My children are home on spring break and they spend most of their waking time figuring out how to bribe me for time spent in front of the television. They have cleaned out their closets, rearranged their rooms, organized book shelves and wait in attention at their bedroom doors for acknowledgment of their completion chores. Both kids are obsessed with GLEE. Well who isn’t? I can’t imagine this would seem out of the ordinary to other parents who might be reading this. How awful is this, I ask my husband? He ponders the weightiness of the question. With the latest loaded themes, we don’t think Glee is appropriate for pre-teen children. I find myself bribing my kids to revel in a moment of innocence. Let’s watch DVD’s from the old collection we have collecting dust. Walker my almost 8-year old son grabs the Shirley Temple
We watch it together. We discover a catchy song: you gotta eat your spinach baby. This was a popular song in the 1940’s. We take artistic license to change a word or two here or there. Dancing their silly jigs, they rap: you gotta eat your spinach baby, that’s the proper thing to do; it will keep you kind of healthy too.
Of course, these words thrill me, as they couldn’t be more accurate. The time is right to find fresh crisp spinach at your local market along with early spring veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, new potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, baby beetroots, peas, broad beans and cherry tomatoes. Just walking through my local Farmer’s Market and tasting the sweetness of a just picked baby carrots or seeing the varieties of leafy greens in people’s baskets assures me that spring is indeed, in the air. And what better time it is for a spring-cleaning of all sorts. Besides clearing out our possessions and living spaces, this time of year is a great time to clean up your diet.
In recent years increased recognition has been given to commonplace ‘super foods’ such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts—all of which are rich sources of phytonutrients.
These pantry-staples are jam packed with vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals and other things scientists probably haven’t even named yet. If everyone would just eat more of these foods everyday, there might never be a need for vitamin supplements! A ‘super food’ is a term sometimes used to describe food with high phytonutrient content that may bestow health benefits as a result. One of the most important things you want to understand about super foods are they contain an exceptionally high nutrient content when compared to the amount of calories per serving. So that means a food such as spinach which is especially dense in iron is a super food. When eating spinach it means you’re getting the most out of every calorie you consume. Other leafy greens such as kale, collards, chard, watercress, are excellent choices for a way to eat your spinach, baby. I know for sure many of the cast of Glee does!
Photo of leafy greens from my new cookbook Vegan Family Meals published June 15, 2011 by Andrews McMeel. Photography by Sara Remington.