Monday, June 1, 2009

Veggie of the Month - Green Leafy Vegetables

Dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of many vitamins such as A, C, E and K, as well as a rich source of minerals including, folate, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. They are also a great source of fiber. Research suggest that the nutrients found in dark green vegetables may prevent certain types of cancers and promote heart health.

The vitamins in these dark green leafy vegetables like vitamin K, A, D and E are fat-soluble vitamins. This means that these vitamins require a little bit of dietary fat in order for your body to absorb them. So, when you eat dark green leafy veggies you should make sure to add a teaspoon or so of dietary fat like olive or canola oil, cheese or salad dressing to ensure your body absorbs all of the available vitamins.

What are some examples of dark green leafy vegetables and how should you eat them?

Arugula has a peppery taste and is rich in vitamins A, C, and calcium. Arugula can be eaten raw in salads or added to stir-fry, soups, and pasta sauces.

Broccoli has both soft florets and crunchy stalks, and is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and fiber. Broccoli can be eaten raw or steamed, sautéed or added to a casserole.

Collard Greens have a mild flavor and are rich in vitamins A, C and K, folate, fiber, and calcium. The best way to prepare them is to boil them briefly and then add to a soup or stir-fry. You can also eat collard greens as a side dish. Just add your favorite seasoning and enjoy!

Dandelion Greens have a bitter, tangy flavor and are rich in vitamin A and calcium. They are best when steamed or eaten raw in salad.

Kale has a slightly bitter, cabbage-like flavor and is rich in vitamins A, C and K. Kale is tasty when added to soups, stir-fries, and sauces.

Mustard Greens have a peppery or spicy flavor and are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and calcium. They are delicious when eaten raw in salads or in stir-fries and soups.

Romaine Lettuce is a nutrient rich lettuce that is high is vitamins A, C, and K, and folate. It is best when eaten raw in salads, sandwiches or wraps.

Spinach has a sweet flavor and is rich in vitamins A and K, folate, and iron. Spinach tastes great eaten raw in salads or steamed.

Swiss Chard tastes similar to spinach and is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, potassium and iron. It is best stir-fried or eaten raw in salads.

Of course I enjoy most of these greens (mustard greens are a little spicy for me) raw in a green smoothie as well. Add some avocado as a source of dietary fat in your smoothie. It also makes it rich and creamy.

Quick and Easy Recipe Ideas:

Dark green vegetables are very tasty and easy to add to your daily meals. Look for them at your local grocery store and try some of these recipes!

Make a salad: Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach and arugula taste great when mixed in a salad with different kinds of veggies, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and lettuce.

Wrap it up: Make a wrap with tuna, chicken, or turkey and add romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula, and other veggies for some extra flavor.

Add to a soup: Try mixing leafy greens such as collard greens, kale or mustard greens into your favorite soup. Try this great Tuscan Vegetable Soup recipe. It includes spinach in addition to tons of other great veggies. My family loves it!

Stir-fry: Add chopped leafy greens or broccoli to your stir-fry. Chicken or tofu stir-fried with olive or canola oil and your favorite dark green vegetable is delicious!

Steam it: For something new; steam collard 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.

- Shannan


Hanlie said...

I love green vegetables! Along with fruit, they are the foundation of my diet... And yes, they are so versatile.

GirlonTour said...

Nice post. Green leafys are sooo good for us!

Kristen's Raw said...

Major YAY to green leaf veggies. Powerful!


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