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Get Your Greens On (I mean, in) for St. Pat's

When we think of St. Patrick’s day we think of wearing green and drinking green (how many references have you seen for green beer?) but aside from some cabbage to go with the corned beef, what about eating more green? If there is one topic in nutrition that everyone will agree on it is that green vegetables are good for you. Most will also agree they could be doing better at consuming more of them. I challenge you today to start eating more greens for the rest of the month and have included a few ways to get you started.

Drink (real) green drinks. If you are having trouble eating enough green vegetables there are ways to drink them. If you have your own juicer you can blend together some mild greens such as cucumber, celery, bok choy, lettuce, and then smaller amounts of stronger greens such as kale, spinach and parsley. A lemon and apple add nice flavor. A power blender such as a Vitamix, can make a total blended juice which will include all the fiber. No juicer or blender? Stop by your local juice bar or Whole Foods market which now offers fresh juices in most locations. Just go light on the fruity additions and stick to mostly veggies. For the less adventuresome, simply add a handful of spinach or kale to your morning smoothie.  Other simple ways to sneak in extra greens is by using powdered green drinks such as Greens First or Paleo Greens which are available at our office. Not a substitute for eating fresh vegetables but a great way to supplement your efforts.

healthy broccoli soup

Try a blended green soup such as broccoli, which is as simple as boiling a bag of frozen broccoli florets in about 2 cups of water with a bouillon cube and then pureeing with an immersion blender. Add more or less water to taste and salt, pepper and herbs to taste. I like adding fresh thyme. And of course, kids will like it with cheese.

Speaking of kids, if you are trying to sneak in more greens try finely chopping or shredding them and adding them to foods such as meatballs. Thaw some frozen spinach and squeeze out the extra water then add to any ground meat. This also works for shredded zucchini. You can easily add 2 cups of veggies per pound of meat. To get more veggies at breakfast you can also add them to scrambled eggs or egg “muffins”. Egg muffins are simply scrambled eggs with your choice of add ins such as veggies and cheese and baked in a muffin pan. I suggest using a silicone muffin pan since the baked egg mixture tends to be very sticky and tough to get out of regular pans.

Egg muffins and meatballs

The next idea is a great way to cut back on starchy breads, wraps and crackers and that is by wrapping sandwich fillings with lettuce or other leafy green. Lettuce works great for wrapping cold cuts but for tuna or chicken salad I like collard greens as they are much more durable. To make a collard “wrap” take a collard green leaf and microwave it for 30 seconds to wilt and tenderize it. Then fill it as desired and wrap like a burrito.

Making stuffed collard greens

Good luck getting in more greens and “Lettuce” know what you think of these suggestions!

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