If there is one thing I can't stress enough about improving your diet, it is to eat more green leafy vegetables!
While the USDA recommends eating three cups of leafy greens a day, I say the more the better. They are super nutrient powerhouses. Calorie for calorie, they are perhaps the most nutrient dense food available. They are a rich source of minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. They also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and even contain small amounts of Omega 3 fats. There are so many different varieties of greens, some of the more common varieties are spinach, kale, romaine, endive, dandelion, chard, and the list goes on and on.
So, I challenge you to try a new leafy green vegetable every week. Take a handful and sneak some into each meal. Scramble up some spinach with your eggs. Throw some kale, into your salad (made up of other leafy greens), or use a big leaf like collards to wrap your sandwich.
A great way to get the kiddos to eat more greens, is to throw some into a smoothie. Spinach works particularly well for this, and you won't even know it's in there despite the green color, but give it a try. Give it a fun name and make it into a fun activity for your kids and watch them guzzle it down.
Another plus, which is great to think about this time of year, is that greens are super easy to grow in your own garden. I love being able to head out to the garden and pick whichever greens I feel like having and cook them up or enjoy them raw. There is something so rewarding about growing your own food and knowing that no harmful chemicals were used in the process. Each bite tastes better and I savor it knowing the work that went into the harvest.
So, are you up to the challenge? Improve your health and eat those greens!
Corinna Maggy is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. She can be reached at 605-3549 or firstname.lastname@example.org.