7 Easy & Delicious Ways to Eat More Greens Now

By on August 10, 2014

Greens are the most nutritionally dense food on the planet.

Sadly, they’re also the #1 missing food from American diets today. I bet you’re familiar with lettuce and spinach, but how often do you enjoy bok choy, chard, mustard greens? Dandelion greens? Even some weeds like purslane provide a broad array of benefits:

Why greens are powerhouses of nutrition:

  • They’re bursting with micronutrients, which are the disease fighting, immune boosting phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals found in plant foods.
  • Leafy greens are great sources of calcium, folate, iron, fiber, even protein.
  • All greens contain chlorophyll which is extremely cleansing to the body.
  • Green vegetables are most closely linked to protection from heart disease and many types of cancer in scientific studies.
  • They’re great for weight loss- they only contain about 100 calories per pound.

Unless you’ve been living underneath a rock, you’ve heard the experts singing the praises of greens. So how come we’re not eating more of them? 

  • 50 years ago, greens like kale were almost unheard of.
  • Fresh greens can go bad quickly.
  • They’re inconvenient to wash & prepare.
  • We don’t have good recipes for them.
  • We have a poor association with them from a childhood experience – strong flavor, taste bitter or tough.

Before you start adding more greens to your diet, here are some solutions to these problems.

Where should I buy greens?

The best place to buy greens is at your local farmer’s market. They’re often picked the same day of the market or the day before. Therefore, they’re at the peak of their nutritional value, they taste better, stay fresh longer, are often Organic or pesticide free, are a better value, you’re supporting your local economy and the different varieties of greens are fun to experiment with in the kitchen.
Can’t make it to the farmer’s market? These days, most grocery stores stock a variety of greens for your eating pleasure. If you’re short on time, buy containers of pre-washed greens and you can eat them right out of the package. And if you’re new to getting your greens on, opt for milder-tasting varieties like spinach, lettuces, Swiss chard and bok choy.

What are the best methods to wash and store greens?

I find the best method is to wash them all at once using a salad spinner. Completely submerging and rinsing the greens and spinning them dry, it’s the fastest and most effective way to get dirt to come off. The salad spinner also doubles as a container to store them in. To ensure that your greens stay the freshest longest, make sure they’re completely dry.
Besides the salad spinner method, you can wash them in a colander and then spread them out on a dish towel or paper towel and roll them up to absorb the moisture. To store them, put them in a zip-lock bag with a fresh paper towel making sure to release the air and they should keep for several days.

Now that you know the benefits and solutions to problems of eating greens, here are

7 Easy & Delicious Ways to Eat More Greens Now:

Breakfast:

  1. Enjoy a green smoothie or juice: It’s the fastest way to get more greens and supercharge your energy. Google green smoothie recipes and you’ll find thousands of free recipes from simple ones containing just fruit and greens to decadent shakes that include protein powders and superfoods. Here is one I designed for those new to green smoothies:
    http://www.theearthdiet.org/october-2013/mint-kreamsicle-sunrise-smoothie
  1. Whip up a green omelet or tofu scramble. Try adding shredded bokchoy, spinach or kale along with your usual veggies and fixings to bump up the nutrition of your breakfast.

Lunch:

  1. Have a wrap with a layer of green leafy vegetables inside your tortilla (raw or cooked), stuff greens into a pita or pile atop your sandwich. You can also skip the bread altogether. Collard greens, romaine lettuce and Napa cabbage leaves act as tortillas. Simply fill with your favorite wrap/ burrito fillings, roll and enjoy!
  1. Have a salad and make it delicious. Gone are the days of iceberg lettuce, unripe tomatoes and carrot shreds. Make it hearty and full of different textures like avocado, baked sweet potato, dates and walnuts. Try kale as the base of your salad. You can use your hands to massage in an avocado-based dressing or a lemon and olive oil dressing. Let it marinate for a half hour or so and then add your toppings such as tomatoes, raisins and pine nuts or pistachios right before serving.
  1. Use fresh herbs more than a garnish. They have all the same benefits that other greens do. Instead of a salad made of lettuce, use fresh basil, parsley, mint and/ or cilantro with chopped vegetables for full flavor and nutrition.

Snack:

  1. Munch on kale chips. There are so many delicious recipes online, but you can take the easy route and purchase some delicious kale chips like these online.

Dinner:

  1. Add greens to dishes you already love. Top pizza with spinach or arugula, layer them into your favorite casseroles, enchiladas or lasagna. While warming your pasta sauce, simmer in some fresh chard or beet greens. Stew greens in your favorite soup. Even a store-bought soup like Amy’s Organics with the addition of greens makes a delicious meal under 10 minutes.

TIP: Lightly steam or sauté your greens – avoid overcooking them as they’ll lose flavor .

I’ll be honest; I used to hate all green foods.

But what I found is that my taste buds changed over time. There are biochemical changes that happen as we lean into eating more natural foods consistently. If you stick with greens your tastes will change and you may find yourself craving greens as I do now!

I challenge you to eat greens at breakfast, lunch and dinner one day or more this week! 

With Love,

Emily

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About Emily Shaw

Natural Health Stylist
Emily Rose Shaw is the natural health-stylist. Blending the power of food, health, spirituality and style in a custom step-by-step process for sustainable change. She partners with creative professional women worldwide through her practice and The Earth Diet to reject dieting and discover their own natural health-style, heal emotional eating patterns, purify negative self-talk, resolve weight issues and cultivate beauty that begins within so they can feel free with food & their bodies, claim their full feminine power, confidence, creativity and rebirth a healthy relationship with food, themselves, others & the world.
emilyroseshaw.com

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