Leafy green vegetables are an exceptionally healthy food. They’re low in calories and are a great source of vitamins and minerals. They also provide fiber, which helps promote weight loss.
However, it can be difficult to get enough greens each day. In fact, the USDA recommends adults get at least 3-4 servings of vegetables each day and emphasizes the importance of leafy greens. Most people don’t meet this requirement.
If salads aren’t your favorite, or you’re looking for more variety, here are some ideas for getting more greens into your diet.
10 Ways to Get More Healthy Greens in Your Day
1. Make a Green Smoothie
One of the easiest ways to include more greens is to start the day strong and make a green smoothie for breakfast. I love recipes from Chelsea’s Messy Apron because she uses real, whole fruits as opposed to fruit juices. While juices can be convenient, they’re often expensive and leave out the fiber in whole fruits. Fiber is what helps you stay full and satisfied longer.
If you’re going to make a smoothie as your morning meal, be sure to add one or two protein sources to balance out the sugars in the fruits. Consider adding protein powder, hemp hearts, or a bit of Greek yogurt for a protein boost.
2. Use a Green Superfood Powder
You can get the benefits of whole leafy greens by adding a scoop of powdered greens to your smoothie, water, or favorite non-dairy milk. There are many options out there, like BrainMD’s Neuro Greens Superfood Powder, that make it easy, quick, and convenient to get enough of the key nutrients from these foods.
Powders like these can contain an entire day’s worth of fruits and vegetables, so they’re great for making sure you’re meeting your needs if you find you’re struggling to get enough veggies each day. Neuro Greens Superfood Powder also contains other superfoods like spirulina, green tea extract, and beet root, which can help promote vitality and support energy, mood, and heart health.
Keep in mind, it’s still a good idea to incorporate whole fruits and vegetables into your day when you can. These supplements cannot entirely replace fruits and vegetables in your diet but, are a convenient way to make sure you’re getting enough each day.
3. Add Spinach or Kale to Soups
Greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, and bok choy can easily be added into soups. Depending on the texture you want (hearty vs fully wilted leaves), you can sauté them before adding them into your soup to evaporate some of the water in the leaves so that they wilt.
These greens pair especially well in soups with sweet potato or hearty proteins like chicken or turkey. Italian Wedding Soup or a Sausage, Kale, and Potato soup are tasty options.
4. Add Greens to Sandwiches or Wraps
Adding a handful of greens, such as spinach or green leaf lettuce, to a wrap or sandwich is a great way to add more greens to your lunch. Spinach is a good source of iron, which is needed to support energy levels and focus.
Both green leaf and spinach have fiber in them as well. Plus, they add a crispness and texture to wraps or sandwiches that makes them more enjoyable to eat.
5. Get More Greens at Breakfast
Maybe you’re not into smoothies for breakfast, or you’ve been trying them for a while and you want more variety. Another way to include more greens is to add them into scrambled eggs, an omelet, or on top of whole wheat toast with some avocado or fresh tomato.
In an omelet or egg scramble, the options are practically endless. Spinach, kale, finely chopped broccoli, green onion, and more can be mixed in with your greens. These can be added to whatever you like in your eggs.
Cooking your eggs in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil will add some healthy fats to increase the nutrition content.
6. Don’t Kick Kale to the Curb
I’ve mentioned kale many times, and perhaps it’s not your favorite – but there are many ways to prepare this hearty leafy green that you may not know about. If you don’t like fresh kale, or the thought of it in a soup isn’t palatable, don’t give up on it just yet!
Kale has calcium, vitamin K, antioxidants like vitamin C, and more. It can help aid in healthy digestion and help with weight loss by contributing to feelings of fullness.
Kale chips can be made by roasting kale. It’s a bit tricky to get the hang of at first, but there are lots of great recipes out there.
A simple way to prepare them is to set your oven to 425 degrees F. On a baking sheet, spread out one chopped bunch of curly kale (washed well and removed from the stem). Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat the leaves. Less is more with the oil.
Sprinkle with kosher salt, a bit of black pepper, and some garlic powder and roast in the preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes. Watch it closely the last two or three minutes to make sure the kale isn’t burning.
The kale will reduce significantly in size and should be slightly brown on the edges. It shouldn’t be bright green. If it is, it needs a bit more time.
Another favorite of mine is massaged kale salad. In a medium bowl, prepare 4-5 rinsed and destemmed curly kale leaves by ripping them with your hands. Next, start rubbing ½ of a large avocado into the kale leaves until they relax and are evenly coated with avocado goodness.
You can add whatever toppings you like. I like a bit of kosher salt, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and a small handful of craisins (maybe 2 tbsp). It’s also excellent with fresh strawberries or blueberries and chopped walnuts.
If you try those methods of enjoying kale and find they just aren’t for you, perhaps spinach or bok choy are more your style. Either way, get creative with your greens so you can enjoy them and make them a sustainable part of your eating pattern.
7. Prepare On-the-go Greens Ahead of Time
An easy and efficient way to get more greens is to make them more convenient for yourself to grab. By carving out some time on the weekends (or whenever you have the time), you can set yourself up to snack well during the week. Prepping veggies ahead of time will also make you more likely to add them into soups, salads, and breakfasts.
Greens like broccoli, snap peas, edamame, celery, and green bell pepper can all be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. They usually keep for about a week before the quality starts to decline.
8. Save Scraps for Vegetable Stock
Get the most out of the entire vegetable by keeping the scraps and getting the nutrients out of them. Broccoli stalks from a head of broccoli, kale stems, spinach stems, and scraps of celery can be kept frozen and used later to make vegetable stock.
This ensures you still get the nutrients out of the vegetable, reduces waste, and makes a healthy stock that can be used in soups.
9. Freeze Greens Before They Go Bad
If greens are starting to wilt, don’t fret. You can freeze them and use them at a later date. Similar to making stock, this eliminates waste and extends the life of the vegetable.
It also locks in the levels of nutrients in the vegetable at that point in time so no more are lost as they age. Frozen spinach and kale can be sauteed, added to soups, or blended into smoothies.
10. Try Juicing
Last, but not least, is another option for getting the vitamins and minerals in your greens in a way many find easier to consume. Although this option does require having a juicer, it’s worth it if you enjoy drinking your greens but don’t want a smoothie.
Keep in mind that you do lose out on the fiber found in greens when you juice them, so that’s one downside.
Hopefully, you now have some new and creative ideas for including more greens in your diet. They have a wide range of benefits, but while most people know this, the average person still struggles to eat enough each day.
If you choose to go the supplement route, it’s best to check with your doctor first to make sure it won’t interact with any medications you’re taking.
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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