Healthy green foods are an important part of any diet as they are generally highly nutritious and offer a variety of great health benefits. However, many people avoid them as they think they are boring, don’t know what to do with them, or think they taste gross.
If you find that greens are lacking in your daily meals, here are 8 easy ways you can incorporate more – whether they are leafy greens, brassicas, other green vegetables, herbs, or green superfood powders – into your diet.
1. Smoothies & Juices
Adding green foods such as kale, zucchini, and romaine to your smoothies can be a great way to incorporate them into your diet. Try adding some fresh zucchini or avocado instead of banana to bulk out a strawberry smoothie, or add a couple of fresh kale leaves to a mango smoothie.
It is also easy to add greens to juices. Greens such as broccoli, peas, zucchini, cucumber, kale, cabbage, romaine, and collard greens can be juiced along with other ingredients to make a wonderful green juice. Check out our Green Detox Juice recipe.
2. Smoothie Bowls
Not quite a smoothie but instead more of a meal, smoothie bowls are another great way to sneak those greens into your diet. These are essentially thick smoothies poured into a bowl, topped with a variety of dried berries, nuts, seeds, coconut shreds, diced fruit, granola, and sometimes, even chocolate!
Take a look at our recipe section for some delicious smoothie bowl recipes.
Salad is one of the best ways to get greens into your diet. It can be eaten as a meal or as a side, is quick and easy to throw a salad together, and there are such a variety of greens to choose from you’ll be able to vary your salads every day.
Some of the greens that you can use to make a salad are arugula, kale, romaine lettuce, swiss chard, radicchio, collard greens, mustard greens, and mesclun. Most grocery stores carry a wide variety of these leafy greens, so you can easily and affordably create a delicious and nutritious salad. The only exception is iceberg lettuce, which is mostly water and very low in nutrients.
4. Frozen Greens
You can keep blanched greens in your freezer to have on hand at any time, such as kale, spinach, green beans, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli. Having greens in the freezer is immensely helpful when you don’t have the time to prepare or wash them. Frozen greens are great to add to soups, chili, pasta dishes, and so much more.
5. Sauces & Dips
Why not use your greens to make sauces and dips? Try adding greens, including herbs, to recipes such as pesto, guacamole, spinach dip, and hummus. Check out our recipe for Vegan Basil & Parsley Pesto for inspiration.
6. Lettuce & Collard Wraps
Instead of using a corn or flour tortilla next time you want a wrap, try using a large romaine lettuce leaf or collard leaf with stalk removed. This substitute is not only a great way to get greens into your diet, but it also reduces the calories you are consuming; great news if you are trying to lose weight.
Additionally, you can substitute leafy greens in place of a bun or pita if you are eating a veggie burger, falafels, or vegan sausage.
7. Green Powders
There are a variety of nutrient dense green powders that can significantly increase the nutritional value of whatever they are added to. Some such powders include matcha, spirulina, and chlorella. Just a fun fact, spirulina generally imparts little-to-no flavor, so it could be used as a natural green food coloring!
Add these healthy powders to recipes such as smoothies, juices, baked goods, and homemade granola. You should be able get most of these greens powders at your local health food store. Alternatively, you can buy them online at Amazon.com or iHerb.com.
8. Snack on Kale Chips
Delicious and nutritious, kale chips are a great snack. Kale chips are now widely available in heath food stores, and in some grocery stores. They come in many flavors, so you’ll be sure to find one that you love.
Or, why not try making your own in an oven or dehydrator? Pre-heat your oven at the lowest temperature. Wash, de-stem and pat dry a couple of bunches of kale, toss in a sauce or dip that you love (i.e. BBQ, vegan ranch, Classic Hummus, or Vegan Chipotle Mayo. Spread in a thin layer on a lined dehydrator sheet or baking tray and dehydrate or bake on a low heat until the kale chips are crispy. Enjoy immediately, or store in an airtight container once cooled.
Eat Those Greens!
Researchers agree that leafy greens are some of the most beneficial foods we can eat for our health. Now that we’ve looked at 8 different ways you can start incorporating more greens into your diet, why not give some of them a try. Let us know in the comments if one or more of these tips helps you!