down to a big bowl of steamed spinach. But it’s ok, because there are other ways to get the to eat it!
Frozen Spinach: I always keep frozen chopped spinach on hand. I throw it into just about everything I cook. It works really well in curries and stews, even bolognese, and other mince dishes. Trust me, I put it in everything.
Baby Spinach: Baby spinach is much milder in flavour. It doesn’t quite pack the nutrition punch of normal spinach, but if your kids will eat it then I see it as a win! You can use baby spinach wherever you’d use normal spinach. I normally have a bag in the fridge at all times, and I just throw it into whatever I’m cooking.
Smoothies: A great spot to hide spinach for fussier kids is in smoothies. I normally steam spinach (or kale) and then divide it up in zip lock bags and freeze it. Then I throw a bag in when I’m making a smoothie. You can even skip the steaming step if you use baby spinach. Just rinse and freeze. (Note, I don’t recommend using the already frozen spinach, because it normally comes with a warning that it needs to be cooked first).
Baking: You can also throw spinach into any muffins or breads that you bake. Don’t feel like you’re limited to savoury baking, though. You can definitely throw some spinach in your next batch of chocolate muffins! Try it, I dare you! I normally blend it into whatever liquids I’m adding. That way you don’t have huge spinach leaves for your kids to fish out.
Recipes with Spinach for your Kids
I’m sure you’ve seen the famous super green spinach muffins around. Well, I’ve veganised that recipe (because most of them were packed full of eggs and butter). You can grab it here. Feel free to consider the amount of spinach in the recipe as a starting point, and just add as much as you like!
My youngest loves tofu scramble, so I (of course) throw in some extra greens whenever I make it. You can grab the recipe for my Extra Greens Tofu Scramble here.
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Grab my guide to the top 4 nutrients for vegan kids below.