Written by Sondi Bruner from her west coast kitchen.
Spinach, kale, arugula, dandelion, chard, collards, mizuna, sorrel. Spring has definitely sprung and these are just a few examples of dark leafy greens that are starting to pop up at farmers markets all around us.
You might have already heard that greens are nutritional powerhouses, and here are a few reasons why we love them:
- Dark leafy greens are sensational sources of antioxidants like vitamin A, C and E, as well as B vitamins, calcium, iron, protein, fibre and even essential fatty acids.
- Greens are packed with chlorophyll, which is known as the blood of plants – and that means consuming them will help detoxify, purify and cleanse our own bloodstream.
- Western diets are very acidic, and acidity leaves us vulnerable to disease. Greens encourage more alkaline environments in our bodies.
But for some of us, though we know dark greens are healthy, it's hard to know how to use them. Here are a few simple, tasty ways to add more greens into your diet. You're welcome.
Green Smoothies. Toss a heaping handful of spinach, romaine or kale into your morning smoothie. If you haven't had a green smoothie before, be sure to add fruit as well until you get used to the taste. Once you're hooked, start adding a wider range of greens and cut down on the fruit. Get started with some easy peasy recipes like this one, this one and this one.
Kale Chips. Who doesn't love a healthy chip? Simply tear a bunch of kale leaves, toss them with coconut oil and add your favourite spices. Pop them in the oven at its lowest temperature until the chips are dry and crispy, or use a dehydrator if you have one. Yum. For more inspiration, check out these eight - yes, eight! - addictively famous recipes.
Frittatas. It doesn't get easier than a frittata, quiche or quin-iche (made with organic, free-range eggs, please). Steam or sauté the greens of your choice and add them to your favourite frittata recipe. Plus, frittatas are so versatile you can create them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Soups and Stews. Greens are a fantastic addition to any soups or stews. Simply chop them up and add them during the last few minutes of cooking. Once the greens are wilted, your dish is ready to be served.
Green drink powders. Not everyone is down with knocking back a green smoothie or a kale salad, and that's okay. Our fave is this one by Amazing Grass, but there are plenty of other green drink powders on the market that can increase your energy and offer a nutrient-dense punch. If you are celiac or gluten intolerant, just watch out for powdered greens that include wheatgrass, as they may not be gluten-free.
Question of the Day: How do you add more greens into your diet?