Glossary of Foods: Spinach

| Diet & Nutrition

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Spinach, perhaps more than any other food, is universally avoided by kids. The deep green color and slightly bitter flavor is as off-putting as any cornucopia of other vegetables decorating a salad. But as adults, we have learned to love and enjoy spinach. It's incredibly healthy, easy to prepare, and helps us thrive!

leafy greens spinach

Unlike many salad lettuces, spinach does not grow as a head. Instead, spinach grows annually as a flowering plant with individual leaves. The leaves of spinach can be any variation of sizes up to one foot! Larger, dark green leaves are harvested at the base of the stalk and smaller leaves from the top near the flower.

Native to central and southern Asia, Spinach is available year round. It is most fresh and seasonal in late fall and can survive the winter in temperate climates. Because of its year round availability, spinach is a healthy and versatile option for any number of meals.

Spinach is considered a superfood among lettuce greens! It's very nutrient-dense as it is high in vitamins and minerals and low in calories. Spinach contains lots of vitamins A, K, and C, as well as magnesium and calcium. It's also a well-known source of iron. Spinach also has a moderate amount of protein and lots of dietary fiber.

When shopping for spinach in the grocery store, make note that spinach is on the dirty dozen list, so seek an organic variety, if possible. Spinach is typically available pre-cut and pre-washed. Baby spinach will have a more tender bite and smaller leaves. Full-grown spinach will have a crisper texture and dark green leaves.

If you haven't already jumped on the healthy spinach salad bandwagon, you should! Try adding an extra handful of spinach to any of our 12 winter salad recipes for a boost of vitamins and minerals. If the kids aren't interested in spinach, try serving one of these sneaky spinach recipes. They'll never know! Or if your daily smoothie calls for a healthy addition, try a handful of spinach.