Our bodies are linked to nearly everything in our lives. Our physical activity, our mind-body health, our body image, our relationship and approach to food, our influence on how our loved ones’ view of their bodies. The list goes on. Because my background is in nutrition, people often look to me for advice on what foods they should be eating.
One very simple goal I always maintain for myself and my family is that I try to incorporate dark, leafy green vegetables in as many meals as possible through out our week. Sometimes, people nearly write me off for this statement. It feels impossible, intimidating or down right un-appetizing to try to eat so many green vegetables. I may have agreed with you a few years ago, but experimentation and persistence has shown me it’s much easier than you might think.
One easy way to start is to take recipes and foods you already love and try adding greens to them. Adding spinach to eggs, quiche or smoothies, kale to soups, salads or stir-fry and even trying to upgrade the lettuce on your sandwich or burger to a darker counterpart are simple ways to boost your nutrients.
Our family loves soup so I’m always on the hunt for new recipes. I stumbled upon this Green Soup with Ginger recipe at my local grocery store. This store has a great resource table in the produce department, containing little recipe cards with suggestions on how to cook with different kinds of produce. This was a perfect opportunity to combine healthy cooking with our love for soups.
I loved this recipe for it’s ability to stand alone, with no need to add anything, and for it’s use of purely fresh ingredients. The ginger and lemon juice, in particular, make it phenomenal. I did, however, add meatballs to it when I served it as leftovers so it was a more complete meal in regards to protein. Vegetarians could add some sort of bean or firm tofu to increase the protein amount.
This recipe calls for lot’s of dark, leafy greens which are loaded with health benefits:
- Disease-fighting. Leafy greens are full of vitamins, minerals and disease fighting phytochemicals.
- Weight Management. They are rich in fiber, which is an important nutrient for weight loss and maintenance.
- Blood Health. They help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and help keep blood sugar at a more even level.
- Bye-bye Brittle. Greens such as chard (in this recipe) are exceptionally high in calcium, which is vital to maintaining strong teeth and bones and lowering ones risk for osteoperosis.
- Controls the Pressure. The calcium in chard, along with the potassium it contains, also aids in blood pressure management.
- Vitamin Heaven. Leafy greens are also particularly full of vitamin C, vitamin A, antioxidants, folate and vitamin E.
Do you love them as much I do yet?
Take a shot at including some extra greens in your meals this week. How could you fit your greens in each day?
© 2012 Standing on Peace