“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” – Michael Pollan
There’s no denying that a plant-based diet is one of the healthiest on the planet, especially one jam packed full of leafy green vegetables that are nutrient-dense, full of fiber, low in calories and containing cancer-fighting properties.
While eating a salad is a wonderful way to consume greens, it isn’t the only option. Here are some simple ways to sneak more greens into your meals:
Green smoothies are a quick and easy way to consume more greens. Many recipes call for ingredients such as cucumber, kale and spinach that contains vitamins A, C and K and minerals such as potassium, iron and phosphorous. Start the day with a green smoothie or have one as a snack. If you’re time poor, great powdered options include Vital Greens and Lifestream Ultimate Greens.
Toss them in
When preparing meals, think outside the culinary box and look for opportunities to toss in greens. Here are some examples of how you can add more green vegetables to plain meals:
- Omelettes and pancakes – add parsley, chives, spinach, green onion and kale
- Sandwiches, burgers, tacos & wraps – add different types of lettuce, herbs, watercress, arugula, sprouts, spinach, avocado and cucumber
- Pizza – add broccoli, zucchini, green capsicum, spinach and kale
- Stir-fry – add bok choy, choi sum, Chinese cabbage, string beans and broccoli
Growing herbs is easy and with an increased interest in urban gardening, most people have herbs (and sprouts) on hand in their kitchen, in pots on their balconies or growing in their veggie gardens. Basic herbs such as parsley, coriander, mint, basil, chives, thyme and rosemary can be used in many dishes, adding more flavour and increasing your green intake. Don’t forget to add herbs to:
- dressing & sauces
- cooked breakfasts
- meat balls
- burger patties
Swap where you can
Another way to increase greens is by swapping to greener alternatives wherever possible. Instead of using wraps, tacos or pastries, replace with lettuce (think san choi bao style). Rather than opting for packaged potato chips, make kale chips or zucchini chips. Make broccoli mash instead of plain potato mash.
Many of us eat out and there is nothing wrong with this so long as you aren’t always choosing fast food and eating ’white’ food options that are devoid of colour and therefore nutrients. When eating out, we suggest that you choose a restaurant that requires you to sit down so that you are able to process the menu rather than making a quick decision on the run. Also choose a restaurant that offers many fresh and whole food options. When it comes to ordering, select a dish with plenty of greens such as salads, stir-fries and wraps. If your main meal is more protein-based, make sure you order a side salad or a side of green beans to up the nutrients.
Many of us associate eating greens with ordering or preparing a salad but this need not be the case. If you implement these tips, you’ll be on your way to increasing your green nutrient intake and improving your overall health.
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