5 Super-Nutritious Greens You Should Be Eating
One easy rule of nutrition to remember: We all should be eating more greens.
There are so many different greens and so many tasty ways to eat them. I relish my spinach wilted, my kale roasted and arugula toasted.
The beauty of greens really is not only in their incredibly high nutritional value, but also in their nuances: some leaves are more delicate, others more firm, some more watery and others are more crunchy. Consequently, you are bound to like some greens and, perhaps, dislike some others. Many people love romaine lettuce, but dislike spinach. Others love arugula, but hate kale. Just like introducing a child to a new food, be sure to introduce and "try out" new/different greens to your palate a few times before you make a "not for me" decision.
All of the green leafy vegetables are great sources of vitamins such as B, C, E and K. They're rich in minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Don't let me forget to mention what an amazing source of phytonutrients greens are.
What's more, if you're diet-conscious it's worth pointing out that there are so few calories in leafy greens and so much nutrition that you can eat a lot each day. I'm looking for you to get in at least a cup of greens every day - and even two or three if you can.
Here are some tips to making the most of my favorite - and delicious - greens:
Arugula makes a gorgeous salad. It’s famous for its slightly bitter flavor and mild texture. You can replace your iceberg or romaine for a little more zip, with arugula. You can also toss a handful of arugula into a potato, pasta or tabouli salad to bump up the nutrition. Perhaps the most fun — top your pizza with a handful of arugula in the last 2 minutes of baking — the heat toasts and concentrates the leaves, which pairs perfectly on top of a slice. Want more? Here are three great arugula recipes to try:
Kale is all the rage these days. By you've probably tried kale chips. Chopped kale salads are all the latest rage because the sturdy leaves have a more hearty texture. There is a more substantial feel to kale. It is less delicate and heartier to store than other more delicate leafy greens. Instead of potato chips, roasted kale chips fit the bill when you need something crunchy and savory. For a heartier salad entree, replace your usual lettuce with finely chopped raw kale and top it with pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, hardboiled egg and a little shake of sesame seeds. Top it with lemon and a splash of olive oil. These kale recipes are great for fall:
3. Swiss Chard, Collards and Bok Choy
I'm putting these beauties together because they share similar characteristics — thicker stems and delicate leaves. They require a little more attention to prepare, so listen up. Chard, collards and bok choy are most delectable when used in stir-fries with ginger and garlic or a splash of sesame oil and sesame seeds. Separate the thicker stems from the leaves, chop them finely and toss them in the pan for a few minutes. Don't add the leaves until the final 2 – 3 minutes of cooking. You want the leaves wilted and the stems cooked, or you wind up with overcooked leaves, which are not as appetizing. You can also grill bok choy, which is delicious as a side dish: cut the bok choy in half, brush with a little olive oil and in 4 – 5 minutes you have an amazing accompaniment to your bbq fare. While I don't recommend grilling chard and collards, if you lightly steam the whole leaves, they are great wraps for whatever comes off the grill. Here are some more ideas to enjoy these delicious greens:
"Green means go!" friends. I challenge you to enjoy some new/different greens in new ways this week.
Readers - Do you enjoy eating greens or do you hate them? If you like them, what are some of your favorite greens? Will you be trying any of the greens mentioned above? What are your favorite recipes to sneak in greens? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Keri is a contributing editor and advisory board member for Women’s Health Magazine, and is the Nutrition and Health contributor for NBC’s New York Live. She is regularly featured on national television programs including NBC’s The Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, Access Hollywood Live, The View, The Talk, The Chew, Dr. Oz, The Doctors, The Rachael Ray Show, The Steve Harvey Show, MSNBC, The Fox News Channel, and CNN. Keri hosts an original series called ”A Little Bit Better” which is featured LIVESTRONG.com.
Keri resides in New York City with her children, Rex and Maizy. Whether she is training for a marathon, going to the farmers’ market, or drinking her nightly cup of herbal tea, Keri lives and breathes a Nutritious Life while inspiring others to do the same.