10 Delicious Ways to Add More Spinach into Your Day
Registered dietitians share the creative and tasty ways to add more spinach to your meals, from smoothies to lasagna.
Ways to add more spinach to your diet
Salad is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think about adding more greens, like spinach, to your diet. However, going back and forth between a spinach salad and sautéed spinach can get boring and, frankly, unappetizing. Luckily, there are various ways to add spinach to your diet that can be both tasty and healthy.
We spoke with registered dietitians who share the creative ways to sneak more of this leafy green into your day to get the most out of your meals.
Put spinach in smoothies
Jump on the green smoothie trend, and add some spinach to your morning drink. "Compared to kale or collard greens, spinach is a soft, less fibrous green that can add creaminess to any smoothie," says Claire Martin, RD, who focuses on child nutrition and holistic wellness in Oakland, California. "Add a cup to the blender before adding fruit. Blend with a frozen banana, 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, and some ice for a well-rounded breakfast smoothie that will take five minutes to make—and wake you up." Find out seven tricks to making a healthier smoothie.
Cook spinach into eggs
Start your morning off with a dose of nutrients by using the vegetable in your egg dishes. "Fold in a handful or two of this dark leafy green right before you go to fold and flip your omelet," says Paul Salter, RD, a Bodybuilding.com contributor, in Flagstaff, Arizona. "Or, you may consider sauteing in a pan with salt and garlic before adding a few eggs atop and scrambling to your desired consistency." Here are more ways to make your egg dishes even healthier.
Add spinach to ground meats
Whether you're making meatballs, tacos, or burgers, mix some leaves into your ground meat to add some vitamins and minerals including calcium. "As your ground beef, turkey, or chicken comes close to being cooked all the way through, toss a few handfuls of the green into the pan and incorporate until soft and wilted," says Salter.
Layer spinach into lasagna
"Another easy way to sneak the vegetable in is to hide a layer or two between the cheese, pasta, meat, and sauce of a delicious, home-made lasagna," says Salter. "After each cheese layer, consider a layer to increase the nutrient density." Making a spinach lasagna can help you get your share of antioxidants, including vitamins E and C.
Sneak spinach into sandwiches or wraps
Add an extra boost of fiber and protein to your lunch when making a sandwich or wrap. "If you build your sandwich appropriately, you won't taste this dark leafy green," says Salter. "Add it between a few slices of meat and voila, you've now increased the nutrient density of your lunch without interrupting the pleasant taste."
Replace your iceberg lettuce
One of the easiest ways to enjoy the green is to make a spinach salad by replacing your usual iceberg with its more nutritious counterpart. "One cup of can meet your daily requirement of vitamins K and A and provides a significant amount of iron, vitamin B, manganese, magnesium, and folate," says Martin. "A lot of other high-value greens are tougher to eat raw, but this green has a naturally creamy flavor that makes it an easy substitute to any raw or cold dish." Be sure to avoid these salad mistakes that add calories.
Whip up a yogurt dip
Whip up a yogurt dip to enjoy with vegetables or chips. "Combine the following in a bowl: 1 cup plain yogurt, 2 cloves fresh garlic, diced, 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar, and zest of one lemon," says Maya Feller, RD, specializing in nutrition for chronic disease prevention, in Brooklyn, New York. "Cook 3 cups of the green in water until wilted. Drain and run under cold water. Add to yogurt mixture, and season to taste with black pepper and juice from a lemon."
Make brownies using a "secret ingredient"
This trick is especially useful if you have kids, as they can get their daily dose of greens while they eat their dessert. Add spinach to your brownie mix by adding in a cup to your batter and blending it together with a hand mixer or blender. It won't change the taste of your brownies, but it will add a boost of necessary nutrients.
Add spinach to slow-cooked foods
Add this healthy veggie to soups, casseroles, and any baked or slowly-cooked foods. "Since it's such a powerhouse of nutrition when cooked, you can take advantage and add it to any food that is going to be baked or slowly cooked like a soup," says Martin. "You can even blend it into a soup with an immersion blender to make it creamy."
Spruce up your pesto
Instead of using just basil, add some additional greens into your pesto recipe to keep on hand to add to meals. Feller recommends 2 cups of fresh spinach with 1 bunch of fresh basil, 2 cloves of garlic, juice, and zest from 1 lemon, 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.