Food

Nutrition

Eatin’ of the Greens

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Green vegetables have been a healthy mainstay at the dinner table for centuries. With high doses of vitamins and minerals and a low-calorie count, these veggies offer huge benefits, helping prevent heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. But when you think of packing more greens into your diet, does your mind automatically wander to salads? Eating lettuce is a great way to get more fiber, but if you really want an extra boost of vitamins, dense green vegetables is the way to go.

Most of us consider only a few types of greens for our salads, romaine and iceberg lettuces being the most common. Although these two have fiber and some key nutrients, they wilt in comparison to powerhouse greens like kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, and spinach. Don’t forget the cabbage, broccoli, and a whole host of other delicious green vegetables, either.

The question: How do you incorporate these veggies into your diet without feeling like a rabbit or sacrificing the foods you love? We’re here to help!  

Start the morning off right

Put away the cereal box because your breakfast of champions isn’t that. Instead, think of breakfast as a chance to get that first dose of greens into your diet.Breakfast scrambles are an easy, quick way to use the vegetables you already have in your refrigerator and get your body off to a great start. 

Some tasty, healthy ingredient ideas include onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, grains, broccoli, black beans, sausage, kale, spinach, eggs, and cheese. Just sauté the vegetables, add in some scrambled eggs, top with cheese and voila! If you prefer to work from a recipe, check out this Scrambled Eggs With Goat Cheese, Greek Yogurt and Greens treat. Not only will this type of breakfast give you a few extra servings of vegetables, you will feel satisfied longer, resulting in a heightened ability to say no to unhealthy midmorning snacks.

Throw them in a smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to get some extra fruits and vegetables into your diet, especially when it comes to greens. Even kids will jump on the smoothie bandwagon as long as their drink looks appetizing. Use orange juice, berries, and bananas to provide natural sweetness. You can also add in yogurt or a nondairy milk as well as a protein, such as peanut butter or sunflower seed butter. Baby kale or spinach tend to be best smoothie options because of their mild flavor, but you can use any veggie you have on hand. If you’re ready to try your hand at the smoothie trend, check out this delicious recipe.

Stir them into the family soup pot

Soup is another fantastic way to get your daily dose of green veggies. During the cold months, soups keep your immune system healthy and your body cozy and warm. But they’re great year around, too. Kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, cabbage, and spinach all go great in a brothy soup. If you want to cut down on your prep time for those busy weekday nights, try using frozen greens; just add them right into the soup pot toward the end of cooking. 

If you’re feeling fancy, try out this Provençal Greens Soup recipe. For something a bit easier and more kid-friendly, this Sausage and Green Soup is a winner and it will probably provide enough for leftovers the next day. You can also get creative with recipes your family already loves by adding in mild greens like spinach or kale. 

Cooking tips—nobody likes mushy greens

If you’re ready to try your hand at adding more green vegetables to your diet, our cooking tips will make sure your healthy dinner is also delicious.

  • Don’t overcook greens. Softer greens shouldn’t need too much cooking time, so closely follow recipe instructions. Greens that cook for too long become mushy and sometimes flavorless, leaving them less than desirable.
  • Turn up the spice. Experiment by using a variety of spices, such as cumin, ginger, garlic, or even curry. Lemon juice and vinegars also pair well with greens and eliminate bitterness.
  • Add in the fat. Yes, we just told you to eat fat! Greens go well with sesame oil, olive oil, and butter and, as a bonus, the yummy add-in boosts the ease of absorption of important nutrients.

Green vegetables are a superfood. They provide a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to improve your diet. Getting even one serving into your diet every day will help you feel better and boost your immune system. So hold up your green smoothie and toast your health!

If you want to learn more about good nutrition, we can help with that, too. Our staff of registered dietitians are committed to helping you improve your quality of life through the foods you eat. Contact us at 317-468-4880 for more information.

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