Several varieties of green, leafy, nutrition-packed spinach are grown – ‘Baby Spinach’ is the softest and the most delicate in flavour. Other types can sometimes have tough textures, and stalks that need to be removed before cooking.
Opinions differ about when to start giving spinach, but about 10 to 12 months seems the usual age recommendation.
Spinach is good for baby (and you):
High in nutritional value, spinach is particularly rich in calcium, and provides good amounts of vitamin A and iron – which is very important to breast or bottle-fed babies, as their iron levels drop after about 6 months of age. Spinach is nitrate-rich, and contains selenium – a mineral with antioxidant properties that may help protect cells from damage.
Hints on buying and storing:
- If not stored well, studies indicate that nitrate levels in spinach may become too high, so buy it really fresh and use within a day.
- Even better – grow your own, pick, and use on the same day!
- Bagged spinach in supermarket fresh-produce departments should have ‘packed on’ and ‘use by’ dates.
- If buying loose spinach, choose undamaged, bright, crisp-looking leaves – wilted ones are past their best.
- Keep in a bag, in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator, and use within a day.
- Do not allow spinach to get damp while being stored.
Tips on cooking:
- Spinach bought loose needs to be washed well to remove residual dirt and grit – wash in several changes of water.
- Steam, or boil in a tiny amount of water.
- For the best flavour, sauté gently in a little olive oil.
- Spinach cooks quickly – depending on the variety, it is done when the leaves ‘wilt’ and are tender.
Ideas for ways of including spinach in your baby’s meals:
- Combine pureed spinach with carrot, courgette (zucchini), sweet or white potato, peas or parsnip.
Please remember: Always consult your baby’s paediatrician or doctor about introducing new foods.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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