St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, which means you’re probably planning how to add touches of green to your wardrobe this weekend. Since you have green on the mind, why not think about adding some green to your diet as well? Greens are one of the stable recommendations I give to 99.9% of my patients and clients because they are packed with incredibly beneficial nutrients. Not only do they enhance the color of your plate, dark leafy greens are a great source of iron (one of the main sources for vegetarians), fibre, calcium, and Vitamins A, C, and K. Including at least one green vegetable plus a dark green leafy vegetable each day can add an impressive list of vitamins and minerals to your daily nutritional profile. So, in the name of St. Patrick, I’m hooking you up with a list of my favorite greens to add to your diet over the next few weeks, and no, Green Beer is not on the list.
Also known as, my ALL TIME FAVORITE green. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate spinach and kale, but I LOVE me some arugula. This leafy green, also known as Rocket, has a unique peppery taste that adds a kick to a salad. This green is so versatile, and can add a certain je ne sais quoi to any Plain Jane meal. I love this leafy green because it keeps so well in the refrigerator, it retains its crisp, crunchy texture after a good wash and dry in my salad spinner, and it can be thrown into pretty much any dish and the flavor blends in perfectly. My favorite ways to use Arugula? Tough call. I love throwing into a salad, tossed with Romano cheese, apple slices, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette, or on top of a homemade Margarita pizza, drizzled with a balsamic reduction. It’s also delicious with scrambled eggs or an omelette along with cherry tomatoes and some Swiss cheese. Is your mouth watering yet?
Although not a leafy green, green peppers are such an underrated vegetable in my opinion. They are packed with fibre, delicious both raw and cooked, and one cup of these delicious veggies offer 200% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C. For anyone who craves their crunchy snacks, green peppers are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense alternative to potato chips, and pair very well with a variety of healthy dips like guacamole, hummus, or greek-yogurt. Whether you’re snacking on them raw, adding them to a stir-fry, or chopping them up in a vegetable soup, green peppers can really go with anything.
I talked about the vegetables of the Brassica Family in my Women’s Health blog post, so you know I’m a fan. Brussels Sprouts are such an easy green addition and add a fall/winter feel to your meals when you’re looking for some comfort food. They pack a solid 3.5 grams of fibre per cup and can be roasted, baked, shredded, or grilled for a variety of delicious meals. Looking for a colorful salad at your next party? Combine roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato with some pomegranate seeds for the perfect combination of earthy and sweet.
It’s safe to say that Kale has stolen the thunder of its leafy green counterparts over the last few years. It’s iron-rich, and a source of calcium and fibre, making it an easy sell. It’s most popular use is in salads, giving your salad an immediate nutritional boost; however my favorite way to eat it is in the form of homemade Kale Chips. The fibrous, thick leaves make for the perfect amount of crunch when drizzled with olive oil and sea salt and baked to crispy perfection. If you’re not sold on kale just yet, try mixing thinly cut leaves in with romaine or iceberg lettuce, or cabbage, and some of your favorite salad ingredients and begin to get familiar with its flavor and texture before diving head first into a kale salad.
Ahh, the courgette. The fancy cucumber. With its fleshy exterior, cooked zucchini is oddly satisfying, even though it comes in at only 30 calories. Zucchini is a great source of fibre, folate, potassium, and manganese. They are the perfect vegetable to grill on the barbecue when spring and summer finally show their faces, and pair very nicely with spaghetti squash, egg plant, or roasted potatoes.
Leeks are not the most recognized vegetable, which is surprising considering they are in the same family as garlic and onions – two vegetables that most people use in abundance. Leeks are rich in folate, as well as antioxidants such as polyphenols, which makes them appealing for anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits. Leeks are extremely versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked. Slicing them up thin and adding them to a salad, adding them to soups and stews for added flavor, and sauteing them with other vegetables and topping with lemon juice and thyme are just a few of the delicious ways to incorporate leeks into your regular diet.
Six vegetables. All green. All delicious. Which new green veggie are you planning to add to your diet this month? Share your posts and pictures with Lifeberry and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more tips and healthy tricks to make your day just a little bit healthier!
Have a safe St. Patty’s Day, everyone!