Green leafy vegetables can help you to feel great and have more energy. They also improve your health and digestion, and are reported to stave off cancer and many other illnesses. They are calorie for calorie the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. Leafy green vegetables can be added to almost any diet. Spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens and lettuce are the most familiar of the green leafy vegetables. Each mouthful of one of these vegetables is packed with protein, vitamins (including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins), minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and fiber. Even with all these benefits, most Americans do not meet the daily required minimum suggested by USDA. Your diet should consist of 20-50% greens. By comparison, the typical American diet consists of fewer than 5% greens, on average!
Being creative is but one suggestion on a way to add more of these nutritious green vegetables to your diet. The most common way to eat leafy vegetables is a salad. Instead of the regular lettuce salad, try adding some spinach leaves with it. You can add all or any of the following (plus more you will think of): onions, radishes, olives, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, bacon bits, cheese (combine a couple different kinds), raisins, chow mien noodles, peas, and beets. I had a delicious salad with cranberries and walnuts the other day. Try different combinations and fix your salad differently every day. If you have a couple salad dressings that you like, try putting one of them on half your salad and the other on the other half. Buy some different dressings for your salad; it gets boring always having the same kind. Plus it will taste completely different with a new type dressing. Variety is the key in making green vegetables into a great side dish or main dish.
Green smoothies are an excellent way to get some of these protein rich veggies in your diet. Easy and quick to make, they are great for breakfast and snacks. Even kids who don’t like veggies will usually like a green smoothie. Some favorite greens to use in green smoothies are romaine lettuce, kale, and spinach. Suggested fruits to use in green smoothies are bananas, pears, apples, blueberries, mangos, papayas, and pineapples.
Try to make green smoothies about 60 percent greens and 40 percent fruits. If you don’t have any problems digesting fruits and vegetables, you can mix and match any combination of the vegetables and fruits listed above. If you have a sensitive digestive tract, it is best to combine only one vegetable and one fruit at a time. Put green vegetables and fruits into a blender and add just enough water to allow the blender to bring vegetables and fruits together into a smooth, creamy consistency.
Buy fruits and leafy green vegetables in large amounts, chop them into small pieces, and keep them in the freezer. This way it takes only 2-3 minutes to prepare a large portion of a green smoothie. Try to keep kale, turnip greens, spinach, and parsley on hand as well as bananas, peaches, pineapple, grapes, oranges/lemons, and different berries. You will then be on the way to a much healthier diet.