Welcome back! If you are Hungry for a Fresh Start in the New Year you're in the right place.
This is the time for new beginnings! With the arrival of the New Year and spring feeling just around the corner, this is the perfect time to act on goals and intentions and to set a solid foundation for our health.
Today let’s take advantage of this clean slate to make a fresh start - Let's Get Green!
Did you know that leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses?
Leafy Green Vegetables are:
- Ideal for weight management as they are typically low in calories.
- Low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, all of which make these vegetables very useful in reducing the risk of certain health conditions and diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
- Packed with phyto-nutrients, such as lutein,and beta-carotene, which help to support our immune system, protect our eye sight and boost our radiance with the production of healthy skin, teeth, nails and hair.
- Associated with a lower risk of diabetes due to their high magnesium content and low glycemic index.
- A major source of iron and calcium (with the exception of Swiss chard and spinach are not considered good sources of calcium, due to their high content of oxalic acid).
- High dietary fiber which helps to improve our digestion and regulate our bowel movements. Yup! Did you know we're all meant to poop at least once a day?
- Full of Quercetin a flavonoid which offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that may help to block substances involved in allergies and auto-immune responses.
- Found in a wide variety of colors from the bluish-green of kale to the bright green of spinach.
- Higher in nutrient value the darker the color.
- Found in a range of flavors from sweet to bitter and peppery to earthy.
When selecting fresh leafy greens:
Choose those with crisp leaves and a vibrant green color. Yellowing is a sign of age and may indicate cause the greens to have an off flavor.
Younger plants generally have small, tender leaves and a mild flavor. Many mature plants have tougher leaves and stronger flavors.
Fresh is best but frozen are convenient to have on hand and can be added in a pinch to soups, stews, smoothies or a stir fry.
Find leafy green vegetables at your local farmer's market, at the grocery store produce department or in the frozen foods section.
When choosing the right flavor and texture:
Looking for a milder flavor?
Collards, Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, bok choy, and spinach
Enjoy something spicy or peppery?
Arugula, mizuna, watercress and mustard greens.
Need crisp texture and neutral flavor?
Bok choy remains crisp and has blends well with other flavors.
Let's Get Green! Add a bit of green to your day with kale, collards, watercress, spinach, Swiss chard, arugula or cabbage. Here's my handy list of Leafy Green Vegetables.
Looking for ways to sneak these dark leafy greens into your day? Here are a few of my favorite quick and easy recipes to get you started:
- Blend it in: Add frozen kale or spinach to your fruit smoothie for a delicious twist - you can't taste the greens but you'll still get the nutrients.
- Green Smoothie
- Toss it up: Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach, watercress and arugula taste great when mixed in a salad. Add veggies, nuts, seeds, fresh and dried fruit to create your own unique and flavorful dish.
- Raw Kale with Balsamic, Simplest Kale Salad
- Make it a Wrap: Make a wrap with tuna, chicken, or turkey and add romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula, and watercress for flavor and texture.
- Provolone Quinoa Wrap
- Add to Soup: Mix a cup of leafy greens such as collard greens, kale or mustard greens into your favorite soup. Or simply float a few baby spinach leaves in top.
- Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
- Saute and Stir-fry: Add chopped leafy greens, bok choy or broccoli to your next stir-fry.
- Simple Sauteed Kale,
- Steam: Steam collard greens, beet greens, kale, or spinach. Add water to a pot and place a steamer with the vegetables into it. Next, bring the water to a simmer, cover with a lid, and wait a few minutes until your vegetables are slightly soft.
- Bake: Sprinkle kale with a bit of olive oil and sea salt for a crispy, crunchy, green leafy snack. Or bake them into these delicious muffins.
- Crispy Kale Chips, Sweet Greens Muffins
The goal is to include at least a ½ cup of dark green leafy vegetables in our day for a tasty way to boost our health and kick-start our New Year!
Each day this week we'll set daily nutrition habits that will reward us with renewed energy, radiance and optimal health. Whether we want to drop unwanted pounds, boost our energy, defy our age or simply eat healthier, each day this week we'll learn a new quick, simple tip for including vegetables into our daily routine. Making these healthy choices each day will move us toward our goal for the Year of the Dragon in 2012.
I'm excited to hear how you Get Green! and add these flavorful, low-calorie, nutrient-rich greens to your snacks, sides, soups, smoothies and yes, even to your breakfast! Please share your comments, recipes and tips.
ENJOY your Tuesday and I'll see you back here tomorrow as we learn how to Get Inclusive!
In Health & Friendship,
Want more?! Order your FREE Nutrition Book now.
We have partnered with, Dr. Joe and Stacey Merlo, D.C. who will be sharing these simple tips with their community at Good Vibrations Family Chiropractic all week-long. Stop in to their Kensington offices at Good Vibrations Family Chiropractic, voted Best San Diego Chiropractor.
Looking for more simple ways to incorporate vegetables into your day, including personalized recipes, meal plans and lists of seasonal vegetable choices for your local area? My 6 month program offers all of these delicious tips taylored-just for-you.
In-person, telephone and Skype consultation available. Contact Clea Shannon, certified holistic health coach and gluten-free guide.