Looking to Add More Greens into your Diet?? Here’s some Ideas to Start the Year!
Dark leafy greens have been getting a lot of attention for a few years now.
These nutritious vegetables are often labeled as “supermarket superfoods” – dark leafy greens (like spinach, kale, chard, or collard greens) are packed with a host of beneficial nutrients, like vitamins A, C, E, and K.
They are high in a variety of minerals like iron, magnesium, and calcium and then there is all the fibre and antioxidants too!
Greens are definitely an item we should all be working on to include more in our diet. But time and time again I hear from clients that they struggle to include enough of these important leaves! So I thought it would be good to write an article to give you some New Year inspiration!
Serve up greens in breakfast recipes.
You may be surprised that breakfast can be a great meal time to include a serving of greens. Get your day off to a healthy and nutritious start by tossing greens (raw or cooked) into some of your typical breakfast recipes.
Sautéed greens work well as a base for poached, scrambled, or fried eggs.
They’re also great mixed into a frittata. Use coconut or olive oil to sauté the greens, and add healthy fat, great to keep you fuller for longer!
Raw greens can be blended into a breakfast smoothie with some berries and nuts/seeds. Or juiced for a glass of nutrient-dense vegetable juice for your morning pick me up!
Blend greens into baked goods.
Another way to add greens to your meals is by blending them into foods. Baked goods (both savory and sweet) are great vehicles to add greens to.
When you puree or chop greens and add them to baked goods, it’s an easy way to get in an extra hit of nutrition and boost the overall nutrient content of the food.
In addition, if you have any picky eaters in the house, blending greens into baked goods is a great way to sneak them.
You can add pureed or finely chopped greens into foods like: nut loaf, meatballs, lasagna, macaroni cheese, casseroles, burritos or enchiladas, muffins, and quick bread.
I have used kale in Buckwheat Granola!
Toss them into soups and stews.
One of the great qualities of greens is that they don’t require a lot of cooking time — especially if you mix them into already hot foods and liquids.
If you’re making a batch of soup or stew, I always throw in a few handfuls of greens at the end of the cooking process. My son always tries to pick them out – but in the end, he eats them!
Tossing greens into soups and stews is a very quick and easy way to add more to your diet. They wilt very quickly and become soft and very tender.
If you live alone and are concerned about food waste, then buy frozen spinach! It’s cheap and still nutrient-dense, you can easily defrost it, or just add it to the soups as it’s finished cooking! Both fresh and frozen work very well; however, you’ll need to add much more raw greens than frozen as these have already been cooked down.
Consider adding greens to soups or stews like any beany soup, minestrone soup, beef and barley stew, vegetarian or meat chili, or chicken soup.
Blend them into sauces and marinades.
Greens do have unique flavors — some are spicy, some are bitter and some even are a little sweet. These flavors lend themselves well to different sauces or marinades.
You don’t always have to have greens as a salad or sautéed.
They can add a lot of flavor to different sauces or marinades — just like herbs would.
To help dark greens blend seamlessly into different sauces or marinades, you’ll need to puree them or process them in a food processor. Many times, as you’re making the sauce or marinade, you’ll need to use a food processor or blender.
As you add in other ingredients, also add in your greens.
Ideas for dark greens include pesto, chimichurri sauce, tomato sauce, salsa, and salad dressings.
Bulk up the nutritional value of meals with greens.
It’s always a great idea to look for ways to add more plants to each meal. Since greens are so nutrient-dense, adding these to common meals and dishes can help boost their overall nutrient content.
Think of foods where you could add a few vegetables or greens.
Take advantage of that opportunity to add greens to your meals.
For example, if you’re having a sandwich or a wrap for a quick lunch, then add a hefty handful of greens in.
You can also consider using the big leafy green leaves such as collard greens or chard as your actual wrap. Ditch the bread and use a nutrient-dense dark green for increased nutrition!
Other opportunities to add greens to dishes include: sautéed greens on top of pizza, wilted greens tossed into spaghetti, and chopped greens into grain salads.