We all know that vegetables are good for us, but sometimes we don't eat as many as we should. Statistics show that only 27% Americans eat their daily 3 servings of veggies or more which decreases the chance that you are getting your healthy daily dose of green and lean veggies. Green veggies, with the exception of peas, are low in calories and high in fiber, therefore making a great meal or snack to help keep us lean. In addition, leafy greens such as spinach, collard greens, and broccoli contain vitamin K and iron, the latter of which helps decrease your risk of developing anemia, which can lower your energy levels and immune system. Below are some ways to add greens to your meals in a way where you will be asking for more instead of dreading to eat them!
1.) Create a flavorful salad: You may say, "Blah, a salad!" Don't speak too soon though since a salad with some spinach leaves can be made into a creative and delicious work of art. Add in some romaine lettuce, tomatoes, some fruits such as sliced strawberries, blueberries, mandarin orange slices, or raisins, top with feta cheese or grated parmesan, add in some diced tofu or chicken, and finish with some ground black pepper and some vinaigrette for a salad like you have never had before!
2.) Saute for a delicious side dish: On medium heat, add in about a teaspoon of butter for every cup of greens, saute some minced garlic and/or onions until the onions are transparent, and add in fresh greens and cook until they start to wilt. Lower heat and add in a little salt, pepper, and other spices of your liking for a delicious and nutrient-rich side dish!
3.) Top on a pizza or hot sandwich: Instead of piling your pizza or sandwich high with fattening meats, replace with some diced broccoli and spinach leaves, and maybe even some basil and tomatoes (tomatoes aren't green, but good for you nonetheless!) for an extra bit of flavor and a lot less calories and fat!
4.) Puree and spice for a flavorful soup: Take your cooked spinach, greens, or broccoli, add in some spices such as garlic, ground pepper, chili pepper, or cumin, along with some low-fat milk and cheese, puree in a blender, and cook on medium heat to create a creamy, delicious soup that will have your tastebuds craving more greens! (Note: before adding puree to saucepan, for every cup of pureed veggies, melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon of flour to saucepan on medium heat to create a thickener base, and slowly add in pureed veggies on medium heat, stirring constantly to create a creamy soup texture).
5.) Blend with fruits for a nutrient-rich smoothie: Add spinach to a blender full of strawberries, apples, and/or berries, add milk or yogurt, add a bit a honey, and blend for a delicious smoothie full of sweet flavor and chock full of vitamins and nutrients!
6.) Cook with tomato-based sauces for a filling and flavorful topping to pasta or rice: Cook up some broccoli or other greens in a saucepan before adding your marinara sauce to add volume and one of your daily doses of veggies to your pasta or rice topping!
Source: Centers for Disease Control