I seriously can’t believe spring is already here – it seems like just yesterday I was dusting off my pumpkin knife and looking for any and all excuses to put the oven to some loving use. But the flower buds outside have a schedule to keep. And as for the rest of us, it’s time to get recharged and re-greened.
Greens are becoming more and more popular lately, not only because they’re super nutritious, but because they’re super delicious too! Excitingly, it’s easier than ever to get the vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and alkalizing antioxidants that greens provide in inventive ways that go beyond “just a salad.” Here are a few of my key ways to keep my favorite food group in constant rotation – and ensure that this spring is energizing, clean, healthy and green!
5 Great Ways to Get Green:
1. Bars: If you eat energy bars, don’t short-change yourself with ones that just have natural ingredeints … make sure they contain some kind of green powder as well (like freeze-dried vegetables, chlorella, grasses, etc.) You won’t taste a difference, and you’ll get all the benefits of green! (Of course, you can always just make your own, too.)
2. Wraps: Time to ditch the tortilla, taco shell or bread. Instead, try using a big green leaf such as swiss chard, collard greens or kale to wrap up your favorite savory fillings. These leaves make a fantastic natural wrapper, contain very few calories, and add plenty of nutrients.
3. Smoothies: It’s no secret that one of the smartest tricks amongst healthy know-how’s is the great “Green Smoothie.” By blending up handfuls of mild greens (like spinach) with sweet fruits (like pears, apples, bananas, or mangos), the vibrant color may just be the only giveaway that your fruity treat is full of the extra good stuff.
4. Sauces: Customize a pasta sauce with some hearty minced kale or spinach. My method: saute finely chopped greens for 1-2 minutes in a little safflower oil and minced garlic to soften, then stir them into the finshed sauce-of-choice for an exceptionally tasty and textural addition.
5. Plate fillers: You’ve probably heard dietitians recommend portioning out foods groups by size: such as a serving of cereal equaling the size of your hand. In the case of greens, aim to make them cover the base of your plate (placing the entree on top of the green bed). Not only will they instantly make your dish look more beautiful, the greens will also lend an extra-tasty touch (green vegetables go with almost everything). Try lightly-dressed arugula, fresh and peppery watercress, or marinated kale for a seriously boosted plate.