How to Get More Greens
If you’re looking for simple hacks for how to get more greens in your diet, this is the list for you. Let’s face it—we could all use more fiber, nutrition, and antioxidants in our systems, fighting off the bad guys (we’re talking free radicals, bad bacteria, and viruses).
According to 2013 state and national surveys in the US, only 8.9% of Americans are meeting their daily recommended vegetable intake. This shockingly low percentage is actually not that shocking when you learn that a third of Americans are overweight or obese.
TWEETABLEOnly 8.9% of Americans are meeting their daily recommended vegetable intake Click To Tweet
And even though awareness is on the rise, we are still not consuming the recommended 2-4 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of vegetables per day.
Whether you’re looking to spruce up your drinks and meals, or you just need to put a check-mark in the “eat more veggies” box, we have the solution for you.
Here are 6 ideas for how to get more greens in your diet.
1. Go Green With Your Juice or Smoothie
Blending or juicing vegetables is actually the best way to maximize on all the nutrients they have to offer. Juicing increases the bioavailability of the nutrients by breaking down their cell walls. The nutrients are then free to enter directly into the blood stream and bypass the digestion process where many of them get lost along the way.
For a perfectly sweet green smoothie, add 3 cups of greens (e.g. spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens etc.), 2 cups of liquid (e.g. almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, water, etc.) and 1 cup of fruit (bananas are an ideal smoothie fruit!).
2. “Soup Up” Your Soups and Stews
Adding leafy greens to a soup or stew is a great way to bulk it up with something nutritious—without the extra calories.
Leafy greens should be added to a soup or stew at the end of the cooking process, as they wilt relatively quickly—some faster than others. Spinach, for example, need only be added to a simmering soup a minute before it is taken off the flame. Bulkier leafy greens, like kale or collard greens usually take a bit longer to become tender—they can be added half an hour before the soup is taken off the flame.
Leafy greens pair well with sausage or smoked meat in a soup or stew. For a great kale soup recipe, try this Kale, White Bean, and Sausage Soup.
3. Green Eggs
Start the day off with a healthy breakfast, and you set precedent for a healthy day. It’s so easy to sneak leafy greens into an omelet or a frittata that you’ll barely notice it’s there—and you’ll feel great about eating it.
If you’re adding spinach to an omelet with other veggies, first sauté everything but the spinach and then add the spinach as the other vegetables become ready. Stir around for 15-30 seconds until the spinach wilts and add the egg.
For a grab-on-the-go version that you can make ahead of time, try these spinach quiche cups that are really just baby omelets in muffin form!
4. Become a Green Pasta Master
Pasta is the ultimate comfort food. If you want to comfort your mind and your body at the same time, adding greens to your pasta is a great way to get your comfort and your nutrients at the same time.
There are many different ways to incorporate greens into a pasta dish. If you have a go-to pasta recipe or sauce that you don’t plan on betraying, just add your greens to the simmering pasta water a few minutes before straining and season as usual.
5. Upgrade Your Burger Patties or Meatballs
This method is definitely for people that are looking to sneak in the greens unnoticed. Whether you’re making beef, chicken or vegetable burger patties (or any type of meatball), adding chopped spinach is a great way to up the nutrient intake without compromising on flavor.
6. Add Spirulina to Your Diet
If you’re wondering how to get more greens in your diet and you haven’t yet heard about spirulina, you’re missing out on the healthiest food in the world. That’s right, we said it!
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that contains over 65 nutrients including all essential amino acids and ten nonessential amino acids. Spirulina is up to 70% plant protein, very low in calories, and very high in benefits.
TWEETABLESpirulina is a blue-green algae that contains over 65 nutrients including all essential amino acids Click To Tweet
Studies show that spirulina can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar; fight cancer; ward off viruses; aid in weight loss; prevent pain and inflammation; boost immunity; improve and protect brain function; increase strength and endurance; and control allergies.
That’s a lot of good in a little dose of this incredibly potent superfood.
A Final Word From Energetic Lifestyle
Once you start adding leafy greens to your diet, you’ll realize how easy it can be to reach your daily nutrition goals. It doesn’t take too much effort to add a handful of spinach to your blender, or a few cups of kale to a soup.
Other recipes that can benefit from some added leafy greens include quiches, casseroles, stir fries, and even grains, like rice.
Once you’re accustomed to the flavors and the concept, you’ll find yourself adding leafy greens into everything!
Which method do you use to make sure you’re getting all the greens you need? Let us know in the comments below!