By Aimee Serafin • Photo by Chiara Conti on


 September is childhood obesity awareness month. Childhood obesity, a growing medical condition in the US, hit the national rate of 18.5% in 2018. Many adult health concerns are likely to occur if the condition in the childhood years is not handled with proper diet, exercise and nutrition. Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are side effects of obesity that exist often with poor self-esteem and depression. One of the best ways to counter childhood obesity is to improve eating and exercise habits. Healthy after-school snacks or morning smoothies with vegetables and natural sweeteners can provide the nutrition and energy needed for the day without adding a lot of extra calories. Spinach is a great source of vitamins A and C, fiber, and folic acid. The calcium in its green leaves helps strengthen bones. It also helps protect against high blood pressure and heart disease by lowering damaging protein levels in the blood. Below are 2 healthy recipes for persons of any age to incorporate into their diets and maximize the recommended daily amounts of spinach in their meals.


Sweet Spinach Muffins
Courtesy of Kim Beavers

2 cups flour, whole wheat

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup honey

1 large banana

6 ounces spinach

1/2 cup butter, unsalted

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350ºF, and line a muffin pan with paper liners (or use silicone muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray).

Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Melt butter. Blend the wet ingredients in a blender or food processor until completely pureed. Pour the puree into the dry ingredient bowl, and fold together gently until just combined. (Do not over-mix.)

Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the muffins are firm to the touch, but not quite browning. Cool most or all of the way before serving.

Yield: 18 muffins (Serving size: 1 muffin)

Recipe provided by Super Healthy Kids. For more information and other recipes check out the website.


Photo by Monika Grabkowska of

Good Morning Green Smoothie

2 cups fresh baby spinach

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

½ cup vanilla low-fat yogurt

½ avocado, peeled and pit removed

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 teaspoons honey



Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth. Serve.

Makes 2- 10 oz. servings.

Aimee Serafin, editor of the Augusta Family Magazine.