Spring is right around the corner! This is a great time to introduce some fresh foods into your child’s day! Many kids turn the other way when they hear the word “spinach”, but there are so many health benefits of incorporating these dark leafy greens into your child’s diet! “The USDA’s MyPlate specifically recommends adults and children over 9 years old eat one and a half to two cups of dark green vegetables per week.” One portion is equivalent to 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup of raw spinach. Spinach is loaded with so many essential nutrients, including Vitamins A, C, and K, folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
How do we get our children to enjoy this delicious superfood? The more we can involve children in food preparation, the more likely they are to try new foods. For example, create a small box garden, where children can grow their own spinach. Let them search for and help prepare tasty recipes that include spinach. When grocery shopping, have children pick out a new vegetable to try each week. Although we don’t always recommend “hiding” vegetables in recipes, it is okay to sometimes add spinach to recipes, such as sauces, soups, or desserts. Just puree the spinach and add it to the recipe; the flavor of spinach is so mild that your family won’t even notice it’s there! Lastly, don’t force children to eat specific vegetables. Continue to offer them daily, and eventually your child will grow to love vegetables. Vegetables are nutrient-packed and delicious; let’s encourage our children to enjoy them!
• 18 standard cupcake liners
• 2 cups flour, whole wheat
• 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1/2 cup honey
• 1 large banana
• 6 ounces raw baby spinach (by weight)
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a muffin pan with paper liners (or use silicone muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray).
Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Heat the butter until just melted. Using a blender or food processor, blend the raw spinach, banana, honey, milk, egg, vanilla, and melted butter until completely pureed.
Pour the puree into the dry ingredient bowl, and fold together gently until just combined. (Do not over-mix.)
Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the muffins are firm to the touch on top, but not quite browning.
Cool before serving.