Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sneaky Mama - Getting Kids to Eat Spinach

Mother's and their children have been fighting the war over healthy eating since the beginning of time. Lucky for us, we as parents, have one major advantage over our children: we are better liars. Jessica Seinfeld gives some great suggestions in her Deceptively Delicious cookbooks, but I have found all of that to be a bit too much trouble for me and not very much to my tastes flavor-wise. The idea though is genius! What I've done is concentrate my efforts on one highly nutritious super food that kids absolutely refuse to eat - spinach. I like spinach because it is easy to use, takes on the flavor of most foods, and looks just like any seasoning when chopped up.

I've found, the best way to use spinach in recipes is if you start from frozen. This way you can use only what you need and it doesn't go bad. You can either pre-chop it frozen in a food processor, or if you're lazy like I am, you can just beat the bag on the counter a little to break the spinach up and use tiny pieces that accumulate at the bottom of the bag. I only add about a handful at a time to dishes, depending on their size. You want the kids to eat it, and if you use too much it becomes obvious. The key is to use it often.

Here are some of the things I add spinach to:
  • Cook in pan first (with a little garlic if possible)
    • Meatballs
    • Hamburgers
    • Meatloaf
    • Stuffed shells
    • Pizza
    • Lasagna
  • Add frozen
    • Tomato sauce
    • Soups and stews
    • Pot roast
    • Black beans
    • Chili
And pretty much anything made with cooked tomatoes.

So that's it! Do have any good ideas for sneaking healthy food to kids? Send it to me, and I might post it on the blog.

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