Resolution #3: More Greens!
Have you heard that 80% of all resolutions fail by February? (Like my goal to go to bed and wake up an hour earlier. I almost made it to Jan. 3rd.)
THIS resolution though, has not been one of those fails! :)
I wanted a resolution that is not only good for me, but required little effort and made my life easier so I won’t be tempted to give up on its goodness. This “Whole Box Spinach Challenge” fits the bill.
How this Box of Greens Is a Godsend
Hear me out on this.
I’m 100% with you. I am not a rabbit, nor am I a vegan. A diet suited to those who chew the cud is even less appealing to me than cleaning out a litter box with my bare fingers.
But what is appealing to me is little life hacks that:
save me time in the kitchen
help me make better food choices that are noticeably slimming
are oh-so-streamlined and easy
AND… pack in so many nutrients that I feel like patting myself on the back at each and every meal. (No grassy aftertastes or salads included.)
This box makes it SO EASY to whip up meals containing that all-important serving of veggies. Plus it’s cost-effective. It’s almost too good to be green.
Whole Box Spinach Challenge!
I’m doing it - I’m going through an entire box of spinach a week. Deliciously. And I bet you could too!
Wanna join me? Email me a picture of your concoctions or meal plans so we can celebrate our wins together :)
I’ve laid out “all the things” below that I feel are helpful for using spinach, but if you’ve got questions or more suggestions please let me know in the comments!
But…WHY the Obsession?
Good question. Though it is indeed “trending” to say that we need leafy greens in our diets, it’s not a bunch of hype. If you’re like me and hate associating with trends that don’t have science behind them, check out this page by Dr. Axe for everything you wanted to know about Popeye’s superpower superfood.
Nine Delicious Meals with Baby Spinach
For those of you making efforts this month to keep your “healthy eating” resolution going, stay tuned! I’ll be posting recipes for 9 meals (3 breakfasts, lunches and dinners) that rock my world… involving a full serving of greens per person. You’ll go through that 1 lb. box in no time. You may even come to depend on it as a household staple.
(AND NO…you WON’T be eating a salad every single meal to finish off that box. None of my recipes even include salad! Scroll to the bottom for a sneak peek.)
The Basic Idea
(Just as a reminder right outta the gates… Spinach cooks down like CRAZY. 1 cup cooked spinach started out as 6 cups of fresh spinach.)
Ok…So you grab a handful. (A big one. Like this or bigger. No skimping.) One handful per person, or per serving.
If you’re doing a smoothie, put it in the blender.
If you’re simmering a soup, mix it in near the end of the cook time.
If you’re doing anything else: Sauté it!! Heat a tablespoon of olive oil & your spinach on medium-low. Add a few shakes of garlic salt (#magicingredient), stir, and cook for 2 minutes.
BAM. Sautéed spinach that goes in almost anything. (Scroll to the bottom and you’ll see :)
So…let’s have a word about that slimy, bruised, only-lasted-for-two-days spinach that comes out of a bag, shall we? You know, the kind that makes you feel silly for trying to eat healthy because you wasted $5 and didn’t eat any of it?
Say goodbye to THAT kind of spinach! First off, you’ll need a box, not a bag. Click here to see the musts for picking long-lasting spinach. (Also…always pick organic! Regular spinach is on the Dirty Dozen list of highest pesticide content!)
How do I use Spinach? Oh… Let me Count the Ways
You don’t have to do “Whole30” or anything drastic to incorporate greens into your life. Chances are, you already make all sorts of meals you could slip some spinach into.
There are SO many ways to get your daily dose of spinach! I’ll be posting 9 of my favorite spinach recipes coming up here this month, but for now - here’s some ideas to get your juices flowing!
25+ meal ideas I use that are spinach-compatible, grouped by category: Soups, Eggs, Smoothies, Pasta, Skillet Suppers, StirFry, and Everything Else.
How: Toss in multiple handfuls toward the end of cooking any soup!
Chicken Noodle Soup
White Chicken Chili
Canned Soup! (yes…a can. No shame. For such a small amount of liquid like 1 serving from a can, sauté your spinach in the pan for a couple minutes before pouring in your soup.)
How: Gently sauté one massive handful per person in the pan for a minute before adding your eggs. Or, sauté, and add to a fried egg sandwich or quiche.
Fried Eggs & Sautéed Spinach with Toast
Fried Egg & Spinach on English Muffins with Cream Cheese
Frittata (basically a stovetop crustless quiche. Click here for one blogger’s recipe!)
Mini Quiches/Egg Soufflés - the kind you make in a muffin tin. Easy breakfast idea!
Protein & greens…can’t get a more balanced breakfast than that!
How: Spinach is TASTELESS in smoothies, so add about 1 handful per serving, and blend really well!
Chocolate Nutty Banana Smoothie
Chocolate-covered Blueberry Smoothie (use above recipe minus nut butter + 1/2 c blueberries)
Green Goddess Smoothie (coming soon)
How: Sauté a few huge handfuls of spinach the pan with some olive oil & garlic salt for 2 minutes, then remove. Make your sauce/meat, and add your sautéed spinach to the sauce at the end!
Grown-up GF Mac & Cheese…with creamy goat cheese, spinach, garlic, and rosemary (recipe coming soon!)
Lemon Chicken with Broccoli & Bow Tie Pasta - I use gluten free pasta. Don’t forget to add your spinach to this recipe! Click here.
Traditional Red Sauce, Spaghetti & Meatballs - add fresh basil leaves and sauteed spinach to the sauce
One-Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes - check out the recipe on myrecipes.com
5. Skillet Suppers
I love these one-pot wonders.
How: As long as you’ve got plenty of garlic, oil, and a few spices, you can’t go wrong. Just saute your veggies, add rice, and a protein. Make room in the skillet and saute your spinach near the end.
6. Stir Fry or Asian Noodle/Rice Dishes
How: During the last 5 minutes of cooking, make some space in the pan, add some more oil and add a few handfuls of spinach, stir and let it sit for a minute. Then cover it over with the rest of the stirfry. It will cook down quickly!
Indian Korma Curry (again…from a store-bought jar!)
Any Asian stir fry - get a kit from the freezer section, or use a bottled sauce. OR…make it from scratch like this blogger’s recipe…and don’t forget to add spinach!
Zucchini Noodles/Zoodles: Thai Zoodle Recipe coming soon!
7. Everything Else
Gourmet Burgers: Top it with some aioli, pickled red onions, goat cheese, bacon (whatever floats your boat)…and layer on that fresh or sauteed spinach!
Pizza: I spread some creamy goat cheese on a gluten free crust before the toppings (#fancy) and add sauteed spinach before the other toppings. SO good.
Spinach & Artichoke Dip: I triple the spinach in the classic recipe, and it’s still just as addictive! (Lactose-sensitive? Us too. I sub the cheeses for goat cheese, goat yogurt & pecorino romano and it tastes even better…!)
There you have it, folks. Hope this gets your juices flowing and inspires you to buy that box of tender, baby greens on the regular. They may be small, but they’re powerful enough to change your life - if you’ll let them. :)