One of the easiest things we can do to improve our overall health is to include more vegetables in our diet – in particular more greens.
Some of the reasons why it’s important to include a lot of greens in your diet are
- Leafy greens are great for bone health being high in calcium and magnesium, which helps bones to absorb the calcium
- They have a high water content, which helps to keep you hydrated and your skin and hair healthy
- They are high in vitamin C which helps to heal wounds and reduces the severity of cold symptoms. Eating vitamin C rich food also helps with the absorption of iron – great for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet
- Greens are nutritionally dense but low in calories, which makes it very hard to over eat them!
- They are a great source of beta-carotene which contributes to the growth of and repair of your bodies skin tissues, and has also been shown in some studies to lower the risk of sun damage.
- They are high in folate, great for cardiovascular health
So, what is the best way to eat your greens? I was asked this question by a client I was coaching a while back, who wanted to know how they could sneak more greens into their daily diet without just living off salads. More recently, I received an email from a reader asking a similar thing, so I thought it would be a great idea to share my suggestions – hopefully you find them useful.
- Green smoothie/juices
Juicing or pureeing your greens is one of the easiest ways to make sure you get a hefty dose in your daily diet. Try not to add too much fruit which will make your drink high in sugar, especially if juicing and removing the fibre. Instead, add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice which will boost the flavour.
- Green breakfast bowl
Blend your morning soaked grains with a handful of greens plus a little fruit, nuts and other flavourings (spirulina, cacao, cinnamon, maca etc) to make a green smoothie bowl. Top with yoghurt or coconut cream and some chopped nuts or seeds. Or alternatively, fry some greens, poach some eggs and serve with avocado, fried tofu, flaked salmon and dukkah or za’atar sprinkled on top.
- Green rosti
Grate some zucchini, broccoli and shred some leafy greens, then combine with a little flour and an egg. Combine together to make a pancake.
- Green pancakes
This one is super simple – just add a handfull of baby spinach to your favorite pancake batter. As with a green smoothie, this will change the colour but won’t alter the taste (unless of course you add a lot of spinach!)
Try – Green Smoothie Pancakes
- Baked eggs with greens
Fry up some garlic with some chopped kale, spinach, silverbeet or Asian greens. Make two holes and crack eggs into them, then bake in an oven until nearly set (or if you’re like me and have an aversion to runny yoks, a few minutes longer!)
Try – Za’atar Baked Eggs
- Breakfast frittata with greens
Fry some greens and other veggies of your choice in a little oil or butter and season with salt and pepper. Whisk 2 – 3 eggs with a tablespoon of milk and pour over the top. Add a lid and let cook through (or place in a hot oven or under the grill a few minutes).
Try – Mediterranean Frittata
- Salad with greens
An obvious option, but a good one. Try mixing up the greens you choose, from different lettuce varieties to spinach and asian greens.
- Soup with greens
Either add a handfull of greens into your soupwhile cooking, or sautee a little in oil and lemon juice and serve on top.
Try – Greens + Beans Soup
- Stirfried greens , grains and protein
Fry up a bunch of greens and toss through some cooked brown rice (or other wholegrain). Then top with protein of your choice – fried eggs, grilled tofu, fish or meat.
- Greenilicious pizza
Make a glorius green pizza with greens in the base and topping! Use a broccoli/cauliflower base, green pesto topping and top with rocket once cooked.
- Savoury vegetable loaf
Add a bunch of cooked or raw greens to the micture of your favorite savoury loaf
How do you like to include more leafy greens in your diet?