Greens are mighty. Greens are delicious. Greens are mighty delicious.
Aside from the more overstated benefits, there are vital nutrients packed in greens that are absolutely vital for our body’s functioning that shouldn’t go overlooked, such as magnesium, iron, folate and calcium.
Here are six ways to work plenty of leafy greens into your diet on a daily basis.
1. Green Smoothie
Dust off that blender! While not strictly limited to the morning hours, a green smoothie is a prime way to pack a ton of greens into a single cup of green goodness and get your day going. That way you can harness the strength of Popeye before you even step foot out the door to take on the day. A sweet fruit, such as an apple or kiwi balances out any bitterness in the greens, so you won’t even know they’re in there. Here is a simple, quick morning smoothie mash-up (amounts to be adjusted to satisfy taste and consistency preferences):
- Matcha Green Tea Powder (optional)
- Almond Milk
Still, there are many more green smoothie mash-ups where that came from. The term green smoothie can go in so many different directions to the point that it’s almost overwhelming. The possibilities never stop. If you haven’t yet experienced the glory of green smoothies, check out this guide to amazing green smoothie combos to get you started.
2. Eggless Omelet
Try adding some spinach, arugula, or kale into your next stove-top breakfast creation. Greens make a perfect addition to your morning tofu scramble or omelet, allowing for a double punch of protein to get your day going. And since they cook up quickly, there’s no limit to the amount of greens you can throw into your dish. If you wish, for even more green power, serve your greens-infused omelet overtop a bed of greens, of a different mix. While arugula’s sharper taste doesn’t necessarily lend itself to being the green go-to for every dish, it smoothly complements an eggless egg breakfast.
3. Broccoli Salad
While I must confess I am not the biggest fan of raw broccoli as a stand alone snack, broccoli salad is an entirely different story. Something about broccoli florets being lathered in Vegenaise makes it that much more decadent, and smoother to munch on. Plus keeping the broccoli in its raw form allows it to hold tightly to its nutritional impact. Mix in some nuts, raisins, onions and you are ready to eat. You can even sprinkle some fake bacon bits over the top, if you can’t break yourself away from the more traditional broccoli salad you may remember from childhood. If you’re still not sold on this raw salad snack, for a steamed alternative, try this recipe for sesame broccoli tofu salad.
4. Kale Chips
Oh kale, you modest superfood you! How great it is that you readily make your way into so many dishes and bring the overwhelming health benefits along with you. You are such an easy answer to avoid a number of deficiencies. You certainly don’t get as much credit as you deserve! While kale is certainly capable of being a star in more complex dishes, a simple way to munch on it throughout your day, are these sour cream and onion kale chips. For a less traditional lunch-time salad, try this kale and golden beet salad. For a classic favorite, try this recipe for spicy greens and fill your bowl full. That’s right, your standard “greens” happen to be part of kale’s large family. Who knew?
5. Lettuce Wraps
Recently I’ve found myself dreaming about lettuce wraps. Okay, not quite, but I have been frequenting restaurants that have said wraps listed on their starter menus, and it’s served as a reminder of just how easy they are to recreate at home. While lettuce suitable for the wrapping may not offer the same nutritional benefit as darky, leafy greens, lettuce wraps are a great way to break away from a standard flour or corn tortilla, are a source of roughage, and they practically wrap themselves. Simply select a head of lettuce with pieces that are large and crisp enough for wrapping. For the stuffing, whip up some nutritious sautéed veggies or tofu (or anything you have your heart set on), and serve with peanut sauce. Feel free to indulge on this guiltless snack in the comfort of your home, or take along with you to your next function and impress your guests. As they say, “Lettuce entertain you!”
6. Seasonal Salads
Yes, salad is an obvious answer to mixing in greens to every part of your day, but it’s such a timeless one that it cannot go unnoticed. Salads provide the opportunity to get inventive in so many ways that you never have to repeat the same salad twice. That’s right, you can make a different salad, every single day of the week, month or even year. It’s nearly impossible to get bored. While there is certainly something to be said for adapting your diet based on the season, you don’t have to wait for spring to make a fresh, and delightful salad. You can literally throw anything atop a bed of select greens and call it a salad, so take advantage of the opportunity to keep changing things up! Furthermore, you can have just as much fun with the vessel as you can the salad itself. Try layering mason jars with vibrant salad creations and stock pile in your fridge. This eclectic display makes for wonderful eye candy and is convenient so you can grab and go with salad in hand whenever you choose.
There you have it. Now, time to get going, get creative, and get your greens in for the day!
Image Source: Steven Depolo/Flickr