Inside: Have you ever made a spinach salad with your kids? This is the best spinach salad for kids of all ages—especially for teens wanting to stay healthy and well. The salad dressing is chock full of important ingredients—even down to the poppy seeds which actually help to make kids smarter! Gather your kids in the kitchen and get making this delicious, nutritious salad! Don’t forget the tips at the end.
If you want your kids to love cooking and baking in the kitchen—start out with something easy. A healthy salad is always a great choice! This recipe, Best Spinach Salad, was given to me by a good friend in the 1990s. It’s an easy, fun recipe for your kids to make. Plus, it’s bursting with nutritious ingredients and tastes amazing!
Don’t forget to discuss the nutrition and kitchen tips below…
The Best Spinach Salad
- 1 bunch spinach
- 1 head red leaf lettuce
- 1-pound mushrooms
- 1 red onion
- 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1-pound bacon
- ¾ cup grated swiss cheese
- 3 coarsely chopped Roma tomatoes
- Wash and spin dry the spinach and lettuce. Layer on paper towels and refrigerate
- Slice the mushrooms and put into a quart jar
- Thinly slice the red onion and put in the jar with mushrooms
- Mix the following ingredients together: oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, pepper, poppy seeds. Pour over the mushrooms and red onion in the jar. Refrigerate until ready to assemble
- Fry the bacon and crumble into small pieces
- Grate the Swiss cheese
- Mix the spinach, lettuce, bacon, tomatoes and swiss cheese together
- Pour the dressing over all and mix thoroughly
- NOTE: You may not need all the dressing; pour and mix slowly until everything is lightly coated. Save any remainder salad dressing for another day
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 cup fresh strawberries
A lot of kids balk at eating veggies. One way to make it easier is to get your kids cooking and baking in the kitchen. And, when you are busy in the kitchen, casually drop information about how good the ingredients are to stay healthy and well. Here are some tips you can share with your kids (particularly teens) about some of the ingredients found in this salad.
Healthy Tip #1: The Nutritional Value of Spinach: Kids Bones, Brains & Vision
Everyone knows that spinach is good for you and will make you stronger (think Popeye). In fact, spinach is so good for you that it’s considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.
It’s loaded with all kinds of vitamins and even vitamin K—which helps to build strong bones. Vitamin K contains a compound called osteocalcin that helps to anchor the calcium molecule inside the bones. If you can’t get calcium inside the bones, it doesn’t help your bones!
Spinach also contains vitamin C and beta-carotene which helps protect and build your child’s brain. Want to protect your child’s vision and eye health? Serve them spinach! There are many ways to eat it—cooked or raw (like in the salad). Either way packs a powerful punch of nutrition for your kids!
Healthy Tip #2: Measuring Mushrooms
When a recipe calls for mushrooms, teach your kids that there are several ways to measure mushrooms. Some recipes (like this one) will want you to measure in ounces or pounds. If so, when you take your kids to the grocery store, show them the packages of mushrooms and read the label—does it say 8 oz.? That would be a ½ pound. And 16 oz. would be a pound.
If you are buying mushrooms singly, then show your kids how to weigh them on the scales provided.
Some recipes will give the measurements in cups. They may ask for sliced mushrooms or chopped mushrooms. Show your kids how to first slice or chop the mushrooms before measuring.
Healthy Tip #3: What’s Red Wine Vinegar?
Red wine vinegar is often found in salad dressing recipes.
Red wine vinegar helps with digestion by making the stomach more acidic which helps with heartburn. Did you know that in order for you to digest your meal you need a certain level of acid in your stomach? Red wine vinegar will help.
It also helps to lower blood sugar (a big advantage); it helps your body to absorb minerals; and like coconut oil is anti-microbial (kills microbes found in food like e-coli)
Healthy Tip #4: The Benefits of Those Itty-Bitty Poppy Seeds
Have you ever seen a recipe that calls for poppy seeds and you ignore it and treat it as an optional ingredient? Don’t! Those teeny black seeds from the opium poppy can pack an amazing nutritional punch!
Poppy Seeds Makes Kids Smarter!
Poppy seeds can make your kids smarter! They improve cognitive function or how kids learn. Why? There is a lot of iron in poppy seeds which causes an increase in hemoglobin production and blood flow. When you have good oxygen flow and iron in the brain, kids are smarter because they can think and process information better.
Get a Better Sleep with Poppy Seeds
And, poppy seeds can help your kids (and you) sleep better. They are loaded with magnesium, the calming mineral, which helps with the quality and quantity of sleep. Poppy seeds also regulate your metabolism to help reduce sleep disorders and insomnia.
Pass the poppy seeds!
5 Books for Healthy Smart Kids in the Kitchen
Here are some books about spinach for all the ages of your kids. As mentioned above–spinach is a nutrient-dense vegetable that helps to make this salad a must-eat for your family.
Try the salad, learn the tips and you and your kids are on your way to making a delicious, nutritious salad—one that is perfect for any time of the year.