Need some easy ways to get more greens in your diet? How about dessert? Yep. There is nothing more powerful than adding more greens to your diet! Greens are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, Vitamins A, C, E and K, folic acid and chlorophyll. Greens help purify the blood, prevent cancer, improve circulation, strengthen the immune system, improve liver function, clear congestion, improve skin quality, lift spirit, eliminate depression and increase energy and vitality. They are also high in fiber and, uhm, get things moving if you know what we mean! In Asian medicine, green is related to the liver, emotional stability and creativity. Who wouldn’t want to have all that? So, read below for 4 easy ways to add more greens to your diet to look and feel your best!
1) Start Your Day off With a Green Smoothie
One of the best ways to start your day off on the right foot is by having a green smoothie or green juice! Not only will you get a huge quantity of greens in right off the bat to supply your body with optimal nutrition but they are tasty and delicious once you get used to them. We promise you your body will begin to crave them, if you don’t love them already! All you need for smoothies is a blender and fresh, organic produce! Having a liquid meal such as a smoothie or juice for breakfast is also easier for your digestion and helps give your digestion a break so you will be assimilating nutrients better.
Celery, Banana & Cucumber Green Smoothie
- 4-6 stalks celery
- ½ cucumber
- 1 medium frozen banana
- 1-2 cups vanilla almond milk
- Handful of parsley or spinach
- Optional: maca (immunity, energy),chia or hemp seeds (Omega 3’s for brain power, focus, well-being), goji berries (antioxidants)
Blend in your blender and enjoy!!! It is so refreshing and has become my favorite morning smoothie!
Green “Power me Up” Smoothie
- 1/2 head kale (locinato or dinosaur kale is my favorite!) or spinach
- Unsweetened almond milk
- 1 frozen banana
- Handful of blueberries or goji berries (full of antioxidants)
- 2 tbsp chia or hemp seeds/powder, or flax seed oil (Omega 3’s for brain power, focus, well-being)
- Optional: 1 tbsp maca (immunity, energy), pumpkin seeds (prostrate cancer prevention for males), 1 tbsp coconut butter
Blend in blender and enjoy!
2) Have a Green Juice Every Day!
Juices furnish the body with a substantial amount of vitamins and minerals and live enzymes that bring an alkaline force into the body to help neutralize the toxic acidity that we have as a result of our modern diets. They also speed the recovery from disease by supporting the body’s own healing activities and cell regeneration, and improve the cell’s ability to absorb nutrients and eliminate waste and other toxic material from the body. So, why wouldn’t you just eat your greens? Good question! You can (and you should!) but think of your juice as your liquid vitamin for the day! When you begin to juice you will see the sheer quantity of greens that goes into one juice and you will see that there is NO WAY that you could eat the same quantity of greens as you can get in a glass of green juice! By juicing you will be able to consume a larger quantity of nutrients in proportion to your consumption. Having a green juice every day is easier (and more enjoyable) than it might sound! Of course, we recommend that you purchase a juicer and make healthy green juices every day. However, we also recognize that this is way too much for some people! So, here are all your options:
Option 1: Purchase a juicer and begin experimenting with juicing different combinations of fruits and vegetables.
Option 2: Buy juices from your local health store or juice bar. Of course, we recommend that everyone have a juicer but for those who are not ready to make that step yet, find a favorite juice bar that uses organic ingredients and is convenient. Not only are you more likely to juice if it is easy for you but it is also a great way to get to know the juices you like!
Option 3: Purchase a high-quality green powder to add to almond milk, fruit juice such as apple cider or orange juice or even water! If you are at your desk all day and unable to leave to get a juice or have an empty pantry this may be the way to go for you.
3) Make At Least One Of Your Meals a Big Salad
We just love to have a big salad for dinner! Not only will you find it satiates you but you will wake up feeling light and energized. If you like to have a more substantial dinner, then at least have a salad for lunch. Try to vary what you put in your salad each time you make it, but we basically have a fairly simple formula and choose 1-2 from each category.
Base: spinach, romaine, kale, mixed greens, arugula or a mixture of whatever greens you have!
Add ons: grated carrots, sliced tomatoes, grated beets, sliced red or yellow peppers, dulse, and, again, whatever veggie you have in your fridge!
Protein/fat source: avocados, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, pistachio nuts, macadamia nuts
Choose from each category and throw in a bowl. Dress with olive oil, lemon and a dash of sea salt and you have a delicious meal!!!
4) Serve Greens as a Side Dish or as a Part of the Main Course!
This could mean that you serve a simple green salad before your big meal or you could cook or grill a vegetable to serve in or alongside your main course. We recommend you fill 2/3 of your plate with healthy greens and the other 1/3 with whatever else you are having.There are so many greens to choose from so first of all find ones that you love! The favorite greens in our house are spinach, romaine, kale, swiss chard, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Others include bok choy, collard greens, watercress, the cabbage family, beet greens and dandelion. Lettuces such as mesclun, arugula, endive, chicory and wild greens are also included in this category. Buy what’s in season and fresh and try to have fun with it! Use bigger leaves instead of wraps, and insert fillings. Yum!
- 1 head of kale (can be red or green)
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
Preheat oven to 370 degrees. Cut kale into small pieces and wash and let fully dry so it does not wilt. Coat a casserole dish with olive oil and place the kale in the dish. Slather with olive oil and place in oven for approximately 10-15 minutes until looks a bit “crispy”. Slice a lemon and squeeze over and add a sprinkle of sea salt.
- Penne, Rigatoni, Farfalle or Shell pasta
- Head of broccoli
- Olive oil
- Parma (vegan parmesan)
- Optional: walnuts
Boil the broccoli until soft (or defrost frozen ones.) Drain broccoli in a colander and mash with a wooden spoon until it is primarily chopped into tiny pieces but do leave a few small-medium size pieces (this is the reason you do not want to use a food processor for this.) Place the broccoli in an omelet pan with some olive oil and cook for approximately 5-10 minutes on medium heat until it starts turning a bit brown or “toasty” looking. Cook pasta as noted on the package while you are cooking the broccoli. Drain and spoon up broccoli with a slotted spoon and add to the pasta. At this point you can choose to add more or less of the olive oil. Finish by adding vegan parmesan and, if you desire, a few walnuts and you have another balanced, delicious meal!
EDITORS NOTE: If you have a really picky eater on your hands.. sneak dem greens into their baked goods! Zucchini has a nearly undetectable taste when baked, so it can be added to almost anything, as can your other greens – if pureed and used sparingly. Avocados, though not really “greens”.. add creaminess to icing, puddings, smoothies, and raw pie/tart fillings – particularly those using chocolate! So consider adding a bit of kale or any other green to your avocado when using them for baking.
This chocolate lava cake uses zucchini and spinach in the recipe!
Or this Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake? Yes, please!
Article via diet and lifestyle coach, writer, raw food chef, GirlieGirl Army Blogger, and teacher Katherine Pennington from Be in Balance. We also love reading her blog Raw Mom and Hot Dog Kids for tips on how to raise healthy kids in a very unhealthy world.