Before I got my health and nutrition in line, I knew that 'greens' were an important part of my diet, but didn't really understand why, and dismissed it. Having a plan to follow now, where I shoot for at least 3 servings of greens a day, has made me realize just what getting in those veggies can do.
Specific benefits include:
- Green vegetables are loaded with protein (100 calories of romaine lettuce has 7.2 grams) and contain a cornucopia of micronutrients, including folate, carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin (which promote healthy vision), calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Dietary fiber from vegetables, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease.
- Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories, which means you can eat more of them...score!
- Eating a diet rich in some vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet may protect against certain types of cancers.
Not everyone is ready to give up meat, or even start incorporating greens into their daily routine. I've found a few really helpful ways to keep up my vegetable intake while keeping things interesting:
- Get fresh produce at farmer's markets. There is something really unique and special about knowing exactly where your food has just come from, and seeing the vibrant colors of produce at the markets.
- Drop the bread, go for a lettuce wrap. You can wrap virtually anything in lettuce AND get your greens in at the same time.
- Meatless Monday - Once a week, commit to serving a meal that does not include meat. This will help you start experimenting with new recipes and gain an appreciation for how much wonderful variety there is for meals without meat.
- Smoothies - I throw spinach into my smoothies often. I rarely taste it, but all the benefits are there!
I hope this was helpful! Now, off to the farmer's market!
Bonus Recipe - this is from one of my FAVORITE bloggers and makes a perfect Meatless Monday dinner.