Healthy greens are necessary part of our diet, we know this already, so it’s important to find lots of yummy ways to eat them. It can be overwhelming to think of ways to eat them beyond just a salad. Don’t stare into a sad bowl of iceberg lettuce with a few shreds of carrot – there are so many delicious ways to get your green on – or in?
Leafy greens are low in fat and high in dietary fiber. They are rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and phytochemicals such as lutein and beta-carotene. They also pack quercetin, a bioflavonoid with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. With all of these benefits, greens leave you glowing and balanced.
Let’s explore some sneaky and tasty ways to fit more healthy greens into our daily meals!
1. Prep right away
Buying greens is easy – having them ready-to-go is half the battle of getting them into your diet. Don’t toss that gorgeous bundle of kale into the fridge the moment you get home from the store – take 5 minutes to wash and chop your greens, and store them in a container in the fridge. That way you can grab your prepped greens and toss them into any of the recipes below, saving you lots of time!
I love to start my day with a green smoothie. My favorite greens to add to smoothies are spinach and kale – Spinach blends really nicely into smoothies, and using kale gives you an extra green punch! Plus, it’s smart to diversify the greens you eat. Blend your greens and liquid (water or alt milk) together before adding anything else to make sure your greens are completely liquefied, and you don’t end up with a chunk of spinach in your teeth!
3. Scrambled Eggs
Eggs are a breakfast staple for many of us, and you may not realize that eggs are a prime place to throw in a handful of chopped leafy greens. Try adding 1 tsp minced garlic, 2 tbsp chopped onion, and a handful of kale to your pan while scrambling eggs. You can also add mushrooms, halved cherry tomatoes, and fresh or dried herbs to make your eggs even more delicious and filling. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Voila!
Salads are an obvious choice, but they don’t have to be boring. Dress up a simple kale salad with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and scallions, or add in some halved cherry tomatoes and cubes of luxuriously rich avocado. When you add yummy toppings on your salad, you’ll be more excited to eat it and you’ll feel more satiated afterwards. Try this Wild Kale Salad.
Kale and chard are my leafy greens of choice to add to soups because they hold up much better to the heat than other greens. Try adding a handful of chopped leafy greens to chili or any broth-based soup a few minutes before serving. A simple soup with chopped kale, chicken broth, Italian sausage, and veggies is a meal prep staple – Soup is a great meal-prep option because it keeps well in the refrigerator and you can easily spoon it into individual containers to grab and go.
6. Hummus or Bean Dip
Hummus and dips are two awesome places to whip in some extra greens – you won’t even know they’re there (aside from the beautiful color)! This is one of the best foods to add a huge handful of herbs. Basil, cilantro, and parsley are all flavor-packed options with incredible health benefits. You can also add some spinach for even more green superpowers. Bonus points of you dip green veggies in your green dips! Try cucumbers, celery, green bell peppers, and blanched asparagus.
7. Sauces & Pesto
Pesto is my favorite way to eat greens because I love basil so much, and there are so many other sauces and chutneys that include bunches of herbs and fresh greens. This has to be the most flavorful category on this list. All you need is a food processor or high-speed blender, your herbs of choice, and some aromatics like lemon, garlic, and chilies. Add a drizzle of olive oil to get everything moving in the blender, and you’ve got a gorgeous sauce to top veggie burgers, grilled chicken, roasted fish, or veggie and grain bowls.
8. Greens bowl
Greens bowls are popping up on menus everywhere, and they’re super easy to make at home. Simply pick your favorite grain, like quinoa or brown rice, and top with the greens and green vegetables you love. Try one of these combos:
• Quinoa + swiss chard + asparagus + peas and pea shoots with a squirt of lemon and sprinkle of chili flakes
• Forbidden rice + broccoli + bok choy + celery + Thai basil with a drizzle of tamari and Sriracha
9. Butter Lettuce Tacos
Tacos are one of my favorite foods ever, but I’m not always in the mood for a heavy tortilla – this is where butter lettuce comes in. Butter lettuce is actually the most tender and luscious lettuce in existence, and bonus points to mother earth for creating the perfect leaf that also holds together for foods like tacos and lettuce wraps. When you bring your butter lettuce home, carefully remove each individual leaf and give them a good rinse. Pat dry and pile high with your taco fillings of choice. Butter lettuce is also a great vessel for BBQ pulled pork or lettuce wraps! Recipe here.
Ever heard of Caesar Salad pizza? It’s the bomb! Homemade pizza is a quick and easy weeknight dinner – simply pick up premade pizza dough from Trader Joe’s or another store that carries it. Top with your favorite sauce (+ pesto for more greens!) and toppings, and add a handful of shredded greens on top. Bake till the crust is golden and your greens are a little crisp.
To make a Caesar Salad pizza, top your pizza crust with olive oil, Italian cheese blend, and Italian herbs. While it’s baking, prepare a Caesar salad with fresh romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, fresh parmesan, and optional grilled chicken. Top the baked pizza with the salad, and enjoy!
11. Wraps and Sandwiches
If you love to have a wrap or sandwich for lunch, then this is the tip for you. Wraps and sandwiches are great foods to bring for a work lunch, and they’re also an easy place to add some extra greens. Try experimenting with leafy greens to see what you like – spinach, lettuce, spring mix, and arugula are all great choices for a sandwich. You can even use avocado rather than mayo for a healthy substitution.
12. Stir Fry
Stir fry is the best place to pack a bunch of vegetables – green or rainbow-colored. To make a green stir fry, use any combination of broccoli, bok choy, green beans, peas, broccolini, snap peas, and kale or spinach with green aromatics like lemongrass, basil or Thai basil, lime juice, plus a drizzle of tamari or soy sauce.