Pop quiz. What food did Popeye eat to get super strength to defeat Bluto and save the day? You know the answer . . . spinach. Like many leafy greens, spinach is rich in vitamins like vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K as well as high in minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium. Kale, collards, swiss chard and mustards greens rank among the top most power-packed green leafy veggies. And if you’re wondering about your basic lettuces like Romaine, red leaf and green leaf, they make the list too.
There’s no excuse why we can’t eat our greens all the time. It’s so easy. Every grocery store I shop (Copps, Aldi, Willy Street Co-op and even Target) has fresh green produce on their shelves daily. An easy way to incorporate greens into your diet is with salads. And I don’t mean chopped iceberg lettuce with a few slices of tomato. Thanks to my wife, Heather, our typical salad has numerous ingredients, often including chick peas, sunflower seeds, cherry tomatoes, mint, arugula, black beans, cucumbers, beets, snap peas, artichoke hearts, green and black olives, bell peppers and the occasional dollop of cottage cheese. Plus you can try fun dressings too. Although I’m more of a balsamic vinegar guy.
Another idea is to go to the grocery store with meals and recipes already in mind. Instead of shopping the basics, like milk, bananas, apples, yogurt, cereal, boneless skinless chicken breast, bread, coffee, cheese (look familiar?), how about buying foods specific to a recipe that you are going to prepare that week?
Here are 4 more tips to help you eat green.
1. Try new recipes. Dust off an old cookbook, pick up a new one or go to your favorite website. I guarantee you that there’s a recipe just waiting to be tried.
2. Eat produce that’s in season. Even though you can pick up practically any produce at any time of the year, its always better when it’s in season. Especially when it’s fresh and local.
3. Have a potluck. What a great way to share new foods with friends!
4. Learn how to can and jar. I was new to this until I realized that we had enough tomatoes and bell peppers in our garden for an army. Heather had canned before so I used her trusty formula and made a big batch of salsa. Yum!
Above I have included pics from some vegetable-based recipes I’ve shared with you over the years: Pesto, Snow Peas, Seasoned Kale Chips, Split Pea Soup, Dill Pickles, Farro Salad with Asparagus, Heather’s Dragon Vegetable Platter, Zuccanoes and Garden Ratatouille.