Appreciate the Power of Greens in a Plant-Based Diet

The earth isn’t half green for no reason! You were meant to eat greens. In fact, half of your plate at mealtime and at least half of what you eat daily from the plant world should be green.

Greens are the life force of the vegetable kingdom. Green leafy vegetables like kale, collards, Swiss chard, and spinach carry with them all the nutrients you need to thrive. They have everything from protein to trace minerals to calcium, and so much more — and guess what? They’re low in calories!

You can eat as many of them as you want, and they only help you get healthier. How is that for a deal? There are many ways to make them taste good, too! You don’t have to chomp through them in their plain state like a horse — no! You can get these guys into your body in myriad ways, from juices and smoothies to soups, sandwiches, salads, and more.

These powerful vegetables are the key to health. They help enliven and enrich your cells from the inside out. As long as they’re kept in their prime and not overcooked (meaning, staying green and not grey or brown), they can give you all the goodness they have.

Here are the best greens to start with, from sweetest to most bitter:

  • Lettuce

  • Spinach

  • Broccoli

  • Kale

  • Swiss chard

  • Bok choy

  • Collards

  • Arugula

  • Dandelion greens

  • Mustard greens

And here are some ideas of where you can add greens:

  • Green juices: Go to a store where they make fresh juices and test the waters. If you have a juicer at home, give it a go — soon, you’ll be adding greens to every juice!

  • Smoothies: Add a handful of spinach or kale to your next fruit smoothie. You won’t taste them, but you still get all the beneficial nutrients.

  • Salads: You don’t have to use just lettuce. Try chopping kale and chard into bite-size pieces and adding them to your next salad. A salad allows you to get all the enzymes and nutrients greens have to offer in their raw state.

  • Sandwiches: Dress a sandwich with any green you’d like to add a little crunch.

  • Soups and stews: You can chop up greens and add them to your soup to give it a little texture. For those picky eaters, puree the leafy greens into a soup . . . they’ll never know!

  • Stir-fries: Slice greens really thin and sauté them with olive oil and garlic, and then drop them into different recipes or serve them alongside other dishes.

  • Pastas: Add fresh greens at the end of the cook time for your pasta or sauce. Warm them up a bit to wilt them so they combine more easily with the pasta. (And the greens add a fun dose of color as well as nutrients.)

Try one new green a week. It’s important to rotate your greens because our bodies can become too dependent on the nutrients in one and then not get others. Also, you may develop an allergy or intolerance if you eat the same one for too long.

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