When it comes to veggies, the experts agree: Enjoying 1/2 to 1 cup of nutrient-rich leafy greens every day is a super smart nutrition decision. Greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber - plus they may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. Now, that’s the kind of news you can really dig into – but remember, salads are just one delicious way to enjoy leafy greens.
1. Toss leafy greens into a salad.
All the best salads start with leafy greens. In terms of veggies (and fruits), the darker the color the more nutrition in the produce. So, start all your salads with Romaine and red lettuces, baby spinach, or maybe some arugula. Then, add a variety of colorful chopped produce. Strawberries, craisins, and bananas go great with fresh spinach.
2. Chop leafy greens into a stir-fry.
Almost any vegetable works great in a stir-fry, especially when combined with thin slices of lean beef, pork, chicken, or tofu. Chopped leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and various Chinese cabbages, are the perfect addition to stir-fried dishes. Since leafy veggies cook quickly at high heat, add them just before serving the stir-fry.
3. Stir leafy greens into a hearty soup.
Soups are another easy way to enjoy leafy green vegetables. Flavorful varieties, such as mustard greens, beet greens, and kale, are especially good in bean and lentil soups. Greens also cook quickly in hot liquids, so chop them into medium-sized pieces and add 10 minutes before serving. A few greens can really jazz up canned soups as well.
4. Roll leafy greens into a sandwich wrap.
Start with a tortilla or pita bread. Choose some protein (tuna or chicken salad, sliced turkey, or roast beef, low-fat cheese, etc.). Then, add a layer of leafy greens. Romaine lettuce, baby spinach, and arugula are great greens for wraps. They’re also really tasty on top of pizza (toss lightly with olive oil or lemon juice and serve on cooked pizza).
5. Steam or sauté leafy greens into a side dish.
Fresh leafy greens can quickly be made into a delicious side for any meal. Steam and season with a little lemon juice; sauté with garlic or green onions; or microwave for 2 minutes and top with a little olive oil. For additional flavor, sprinkle lightly with cheese (feta, blue, or Gorgonzola) or chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, or walnuts).