It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with the foods we eat. Sticking to our “usual suspects” might feel safer than reaching out to try something new. There are times when I want to toss a new veggie into my basket, but it’s unfamiliar to me and I think to myself, “I don’t even know how to prepare this!”
It’s surprising how the addition of a few new veggies or fruits can be so health enhancing. By consuming a new panel of nutrients, we are giving our bodies vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients that we have, perhaps, been lacking due to our culinary monotony.
Today, I want to encourage you to try some new greens! A few of these, you probably eat on a regular basis….but others may have flown under your radar. Greens, in general, are nutritional superstars. They are the base upon which I encourage clients to build every meal, including breakfast! Greens contain an array of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, anti-oxidants. They are full of fiber, are very low in calories, and contain compounds that help TURN OFF the inflammatory response in the body….now THAT is amazing. Steamed, sauteed, raw, roasted, or simmered, greens are life-givers. Let’s take a closer look at a few varities and see their unique characteristics.
SWISS CHARD: Swiss chard is actually a root vegetable that is cultivated for its’ leaves. Swiss chard can make a fabulous side dish, soup addition, or salad green. It’s a great source of minerals (which are crucial for good health), including magnesium and potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and phosphorus. Rich in vitamin K and antioxidants, this green may play a role in the prevention of some cancers, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. My program, “The Anti-Diet” has a delicious Swiss Chard and white bean soup that’s a client fave!
MUSTARD GREENS: Often overlooked, these greens can help detoxify the blood and liver, provide protection for the skin and eyes, and are a great source of vitamins C and K. Packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, mustard greens are a must try. I love the flavor of mustard greens….it’s unique and spicy….a welcomed “kick” to milder choices. I saute these greens in olive oil with onion and garlic. Then, I add veggie or chicken stock and simmer for about 45 minutes. I always add hot sauce…. and serve over a bed of cauliflower rice. Yummy.
KALE: Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef! This green is rich in vitamins A, & C, and full of calcium, fiber and sulphur. Kale is also a fabulous liver detoxifier! It contains high levels of antioxidants. With 10% RDA of omega-3 fatty acids it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Try this recipe with rock-star kale: Coarsely chop 6 cups of kale in food processor. Add 1/2 cup toasted almonds and 1/2 cup raisins. Coarsely grate 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, salt & pepper. Toss with Kale and other ingredients. My husband and I often fight over the leftovers of this salad!
DANDELION GREENS: Yep! Those annoying little “weeds” in your yard are actually pretty spectacular. These greens are rich in vitamin A for eye health, decrease water retention and bloat, and have been shown to inhibit fat absorption! Sign me up! Dandelion greens have lots of fiber, so they promote satiety…that feeling of being full. They can also lower triglycerides and help prevent liver damage.
I encourage you to try a new green this week….cheers to that!