“What do I eat to be healthy?” is a typical question I’m asked immediately after introducing myself as a Certified Health Coach. To me this is a loaded question since my belief is strongly that we are all bioindividual; what’s best for you may not be best for another. However, there is one answer, one food, one change to your diet that can be incredibly impactful in increasing anyone’s health: Leafy. Greens. 2-3x a day.
Seems simple, right? Hear me out. Greens are the #1 missing element in the modern diet, especially in America. When you up your daily intake you’ll experience higher energy levels, clearer skin, better digestion, elimination, less cravings, efficient detoxification, weight loss, improved immunity, etc. They are incredibly nutrient dense and deliver calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. By including them in most of your meals, you’re getting a good dose of fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients that are essential to every bodily function.
Your star players are: spinach, kale, collard greens, swiss chard, Bok Choy, napa cabbage, watercress, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, dandelion greens, arugula, mesclun greens, beet greens, and more! Switch it up by buying 3 variations each week.
The trick is in knowing how to prepare them quickly, jazz them up, and how to incorporate greens into any dish they’re not already in. Let’s game plan:
Prepare in a snap: Beyond salad greens that are normally eaten raw, you can prepare any leafy green in MINUTES by water sautéing. Simply add 2-3 Tbsp of water to a frying pan or wok, add your greens, and turn up the heat! Once the greens are wilted and are a vibrant green color, remove from heat and drain excess water. That’s it!
Jazz them up: In order to absorb maximum nutrition from your greens, its good to include a fat in the preparation or dressing. Adding a little butter or coconut oil to the pan while cooking, topping with nuts or seeds, and drizzling olive oil post-cooking are easy ways to do this. To keep it interesting, take a look into your spice/condiment cabinet for fun flavor profiles. For example, take your greens from Italian with oregano and garlic to Asian with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Get creative with the flavor combos! My go-to is this easy tahini dressing.
Sneak them in: Because we want to easily integrate greens into your normal diet, its important to just make it an addition to your regular meals. Do you normally have eggs for breakfast? Add some spinach on the side, onto that breakfast sandwich, or whipped up in scrambled eggs. If you focus on getting greens in every meal, you will find it easy to health-ify any dish! Some more ideas: