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Food for Thought: Spinach

Food for Thought | rashon

Spinach is one of those superfoods that can be used in so many ways. You can eat it raw as part of a delicious salad, it can be wilted for an easy and quick side dish, you can add it to smoothies for a nutrient boost – really, it’s one of those foods that can be a part of just about any meal. If you think you don’t like spinach, I suggest trying some different preparations to see if you find a way that you like to eat it. I happen to love the flavor, both raw and cooked, but it’s also easy to sneak it into things – especially for the kiddos.

Spinach is a nutrient-dense food, with a slightly bitter, slightly salty flavor. It is an excellent source of Food for Thought - Spinach | rashonvitamin K, vitamin C, vitamins B1, B2 and B6, carotenes, folic acid, magnesium, manganese, iron and vitamin E. That’s a lot of nutrition packed into those little green leaves!

Spinach has been part of medicinal lore for centuries. Historically, spinach was believed to restore energy, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood. Given that it’s loaded with nutrients, those beliefs make sense. Spinach actually contains twice as much iron as most other greens.

Spinach is also alkaline, so it helps to balance the pH of our bodies. It is one of the richest dietary sources of lutein, which helps to promote good eye sight and prevents macular degeneration and cataracts. Researchers have identified at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach, including chlorophyll and carotene, that act as antioxidants and also protect against cancer.

Spinach is one of the best sources of dietary nitrates, which are heart protective. You can read more about that in this post about dietary nitrates.

How to Incorporate: Spinach

  1. Spinach is excellent on its own as a salad base, but it’s also delicious mixed with baby kale, arugula, beet greens, chard or other dark lettuces for salad.
  2. Wilt spinach with some onion, garlic and a squeeze of lemon for a quick side dish.
  3. Add spinach into smoothies for a quick nutrient boost.
  4. Add a handful of spinach to your eggs in the morning for an extra dose of veggies.
  5. Use thawed, frozen spinach (squeeze out the extra water!) in egg muffins or egg casseroles.
  6. Pureé spinach and mix with eggs for a fun green eggs and ham dish for the kiddos. They’ll be so excited about green eggs, they won’t even know they are also eating their veggies!
  7. Add several handfuls of spinach to any sautéed veggies or stir fry.
  8. Throw a few cups of spinach into your favorite soup to add some texture.
  9. Add it into your favorite tomato sauce and serve over spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for a veggie packed meal.
  10. Use it instead of lettuce on your burgers and sandwiches.

Just a little note that spinach is high in oxalates. If you are prone to getting kidney stones, you may not want to go overboard on the spinach. Some may need to avoid it altogether.

Also, eating spinach with a little healthy fat (butter, olive oil, coconut oil) and a little acid (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar) helps your body better absorb all of the nutrients it contains!

Easy Wilted Spinach (serves 2)Food for Thought - Spinach | rashon

5-6 cups spinach leaves

1/4 cup onion or shallot, diced

1 Tbsp. garlic, minced

juice of half a lemon

1 Tbsp. olive oil or butter

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, optional


  1. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil or butter to pan. Sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic and heat until fragrant – just a few seconds.
  2. Add spinach to the pan, and toss to coat with oil or butter and mix in the onion and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Spinach will only take a minute or two to wilt, and will continue to wilt once you take it out of the pan, so cook just until it starts to wilt, and transfer to a plate.
  3. Transfer spinach to serving bowl, squeeze lemon juice over the spinach and top with pine nuts or pumpkin seeds if desired. Enjoy!

This is a great, fast side dish to go with any protein. Spinach cooks down quite a bit, so always start with what looks like way more spinach than you actually need!

How will you be incorporating spinach into your diet?

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