We’ve all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But there’s more to fueling our bodies with healthy foods for long-term wellness benefits than just eating an apple every day (although, guys, it’s definitely a great place to start!).
Living a healthy lifestyle boils down to how we treat our minds and bodies: how often we exercise, how we focus our mindset, the boundaries we set to protect our peace, and how we fuel our bodies with certain foods. A well-rounded, healthy diet should be made up of proteins, healthy fats, fresh fruits, and complex carbs including VEGGIES. I know it doesn’t sound nearly as sexy as a Starbucks drive thru run, but everything in moderation, right?
Outfit + Kitchen Details:
If you’re not big on veggies, and the thought of “go green or go home” just makes you want to pack up and head home, let me share some perks of my favorite green and how you can hide this power-packed superfood in your next meal.
Health Benefits of Spinach
Does it come as a shock that spinach is one of my absolute favorite vegetables? Remember Popeye and his big muscles? He was the biggest fan of spinach, and guys, lemme tell ya.. those muscles don’t lie.
Quick trivia: Fifty years before Popeye was created, a German chemist by the name of Erich von Wolf incorrectly transcribed the amount of iron within spinach by over 10x the true value, leading people (and the producers of Popeye) to think that spinach was beyond a superfood due to its health benefits. So, while spinach is definitely jam-packed with a ton of nutrients and health benefits, Popeye’s muscles were probably also attributed to some heavy lifts and some adequate protein intake too 😉
Spinach = Great Source of Fuel + Energy
Adding spinach into your regular diet absolutely has its perks! Leafy green spinach is part of the carb family, and carbs are our body’s preferred source of fuel and energy. Carbs can be further broken down into simple and complex, simple being those not-so-healthy snacks such as cakes, cookies, and processed foods. Fruits are also considered a simple carb because of the type of sugar they contain, but they’re a healthier choice because they also come jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and antioxidants. Complex carbs, on the other hand, are those which are found in legumes, veggies, whole grains, cereals, and breads.
Complex carbs, including spinach, are also typically higher in fiber, which slows down the process of digestion and the release of sugars, which helps stabilize our blood sugar levels and helps keep us feeling fuller, longer.
When our diets don’t contain enough fiber, we can end up with a super major annoyance in the form of constipation, which can also lead to weight gain. But, when we get enough fiber regularly in our diet (25g daily for women, 38g daily for men), our overall feelings of health and wellness can actually improve. Adequate fiber intake has been linked to better sleep, better cholesterol and blood sugar, better digestion, and again, feeling fuller, longer.
It’s Loaded with Vitamins A, C, K, + More!
Spinach also has a ton of essential vitamins and minerals that help our bodies thrive: vitamins A, C, K, folic acid, iron, and calcium, just to name a few. It also contains antioxidants which can help protect our bodies from certain diseases such as cancer.
Okay, so what if you hate spinach?
So it’s pretty clear that spinach is pretty dang good for us, right? But what if you’re someone who isn’t the biggest fan of veggies? Not to worry! Another great thing about spinach is that it doesn’t really contain much flavor, making it easy to mask in just about any recipe you add it to.
You also have a lot of options when it comes to cooking with spinach, so feel free to put on your thinking cap (or apron) and get a little creative next time you’re in the kitchen. Play around with different types of spinach. Maybe you’re not a fan of frozen spinach but find that you love it fresh? Or vice versa! There are so many ways (especially when blended) that you can add spinach into your diet without ever even tasting it or knowing it’s there (also great for sneaking more greens into your kid’s meals!).
Some of my favorite ways to add spinach to my routine:
- Add it to a smoothie or meal replacement shake. I promise you won’t even taste it!
- Mix it with your favorite salad greens
- Sub it for lettuce on your next sandwich, burger, or wrap
- Add it to you next egg scramble or frittata
- Add it to your soup
- Sneak it into baked goods
One of my favorite ways to sneak in extra greens is to add them to my pancake batter! I call them Green Machine Pancakes, and they’re a family favorite, especially around St. Patrick’s Day or Christmas time. The kids never complain, which is an added bonus and definitely a mom-win in my book. Plus, it helps teach your kids that eating healthy can still be fun and enjoyable, and it helps instill those healthy habits at a young age. Definitely something to feel good about.
Eating healthy or making those habit changes doesn’t have to be super difficult. It can honestly be as simple as adding a handful of greens into your day and building from there! Start off with an open mindset and play around with different ways to prepare and eat greens; you’ll be surprised at how delicious they can be.
Are you someone who frequently adds greens or even spinach to your meals? I’d love to know your favorite way to cook (or bake) with spinach! Drop your favorite way in the comments below, and maybe it’s a recipe that I can try next time I meal prep!
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