8 Simple ways to include more greens in your diet.
If you’re like most people, you probably remember your mother telling you to eat your vegetables. As a child you may have dreaded the thought of eating your spinach or mustard greens, but hopefully you now realize the importance of eating a wide variety of leafy green vegetables. There aren’t many foods more chock full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients than greens.
Filled with fiber and extremely low in calories, leafy greens should be a regular part of everyone’s daily diet. In fact, it’s recommended you eat at least half a cup of leafy greens each day for good health. Just remember that the darker green the leaf, the better it is for you, so skip the iceberg lettuce.
There are many types of leafy greens and a variety of ways to eat them. Green salads are the most obvious, but maybe you’re tired of the salad bar or your kids refuse to eat raw green veggies. If this is the case, here are a few creative ideas of how to prepare leafy greens in ways both you and your family can enjoy.
Instead of adding fruit to your smoothie, why not add some greens? If done the right way, it won’t taste bitter or bland. Kale or spinach leaves make great smoothie additions. Other ingredients may include coconut water, avocado, celery, honey, mango, apple juice, milk, bananas, and more. Look online for easy green smoothie recipes you can sip on while you’re on the go.
Leafy greens make a great addition to pastas. Toss cooked pasta with spinach leaves, fish or chicken, cherry tomatoes, and chopped basil. Mix with a low-fat salad dressing and enjoy. Add cooked collard greens or spinach to your pasta tomato sauces. You can even make vegetarian lasagna with greens instead of meat.
Craving a crunchy, salty snack? Try making some kale or Swiss chard chips. They’re easy and so good for you. Toss together leaves with olive oil, garlic, and salt. Place the leaves on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. It’s that easy!
Looking for a dessert that’s semi-healthy? Bake some brownies with pureed cooked spinach leaves and see if your family can guess the secret ingredient. They’ll likely eat the whole pan without complaining about eating green vegetables and what they don’t know can’t hurt them, right? It may even help them!
Like to eat wraps for lunch but trying to cut back on carbs? Try using lettuce leaves in place of bread or tortillas. Fill the leaves with cheese and deli meat, tuna salad, egg salad, grilled chicken, or Caesar salad.
Everybody loves pizza. Why not make your family pizza night a tad bit healthier? Puree some spinach leaves and spread them on the pizza dough before adding the sauce and toppings. Your kids might not notice or they may even like the new addition.
Quinoa makes a great base for adding healthy ingredients. Boil collard greens until tender and add them to cooked quinoa, diced grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes, chopped parsley, and olive oil for a yummy main dish that’s sure to please.
Who said you can’t eat vegetables for breakfast? They may not be your traditional breakfast food, but why not add leafy greens to your eggs? Just about any variety of greens can be added to your egg dish. Whether you make scrambled eggs, omelets, or frittatas, experiment by adding greens and other vegetables for a healthy twist.