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7 Ways to Add Leafy Greens into Your Diet
Written by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci
It’s classic “mom” advice: Eat your greens. And you know what? Moms are right!
In fact, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you, if you want to stay slim and healthy for your whole life, is to load your plate with greens every day. Here’s why:
The fiber in greens fills you up, so you eat less and stay slim.
That same fiber reduces blood sugar swings, helps to regulate your cholesterol, and keeps you regular.
The vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients in greens do everything from protecting your skin from sun damage to keeping your bones strong to lowering your risk for cancer.
So working leafy greens into your diet every day is really, really important. However, I know that over time, you can develop “salad fatigue.” (Believe me, I’ve been there.) And even green drinks and veggie-filled smoothies can get a little old, if you eat them every day.
But not to worry! If you find yourself getting burned out on salads, green drinks, and smoothies, here are seven other easy ways to work greens into your diet.
You can use all sorts of greens in place of bread—for instance, Romaine, cabbage, and even blanched collard greens.
To make a basic wrap, simply load your leaves with a high-quality, additive-free lunch meat. Add some sliced tomato and avocado (and any other extras you like), and slap on a little mustard, sriracha, or avocado mayo. Then fold everything up into a “burrito” or “taco” shape, and voila!—you have a super-healthy, low-carb sandwich. For variety, try egg salad or tuna salad, or go gourmet with an Asian lettuce wrap like this one at Paleo Plan.
Make kale chips.
These are fast, easy, and crunchy, and even people who hate kale love them. The only trick is to watch them very carefully, so they don’t burn. Here’s my recipe, and here’s a more sophisticated version to try on the grill.
Cook up a frittata.
Frittatas have so many advantages: They’re delicious, they’re versatile, and they’re simple. And here’s another point in their favor: They’re a terrific place to add those greens! For instance, check out this recipe over at Paleo Grubs for a “BLT Frittata” using spinach, kale, or chard.
Cook your greens.
For a change of pace, serve cooked greens instead of a salad. Here are two easy ways to do it:
If you’re cooking a tender green such as spinach or bok choy, a quick sauté or stir-fry will do the trick.
If you’re cooking bitter greens such as collards, dandelion greens, or turnip greens, you can saute them with pork fat or bacon and then cook them in chicken broth (preferably bone broth, of course!) until they’re tender. Here’s a good guide from the Kitchn.
One reminder: If you cook your greens with bacon, be sure to use a nitrate-, sugar-, and gluten-free bacon.
Stir greens into soups and sauces.
This is a great way to work an extra serving of greens into your daily diet. For instance, stir sautéed spinach into tomato sauces, or add a little pureed spinach, kale, or Romaine to soups.
Seriously! Here’s a recipe at Paleo Mom that combines spinach, carrot juice, avocado, bananas, oranges, and lemon juice to make yummy popsicles that both kids and grownups will love.
Go for microgreens.
Microgreens are simply lettuces and other greens harvested when they’re just a few weeks old. These little greens are nutrition bombs, containing up to 40 times more nutrients than full-grown greens. You can toss them into wraps, use them to garnish soups and stews, or nibble on them out of hand.
With all of these options, you’re bound to find something you like. And whether you hide your greens in soups, turn them into chips, make them into wraps, or sneak them into sauces and soups, you’ll get the same slimming, healing power. So if you’re burned out on salads and green drinks, don’t abandon those greens… transform them!
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