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I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with good ol’ spinach. When I was a kid, I would beg my parents to buy me canned spinach so I could be like Popeye, even though I had tried it a million times and thought it was terrible. Guess what? It was still disgusting every single time. Now that I’m a grown-up and have to do things like pay my bills on time, take care of myself and eat spinach, I still kind of love and hate it. I know it has major health benefits (read any list of “foods you should eat every day” and this superfood is guaranteed to rank at the top), but sometimes I would almost rather go eat grass from my back yard… Okay, I said almost. I’ve learned ways to conceal my leafy greens so I can reap the benefits without completely hating my meal. Here are my favorites!
1. Smoothies: You probably saw this one coming, but lots of folks still haven’t boarded the green smoothie train. Climb on, friends! It is hands down the easiest way to throw back some spinach without the taste. My favorite combination is a handful of spinach, some chia seeds, almond milk, a frozen banana, cinnamon, Greek yogurt and honey. You can replace the banana with almost any fruit (although anything with color will make it look pretty inedible, in my opinion). My go-tos are light-colored fruits like mangoes, peaches and peeled apples. Check out Skinny Mom’s Green Monster Smoothie below:
2. Wraps: Grab some Flatout® wraps or whole-wheat tortillas and you can go to town concealing spinach. I like to make either pizza-style wraps with marinara and melted mozzarella, or hummus-based with turkey and veggies. Create one you love and top it off with greens! Using a dressing or topping (like marinara or hummus) will help hide the taste. If you’re packing your lunch, tightly cover your wrap in foil to help compress the veggies and save the dressing for when you’re ready to eat.
3. Make your favorite meal a salad: Hang with me, here; it’s better than it sounds. Have a beloved meat-based dish? Throw it on a bed of spinach! My personal choices are shredded buffalo chicken or some variation of a ground turkey skillet. You can either bump up the spices in your recipe a notch or top off your plate with a drizzle of dressing if you’re still afraid of the leafy green monster.
>> Recipe: Tandoori Chicken and Spinach Salad (pictured below)
4. Add some eggs: Omelets and scrambled eggs are easy meals to add spinach to. Sauté it with your other favorite veggies for any time of day! Don’t forget how much spinach wilts — be sure to put more in the pan than you think you’ll need. Since cooked spinach loses some nutritional value, you’ll want an extra handful or so anyway.
5. Quinoa bowls: Add your spinach to a hot quinoa bowl to help it wilt a little. Mix in some protein like chicken or black beans, some more veggies and dressing or lemon juice; you’ve got a great, balanced meal that you’ll actually enjoy!
>> Recipe: Quinoa Spinach Parmesan Risotto (pictured below)
Now, go get your greens on!