Did you know that eating more greens is an excellent way to detoxify your body, fight chronic disease, and reduce inflammation? Leafy greens are bursting with nutrition, they’re extremely versatile, and they’re quite tasty, too.
But maybe you’re just not a fan of salad, and that’s ok! You can still reap the benefits of these nutritional powerhouses in your daily diet.
Here are seven tasty and creative ways to eat more leafy greens that aren’t salad. We’ve also included some tips to help you find the tastiest and most nutritious greens for your culinary creations!
Finding the tastiest and most nutritious leafy greens
The best way to ensure that you’re getting the tastiest and most nutritious leafy greens is to avoid the grocery store altogether.
For the best nutrition and flavor, you want the freshest greens possible. When you buy your greens from local growers, they have usually been harvested that same day, or at most, the day before.
On the other hand, conventional greens at your local grocery store were likely grown, harvested, and then transported from hundreds of miles away. By then, they’ve been away from their nutrient source for several days or more. The longer they’re away from their nutrient source, the more their nutritional value and flavor deteriorate.
Thanks to the growing trend of vertical farming indoors by forward-thinking urban farmers, locally grown, organic greens are easy to find, even in the city. You might even be able to find them at your favorite health food or specialty food store. As an added bonus, shopping locally is better for the environment, too!
7 Delicious ways to eat more leafy greens
Instead of using a tortilla to make your wrap, make your wrap with your favorite leafy greens instead. Not only will you add some valuable nutrition to your lunch, but you’ll also cut the carbs and give your wrap a delicious crunch.
Leafy greens that make an excellent wrap include romaine and bibb lettuce leaves, swiss chard leaves, collards, endive, and cabbage. For the filling, you can keep it simple with chicken, tuna, or egg salad, or your favorite deli meat and cheese combo.
If you want to get creative, try a lettuce wrap filled with diced cucumber, hummus, sundried tomatoes, and black olives. Or, you could even make a lettuce wrap filled with taco meat and all the fixings. Black beans, rice, cheese, and a bit of salsa would also be delicious. The options are virtually endless!
2. Smoothies and juices
If you haven’t jumped on the smoothie and juice bandwagon yet, you’re really missing out! Smoothies and juices made with leafy greens and berries are packed with micronutrients and antioxidants, and they’re super refreshing and delicious.
They make the perfect nutritious breakfast on the go. Or, you can toss in a scoop of protein powder into a green smoothie for a post-workout snack.
Kale, spinach, and swiss chard can all be blended into a smoothie or juiced. Just toss a handful in the blender or juicer along with your favorite fresh or frozen fruit and blend away! Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro can also be added for additional nutrients, flavor, and detoxifying benefits.
3. Sauces and pesto
Sauces provide the perfect way to dress up your culinary creations and sneak in some leafy greens at the same time. Chopped or pureed greens like collards, kale, beet greens, and spinach can all be incorporated into sauces for everything from veggies to eggs. If you want to keep things simple, consider adding chopped, steamed greens like kale or spinach to pasta sauce. Or, try substituting half spinach or kale for the basil in your favorite pesto recipe.
The next time you’re making a dip like guacamole or hummus, try adding a small handful of chopped spinach. It will give your dip a beautiful green color and add nutrition and flavor.
You can even continue with the leafy green theme by using crisp lettuce leaves to scoop your dip. It’s a much healthier option than processed, carbohydrate-laden chips or crackers.
If you’re looking for a clever way to add some leafy greens to a dish, try shredding them very finely and sprinkling them on top as a garnish.
Things like parsley, spinach, and even broccoli stems can also be pureed and drizzled over the top of meat or veggies for a beautiful effect. If you like, add a bit of sea salt, chopped garlic, lemon juice, or nutritional yeast to the greens when you puree them for some extra flavor.
6. Kale Chips
We all love crunchy, salty chips but they’re certainly not the healthiest snack option around. Thankfully, kale chips make a delicious and healthy substitute! Keep things simple and tear kale leaves into chip-sized pieces, then coat them with olive oil, salt, and herbs before baking. Scarfing down a whole pile of leafy greens is easy when you prepare them this way. Better yet, get creative and blend your kale with your favorite nuts, seeds, veggies, spices, and/or herbs. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a cookie sheet, bake until crispy, and break or cut into delicious chips that are perfect for snacking and dipping.
7. Soups and stews
If you want to eat your leafy greens without even realizing it, try adding a big handful to soups and stews during the last few minutes of cooking. Kale, chard, spinach, and cabbage are all great choices and they’ll add lots of nutrition to whatever you’re cooking with very little effort.
Wrapping things up
As you can see, there are lots of ways to get the nourishing benefits of leafy greens on a daily basis, even if you can’t stand the thought of scarfing down another salad. Of course, even if you’re a salad lover, you can also incorporate these ideas into your menu for a change of pace. Either way, there’s no such thing as too many leafy greens!