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Healthy Lifestyles that Last Blog

Have You Had Your Green Today?

Green is the color of spring, rebirth, renewal and represents balance and growth. If you're eating with the seasons it's time to focus on the green and restore your energy levels.

Greens are in season! Spring is peak season so pick some up at your local market or grocer. You can even grow some yourself in a matter of weeks. Leafy greens are versatile and can be cooked or eaten raw. They range in flavors from sweet to peppery and have many culinary uses. Try one of these today:

  • Collards*
  • Chard*
  • Arugula
  • Escarole*
  • Kale
  • Turnip and beet greens*
  • Spinach
  • Watercress

*Best when cooked (sautéed, braised, steamed, etc.). Young chard can be eaten raw in salads but mature chard will taste better when cooked. Sauté these greens with oil and garlic and a splash of lemon.

Since spring greens are packed with flavor, it's a good idea to dress your greens and not smother them.

Check out these simple Homemade Vinaigrettes (PDF Version)

Making your own vinaigrette is an easy way to add life to your salads. They can be sweet, savory, spicy and even warm or cold. For salad ingredients with a stronger flavor such as spicy greens, bacon, and eggs choose a vinaigrette that can stand up to those bold notes with an equally savory flavor (#1). For mild salad ingredients such as sweet lettuces and fruits choose vinaigrette that will complement them and not overpower (#2). Below are three examples to get you started.

1.4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil + 1 Tbs Dijon mustard + 2 Tbs red wine vinegar + 1/2 lemon, juiced + 2 Tbs chives, minced + 2 Tbs shallots, minced — (SAVORY)

2.1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil + 1/2 lemon, juiced + 2 Tbs honey + 1/4 cup fresh herbs, minced (ex: basil, parsley, oregano, chives) + salt and pepper to taste — (SWEET)

3.1 garlic clove, minced + 1 Tbs ginger, grated + 3 Tbs rice wine vinegar + 3 Tbs sesame oil + 3 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce + 1 Tbs scallion, chopped + 1 Tbs honey or orange juice — (ASIAN-INSPIRED)

Greens are NUTRIENT DENSE which means you can eat several bowls and get LOTS of nutrients but not many calories (5-40 calories per cup). Dark green leafy vegetables are rock stars when it comes to nutrition. They top the charts in:

  • Vitamins A, C, K
  • Fiber
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Potassium

Greens are also high in phytochemicals such as lutein which help protect the eyes from age-related macular degeneration.

How much should we get? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating 1.5 cups each week so eat them often!

I eat something green every day. If I don't have a salad at lunch, I will most likely have one with dinner. They are digestive aids and keep my tummy happy.


What is your favorite leafy green from the list below? Do you get the recommended 1.5 cups of leafy greens every week?


You may also like this recipe- Honey, Greens and Goat Cheese Pizza

*Greens have a high vitamin K content. Large amounts may interfere with the effects of blood thinners like warfarin. Anyone taking these medications should consult with a doctor or registered dietitian nutritionist