5 Ways to Incorporate More Greens in Your Meals

Countless studies indicate incorporating green, leafy vegetables into their diets every day has a significant effect on one’s well-being and health. Leafy greens are filled with critical vitamins and minerals that can help the body in resisting long-term diseases, like Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

Yet, many of us, including myself, were not raised with a daily dose of greens – unless you count iceberg lettuce as a green (which is debatable).

Trying to incorporate them into your meals and diet now as an adult can feel daunting. But fear not!

As someone who has managed to incorporate greens into about 4-5 dinners each week for the last several years, I wanted to share 5 ways to incorporate more greens into your meals, so you too can get those essential nutrients.

Greens in Soup

When adding greens to soup, I recommend kale, collards, chard, spinach, or amaranth. These greens can be fresh or frozen.

A de-ribbing of the stem, quick chop, and then toss in. They add such a nice flavor and you can give yourself a gold start for the day for including greens. Most greens are best when they are added to the last 10 minutes, or so, to your soup. Try this Lebanese-Style Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard

Bonus: Add greens that have become floppy and forgotten about in your fridge. You won’t notice the difference! It’s a great way to reduce your kitchen waste and still get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals from the greens.  

A soup in the crockpot with chopped kale, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, and black-eyed peas

Rice and Greens 

An easy and adaptable meal is a mix of grains (ex: rice) and greens (ex: kale). While this combination of tastes and flavors may seem simple, it can have as much variety as you like.

Choose your grain, like brown rice, wild rice, farro, couscous, or quinoa that can be cooked by the absorption method, where the grains fully absorb the water and then add in any green you like, such as kale, collards, mustard greens, amaranth, or chard. Adding the greens just as you leave the grains to sit to absorb the water will ensure you have wilted greens. More directions can be found on this blog post

Bonus: Add greens that have become floppy and forgotten about in your fridge. You won’t notice the difference! It’s a great way to reduce your kitchen waste and still get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals from the greens.  

Brighten Smoothies with Greens

If greens are something you approach with serious trepidation, try adding them to smoothies. When they are incorporated into your diet in this way, the fruit, peanut butter, or whatever else you have in your smoothie will counterbalance the flavor of the greens. You’ll have more sweetness than “healthy green”.  

Bonus: Add greens that have become floppy and forgotten about in your fridge. You won’t notice the difference! It’s a great way to reduce your kitchen waste and still get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals from the greens.  

A bunch of mizuna mustard greens

Top your Meals with Greens 

Making a sandwich? Add a layer of greens like a kale leaf. Making tacos? Shred up some raw collards. Making a chicken salad? Chop up green herbs like parsley or carrot tops and mix into the mayo mix. Pouring out some ramen? Chop up some kale and add it to the bowl before you top it with boiling water. 

It can really be that simple.

Add Greens in Your Salads 

This is honestly the way that I began to trick my parents, brother, and customers into trying new greens. Ok trick might be a harsh word.

BUT, if you can try a small portion of something, mixed with something you already know you like (such as a salad mix), you’re far more likely to continue incorporating the new vegetable into your repertoire. Adding in baby kales (small, new growth leaves) baby chard, beet greens, sorrel, cress, lovage, or mustard greens can create new and exciting textures and flavors to enhance your typical salad. 

Assorted fall salad mix of baby dino kale, dandelion greens, beet greens, bok choy, arugula, and mustard greens

I hope with outlining 5 ways to incorporate more greens in your meals you’re feeling more confident and able to overcome any fear that was holding you back. 

Like any change in life, adding more greens into dishes you typically make might take some practice, but it is habit forming.

Your future self will thank you for making these changes now.

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