If you’re thinking about swearing off all foods but kale salad to meet your healthy living goals, think again. There are more delicious (and nutritious) ways to weave greens in so you can look forward to healthy eating and not feel deprived.
First off, know not all greens are created equal — some are difficult for us to digest, which actually means we don’t absorb all the nutrients they offer. Also, different greens have different nutritional properties and flavor values. Some greens are spicy and warming (say, arugula), while others are cooling (like butter lettuce). It’s best to diversify your leaves to get the most punch out of your produce.
SPIN INTO SMOOTHIES
Spinach, kale, collards and herbs are all great candidates as smoothie supplements. Grab a handful and blend them with the other fruits, veggies or bases in your favorite smoothie recipe and reap the benefits of convenient, alkalizing greens.
BAKE/WHISK WITH EGGS
Your morning routine is a perfect place to hide super-powered greens — specifically, in your eggs. If you’re a scrambler, sauté them in. Fried eggs? Flash them in a pan for a moment before you add your egg and enjoy them on the side. Baking eggs with greens is also a great way to enjoy them.
TURN THEM INTO A TOPPING
Forgo the bowl of salad and sprinkle super greens over your toasts, grain bowls or whatever take-out you’ve got for lunch. A handful of spicy arugula, chopped spinach or baby kale is great, but microgreens and sprouts are convenient and packed with nutrition, too.
STIR INTO SOUPS
No matter the warming concoction on your menu, stirring in a handful of greens makes it a meal. Spinach, collard greens, kale, chard, arugula, bok choy — each of these greens wilts quickly in warm liquid, meaning you don’t need to cook them separately to enjoy. Just chop, stir and slurp.
SWAP AS SNACKS
Snacking on green stalks can be lackluster (though crunchy celery is a super way to perk up your afternoon), but toasted greens can be a great way to get the goods. Try the recipe below with kale, Brussels sprouts or another favorite bold, leafy green.
- 1 large bundle curly green or purple kale
- 1–2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- Pinch of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 225°F (107°C). Rinse the kale, then dry completely with a towel, patting gently and discarding any large stems. Tear the leaves into small pieces. Add the torn leaves to a large mixing bowl, then drizzle with oil and seasoning. Mix with hands to distribute the seasoning evenly. Spread the kale on two large baking sheets, ensuring the kale touches as little as possible to help the leaves crisp.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the pans around and lightly toss to ensure even baking. Bake for another 5–10 minutes until the kale is crispy and faintly golden brown. Watch carefully as the kale burns easily.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. The chips will crisp up more once removed from the oven.
Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container for up to two days.
Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 96; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 53mg; Carbohydrate: 6g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 3g